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 strange gatekeepers
who would trade safe passage for the taste of my heartsblood.
I have seen too many jewels
like the eyes of dead gods, and too many soldiers
burnt and rotted by their kings’ greed.
I am weary of swords enchanted, of shields claw-scarred,
of alchemical fires and iron-tipped traps and fangs
dripping poison. Most of all
I am sick of slitted eyes
and the monsters who’ve learned to barter
with a warrior’s secret desires.

My love is not for a hero’s life,
for temples golden-domed
and echoing with secret songs,
for soldiers’ halls and the taste of wine
on a dancing girl’s lips.
My lord, even your palace
of arabesques and roses,
of jeweled tapestries and velvet robes,
of perfumes and heady opiates
so much like dragons’ smoke
is not enough to satisfy me.

So when you say, my lord,
that you will grant my secret wish
if I slay this final beast,
how do I dare to tell you
that I do not desire your jewels, your wizardry,
the hand of your handsome eldest son
but what you lack the power to give me:
the green fields and thatched roofs of home,
the taste of my mother’s bread and wildberries,
my brother’s laughter, my sister’s song,
my lover’s tender smile
before the dragons came?
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Megan is a student in Wisconsin, but she tries very hard not to let her schooling get in the way of her education. Her work has appeared in Ideomancer, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Clarkesworld, among other places. She procrastinates by editing the fantasy e-zine Mirror Dance and the historical fiction e-zine Lacuna.

To learn more about Megan, you can visit her websites here:

http://meganarkenberg.webs.com
http://meganarkenberg.blogspot.com
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