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Battle Report Contest Winner - The Ballad of Moriar the Fey

Justin
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Then gritting teeth and staff in hand
"I serve the Flaming Fist!" I cried,
"We'll drive the foeman from the land
And flay and burn his craven hide!"
You saw me, Sire: on bended knee
I swore to bring thee Lanis' head;
I watched you smile, make bold decree,
"Get to the tower!" was all you said.
Then gritting teeth and staff in hand
In other hand I seized our pride -
Our blood-red flag: and all our band
Of weather'd heroes, forth we fled.

Brave Veris Melqar led the pack
So tall and broad we stood in awe;
His axe was sharp, his armour black,
His dark eyes burn'd with lust of war;
Behind, the loyal Custodian strode
Longbow in hand, and clad in green,
His light feet barely skimm'd the road
And ne'er a hawk had eyes so keen.
Brave Veris Melqar led the pack
For who beheld such strength before?
And seven friends stood at his back:
I and my fellows, no-one more.

We sought the watch-tower: swift we ran
As Sister Sanguis cried her plea,
"O Dwayna! aid us!"; nor a span
Of seconds passed, ere I did see
A lucent mist of holy light
That shrouded her; stout Brawler too
Blessed with his prayers the coming fight,
Unsheath'd his sword, it flashed anew;
We sought the watch-tower, swift we ran -
Yet swifter still our foes would be
And by the tower that hated clan
Had raised their banner, blue on blue.

My Liege, we fought them - how we fought!
The arrows flew like pois'nous gnats
From dark Jarlaxle's bow, and wrought
Such pain amidst those knavish rats,
Or flaming off Custodian's string
Did singe their beards to pierce their chest;
So loud did sword on armour ring
My ears would echo in protest.
My Liege, we fought them, how we fought!
How Brawler's blade did flash and spin,
How Veris' axe pierc'd mail and sought
To cleave man's legs from under him!

I love the flames. They call me fey
And fear my laugh, so often heard
Beside the screams of tum'ltous fray;
I love the flames, embrace the word
Of power that drives them through my soul,
Bright red they pour from staff and fist,
They cleanse my wounds and make them whole
And cut through foes as though through mist.
I love the flames, they call me fey
For countless die, in fire interr'd
Who thought to stand or run away
When first by flames their brows were kissed.

I called it then, the cleansing fire
It burned our foes and touched us not;
Beside me Sister Sanguis, Sire,
Threw darts of ice, death-cold 'midst hot,
And with her prayers to ancient power
Infused us all with bounteous life;
Yet still those fools retain'd the tower
By luck or some demonic strife.
I called it then, the cleansing fire
And to its touch they'd no reply
So several fell: but 'midst the pyre,
Veris went down - I watched him die.

They rallied then: I heard them call,
"To me!" They cried, and "Watch yourself!"
They charged us hard, for Veris' fall,
Had cost us dear. I steeled myself,
And willed the flame to speed my feet;
As all around me desp'rately
My guild were forced apart, I beat
The questing blades away from me.
They rallied, but I heard them not
For sprinting hard, I strove to drag
Their banner from its prideful spot
And there place ours, our blood-red flag!

O Sire, I swore to serve my guild
And serve I did; but no avail
Was wrought, for still they fought and killed
And drove us back along the trail;
I died surrounded, axed to death,
The last I heard was Brawler's yell
"Back to the keep!" as all my breath
Expired, and to cold earth I fell.
O Sire, I swore to serve my guild
And even perish'd, serve I would;
My spirit stayed there as I willed
And whisper'd friends what aid I could.

The end was sure, though never swift:
They chased what few of us remained
And though we barred and held the gate
Its timbers with our blood were stained;
They slew our archers one by one
And brought a thief to break the locks
And though our monks wove charms and spun
Dead-raising spells and wounding blocks,
The end was sure, though never swift.
There by your side our final stand
Was fought: our enemy made shift
To break us, dying by thy hand.

Your cry of "enemies draw near!"
Went not unheeded; we were there
As they advanced; they had no fear
Of death, but swarmed the dais stair.
Their priests would raise them as they died,
Against their swords we'd no defence
Their arrows pierced both iron and hide
Their spells confounded every sense.
Your shout of "enemies draw near!"
Was heard, but naught could then forfend
Your death: we fought by you, but here,
My Lord, we failed - and here, I end.