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I SHALL NOT DIE HERE (BALLADE OF A WARRIOR BOUND)

I SHALL NOT DIE HERE (BALLADE OF A WARRIOR BOUND), by Jason M. Waltz: Pulled taut, Oh! so painfully taut, cold links stretched tight — chains draped in quantities self-wrought. Loathed, debased, abused — endless pains never dimming, never hiding darker stains of iniquities untold, retold, sold ado . . . All lost; empty favors […]

LAMENT FOR THE FATHERS

LAMENT FOR THE FATHERS, by Joshua Hampton: Heed me, Sons of the Fathers, huddled round the great hall’s hearth, let’s hear such tales of war and woe, of kin and kind unlike us, once told on false fiddles and lying lyres strung with catgut slanders, screaming sweet songs of dreadful deeds never to be undone […]

METTLE

METTLE, by Scott Matthews: This climb must be my ending quest, glory paves the road behind. My trek onto this mountain peak, the last hill left to climb. Temptations many did I slake and oft’ my way was woe. That I might pass through yonder gate I’ve bested every foe. There came a time I […]

AMBITION, PURPOSE, OUTCOME

AMBITION, PURPOSE, OUTCOME, by  Charles Saplak: DAYBREAK OF THE APPOINTED DAY: And yet another soldier will beseech The Dragon for his vision; a timeward glimpse of truth, a precious deep thought chosen for him and him alone. Light’s long arrows silently fly, Chip the mountainside free from night’s dark, Yet Sir Michael has been awake […]

THE DANCE

THE DANCE, by Shennandoah Diaz: He danced the dance a million times before. Slide right, twist, lunge, pull up. Each movement graceful — Each blow destructive. He lived for the dance. The exchange of steel, The giving of flesh and blood, Each sacrifice made in honor replenishing the soil And feeding the legends that sustained […]

BEFORE THE BATTLE

BEFORE THE BATTLE, by Vonnie Winslow Crist: On this witch-kissed morning, as I trudge northward, dampness frizzes my hair, worms its way into my joints. Beneath winter clouds draped like dark cloth above the trees, an unkindness of ravens descends, bickers over a half-eaten carcass. At my approach, the feathered trio complain, rise to an […]

WHAT SIEGLINDE SERPENTSLAYER SAID TO THE KING

WHAT SIEGLINDE SERPENTSLAYER SAID TO THE KING, by Megan Arkenberg: The truth, my lord, is that I am sick of monsters. I am sick of the smell of mountain aeries and brood caves, cool and salty-wet. I am tired of dragons’ riddles, feats of strength, game pieces carved of human bone, the musty whispering of […]

THE FOOTMAN

THE FOOTMAN, by W. E. Couvillier: He’s too weak to move, lying amongst the fallen dying from his wounds. What a fool am I, he thinks while waiting for the last dregs of life to ooze from the gape in his gut. Will a fierce Valkyrie settle from the heavens to lift me to the […]

HERO OF OLD

HERO OF OLD, by John Keller: The hero sat upon his horse; his steely gaze was set. Before him was an army fell. His blade with blood was wet. With aching arms he held aloft, a blessed, shining blade. His battered plate-mail dully shone, No fear his face displayed. A horde of reavers, giants, trolls, […]

THE LAY OF CUTHRED KING

THE LAY OF CUTHRED KING, by Joshua Hampton Now told is the tale of Cuthred King of Keenland, East away, across field, fen and whale-road, where none dare pass in these grim years. From his castle keep, all timbered tall of aged oak and elm, he ruled with wit and wisdom bolstered by his cruel-edged […]

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