A Tale of Old

    A Tale of Old


"Secure the bailey, let none through these gates,

Defend thyself against the evil one that awaits.

Hot tar and aye archers be at the ready,

Hold, hold now, on my say shoot steady."


"Aim true men, in your hands you hold life;

Our people, our crops, our animals, your wives."

And a heavy ball from a catapult never quite made it over the wall,

But the impact caused the east section of brick to crack and fall.


It took four men down. Oh, what to do?

Their brave soldiers numbered only a few.

None to match the force that lay beyond the castle's keep,

Gathered in the night while the castle's occupants were asleep.


And the hot tar thrust over the side, oh what agonizing screams,

"Archers, fire, archers, fire, " oh so slowly the motion seemed.

Screams, shouts, bleeding bodies, her men were dying,

But she had to keep going. No time for crying.


The south wall had been breached, with sword in hand she fought,

Fighting for her people, remembering everything she had been taught.

"Milady, milady no you must run and hide, "And as she turned around,

Young Olrick, her knight in training fell to the ground.


So young, oh so young, as she thrust her sword through the enemies, chest

Olrick trained so hard, eventually, he could have been one of her best.,

A tear slipped her eye, but she fought the rest back,

No time to mourn now, not while they were under attack.


She felt the sting: she felt the blood spill from her right thigh,

But she fought on, even knowing she would die.

Flaming arrows lit the night and horrifying screams echoed the air,

Followed by the smell of burning flesh and scorching hair.


Over- run now the battering ram smashed through the gate,

What could she have done differently? It didn't matter. It was too late.

Surrounded, she was tightly pinned against the castle wall,

Sword to her throat and they bade her call.


"Surrender he says," She screams, "but no says I.

I will fight, no coward to be when I die"

"What say you are you with me, men?"

Silence, total silence as he rode in.


On a coal, black stallion, helmets shield pulled low over his face,

Geared in full armor, his weapons sword and mace.

Six feet tall he was and a deep fear struck her soul,

Her captors stood at attention, she fell as they let go.


Avour Renaut, just saying the name meant death,

He was said to have killed whole villages with just a breath.

On her knees, blood pooling around she tried to rise,

He removed his visor, and over the distance caught her eyes.


She shivered. Aye her death was nigh and her kingdom would perish,

Wherever his reign truly darkness. Nothing cherished.

She had failed her people, and her father, God rest his soul.

Her home, her father's home, and his father before him, and she lost control.


"Pray my death is merciful, aye and the women and children what of them"?

"No," Her soul cried, 'They have much to fear from him."

Avor Renault, called the Demon Knight of Death, bade her come near,

His soldiers helped her to her feet, and she shook with an unearthly fear.


And she could not move. frozen to the very spot on which she stood,

"Yes well, stubborn are we now, you will not come yet you fight so good,

Enough, though, it's nigh time to give up, you have lost the attack?

Ivor bring him to me," He jerked her arms and her hood flew back.


"Well now, what have we here? She is but so small a thing.

And he laughed harshly as he pried loose her father's ducal ring.

He backhanded her and blood passed her cut lip,

His left foot struck out and caught her right hip.


Down she went, flames of fire surging through her limbs,

Badly she hurt, but she would not scream for him.

"So you do not wish to cooperate, very well, it is your choice,

Kill them, kill them all, he bellowed at the top of his voice."


Mackie, the stable boy, only one quick swipe and he lost his head,

Blood   poured, and his sightless eyes stared at her from the dead.

"No. no. stop please, I will do as you wish of me,

Only please, I beg of you, let my people go free."


Maniacal laughter thundered across the castle grounds as night faded away,

The dungeon now held her people, and she, imprisoned in the tower at the break of day.

Was a cold morn and she shivered as she tried to drown her pain with sleep,

The stench of dried blood from her wound and the feel was quite deep.


What manner of man this? And what purpose did she hold?

She had not immense wealth, her kingdom was not set to gold.

Aye and now her tears fell where only she could feel,

"Awaken, awaken, she begged, but no dream this. It was all too real.


Thundering hooves deep in the night into the shadows they ride,

Big, black stallions wild and untamed, heads held high.

Their speed, their echo, dirt from the old dusty trail,

Indeed, if anyone had seen, would swear a vision from hell.


And in the front rode Trovos, a burning rage: flame in his soul,

"Haste, haste," He thundered, the wind capturing the words flow,

And foam flung from the horse’s mouth but his followers paid it no heed.

In many past nights, he was the chosen one to lead.


No fear; not of man, nor elements, nor the ghost of death,

No words of sorrow nor words and deeds from a coward would fill his breath.

He was a mercenary true, secret warrior for Ana Leigh of Castle Brighton,

A seer of minds, a seer of events, and now she was frightened.


Pray her thoughts had this time seen an untrue event,

And needless worry over an unnamed incident.

She bade him discover how their cousin had fared,

For her feel was something not quite right there.


In the night, it had come awakening her from a sleep so sound,

The fear; he had held her as her tears tumbled down.

He loved her, yes, but only as any brother should do,

And to think he had only known her for year or two.


Kidnapped at birth he was, shipped to a land far away,

Raised to fight, to steal, to keep the constables at bay.

A street urchin, trying to remember Dannios daily list,

Failure would earn him the impact of a fist.


At the age of ten and six, Ana Leigh's men stole him in the night,

His sister, his twin, on a journey, to set his life aright.

He had no use for castles, riches, nor high society,

But stay near her he would, for she set him free.


He knew not their cousin Olrick but he must ease her mind,

Praying furiously that they could reach their destination in time.

Travos, and his men numbering one and twenty,

Still followed night's shadows so ready to face their enemy.


And in the castle, she knew she would be defeated her pride could not hold,

Only three days in the tower, she shivered, oh but the nights so cold.

Was an old iron bed a mattress made of straw,

No covers, no pillows, no nothing at all.


Her heart ached as another scream echoed through the air,

Oh mercy, sweet mercy, this was all so unfair.

The screams quieted, the victim failed to survive,

One by one her people were dying, yet they kept her alive.


 She dared not look from the towers window to the yard below,

Once before, yes, and the sight had burned her soul.

As she lay down visions of death would always haunt,

A jackal’s blood feast, killing as was their want.


"Why must I live as my people perish from this earth?"

"What is their wish for me? What is my worth?"

Her leg rested limply atop the hay, the feeling long since gone,

Yes, death would come for her, and it would not be long.


A rat scurried across the stone cold floor, then stopped, catching her eye,

He seemed to say, "milady you are mine, once you die."

A furious bout of coughing, a trace of blood passed her lips,

She stared at it, rubbing the drops between her fingertips.


Fire was set in her thigh, then raged overtaking her spirit,

Another scream shattered the night, but she was too weak to hear it.

And she thrashed upon the bed willing her life's blood to seize,

Oh to end this torture aye and begging the nightmares to leave.


Was of no use, though, no matter, for fate bade her stay,

But peace had come from the land of dreams at the light of day.

A darkness settled her mind, and her soul soon stilled,

And in the courtyard, Mary was raped by many, then savagely killed.


He had come; the evil one was here,

Her leg was useless and her heart filled with uncontrollable fear.

It was weakness aye, and helplessness that tripled her ragged heartbeat,

Ssssso many tales of him she had heard as one she would not wish to ever meet.


What twist of fate sent him warring within her castle walls?

She knew him not for she had thought and thought, no she did not know him at all.

No matter, though, she shut her eyes tightly as his footsteps echoed across the tiny room,

She felt his eyes, the heat, the hate, the demons sense of doom.


She held the tears begging to be released but how, she did not know,

Mercy, mercy, please mercy, words from her mind flowed.

"Mercy, mercy?" He questioned. She hadn't spoken them aloud, had she?

"No milady, oh no for you there will be no mercy.


"You sleep not, this I know, so my words you can hear,

"Do ye hurt?" And maniacal laughter that fed her tears.

Think well milady one day soon I will be in your memory,

And regret you will, the day you ever crossed me."


"For now, you will remain a prisoner and each day you will beg for death,

But it will not come. No, it will not come till I decide your final breath.

Milady you will suffer greatly for the wrong you have done me,"

And so saying took his whip and sliced the skin upon her right knee.


Oh, she had been wrong, she could still feel. this was no dream,

So hard she had tried to be brave, but no more, and she screamed.

Was a loud agonizing scream one to wake even the graves of dead upon the hill,

Was so loud even her people in the dungeon cells caught deaths chill.


With one hand he jerked her up and slammed her furiously against the wall,

He held her there, tightly by the throat, preventing her from a fall.

It really mattered not to him, but he wished her to see his eyes,

She had to know, oh yes she would know, she would remember her lies.


She now knew who he was and terror then struck her soul,

But that had been so long ago, back in the days of old.

A would- be suitor, even then she had feared him, turning him away,

Not good enough she had thought, and he had vowed to make her pay.


He would show her, indeed, he would show each that had shunned him,

So many, so many, but yes he would show each of them.

A pauper's son with an evil eye it was often said,

So unusual a color; the lightest of red.


Witchery it had to be this boy. no other could explain,

And he remembered the heartache, the searing pain.

The pauper and his wife disappeared when he was ten and five,

People wandered by but never voiced the fears they were no longer alive.


In truth they had run from him, leaving him all alone,

And away his memories were chased as the lady let out a moan.

Once he had loved her fiercely, would have done anything she desired,

But no longer, no, now his hate was a raging fire.


He let her fall in a heap on the floor and left her where she lay,

The sound of the lock turning in the heavy door, and his footsteps as he walked away,

She tried crawling towards the bed, but her body was set on a raging fire,

No longer was she cold as her bodies heat grew higher and higher.


There she lay not even attempting to move, for the pain was much too great,

And still she lay as the sun left the sky, then as the hour grew late.

Blood and sweat covered her brow and a putrid smell invaded the air,

The rat returned starring curiously with his beady red eyes as she lay there.


He moved towards her sniffing the air with his little nose,

Shuffling this way and that treading upon her ripped clothes.

He loved the smell of blood and the feast before him was unlike any before him,

Little noises behind him, more rats, and she hadn't the strength to fight them.


Soldiers disappeared quietly along the walls of the castle keep,

Silently Travos and his men broke their necks laying them in eternal sleep.

Was easy scaling the castles walls for all eyes were on the action below,

A wee little lass was singing her voice catching fearfully at the evil one's loud bellows.


"No lass, no. Must be a happier tune," And with a quick motion, her little head rolled.

Her mother was brought forth, raped by four before her little one's body grew cold.

The father's curses only made them laugh, for what did they have to fear?

They were soldiers of the Demon knight of death, and that's why they were here.


"Sing old man, sing us a happy tune, and you had better make it good,

He did not need to be told their meaning was well understood.

His Tessie still lived and only he could keep her that way.

"No, Tom, No, let them kill me," And he sent her to her grave.


She had no wish to live after suffering the enemy's evil touch,

Deep down he mourned; Oooooh God but he had loved her so much,

And his little Cassie would never celebrate her seventh birthday,

He closed his eyes, let the tears flow, and prayed.


The soldiers jerked him roughly and tied him tightly from the saddle of a horse,

"Open the gates," A soldier shouted and a whip landed with brute force.

And the stallion bolted through the gates dragging Tom in its wake,

But Sutano caught him and shaking his head thought oh what a big mistake.


Travos would not have to open the gates, for now, the deed was done.

The remaining soldiers kept to the shadows ready to join the fun.

Sutano, Miliono, and Tonio, found the dungeon, quickly overpowering the guards,

Their cries for help went unheard over the screams from the courtyard.


Arms were quickly found from spear to axes, pitchforks, anything of use,

Even in their weakened state they would fight this enemy's abuse.

Quickly they rushed the enemy behind catching them unaware,

The battle raged, blood poured, and safely from his window the evil one stared.


Who dared invade his domain? No matter he would not be cast out again,

He was all powerful and as times before even now, he would win.

He walked from the window and tied back his long red locks.

As he donned his helmet he heard three chimes from a hall clock.


Would be the last sound he would ever hear as Travos swung his mighty sword,

His head rolled, he fell, and his life's blood poured,

Travos picked up his head sightless red eyes evil no more.

He threw it down and walked through the open door.


In the courtyard enemy soldiers had been captured and tied,

Two more of the villagers and one of his soldiers had died.

Savos, ah but he had been a good one and his woman would weep,

But such was the price of a soldier facing death's eternal sleep.


The villagers that yet lived were hugging, and weeping, and mourning their dead.

Travos watched as a young girl bandaged Tonio's bloody head.

Not many injuries, good. And none to severe,

He walked among the people and felt Ana Leighs fears.


He knew then that the cousin he sought had found death,

And he shook his head letting out a deep breath.

He had failed her. he had arrived too late,

Death had been their cousin Olrick's fate.


"MIlord, milord," a young lady rushed to his side,

Her blonde hair was matted, and sticky blood mingled with the tears she cried.

"What of our lady? Did you not free her from her prison tower?"

And as she spoke out of turn she cowered.


Too many times her tongue had troubled her so,

Earning a slap, or a tongue lashing, but she just had to know.

The lady had saved her from the harsh fate of whore,

her family could not feed her, they turned her out, they were poor.


The lady had taken pity on her, taught her to read and write.

And giving her secret lessons on how to swordfight.

She was the promised of Olrick, but no longer,

A fire raged inside and the tears became stronger.


Instead of the slap she expected, up the tower steps he climbed,

So many, so many, he took two at a time.

The lock held fast, the guards had fled with the key,

Somehow, there was a way to enter, they had to be.


The battering ram was brought forward and in minutes the door was free,

Red beady eyes everywhere, and he lit a lantern to see.

In a pool of dried blood, she lay still as death,

But no, he saw the movement as she drew a shallow breath.


The young lady from before appeared a bade him come this way,

On her bed, he laid her, as dawn appeared starting a new day.

Her name was Tashina , Duchess of Castle Stillmage and a hundred acres besides,

Her parents were dead, no brothers, none to carry on if she died.


Seiana, the young lady, tended Tashina for a week, both day and night,

They needed her, she begged, they needed her to fight.

"Live, Lady Tashina, live. We know not what to do,"

And by her bedside she sat, humming a haunting tune


Outside her door people, her people gathered and they began to hum along,

They all knew the tune well, was the lady's favorite song.

As a wee babe, her lady mother had hummed as she rocked her to sleep,

And now they gathered to pull her from a sleep so deep.


The bodies were buried now and Travos saw to the castle's repairs,

He went over the books, tending to daily affairs.

The villagers looked to him now as a leader and a friend,

They learned to trust, and once again learned to depend.


 But still they mourned for their lady that had lost her soul.

And for her each night, they prayed, and let their tears silently flow.

In the midst of time suspended between the living and the dead,

A sleep with no pain, no fear, lying in her big brass bed.


And Ana leigh appeared to him on the twelfth night of his stay,

He had put Sutano in charge, for he would journey home in another day.

That was not his want, for here he had found a home,

But he could not leave Ana Leigh to survive this world alone.


In bed, he lay, Tashina across the hall, sadness in his heart,

So many emotions struggling inside, tearing him apart.

Love? he knew her not so how could he feel this emotion?

Was it real, or could it be just a fanciful notion?


He rose from the bed, quietly creeping in her room, gazed longingly at her face,

So beautiful was she, a flower made just for this place.

He would never fit in her world though here he had been at ease,

For the first time in his life, his journey had led him to peace.



But leave he must, his mind already made and already he was packed,

Yes he would leave, and pray for the strength not to look back.

She was his temptation, her vision would not go away,

And that is why he knew he could not stay.


He walked back into his room and Ana Leigh stood in the center,

Was only her spirit, this he knew as he entered.

"You must stay here Travos, for Tashina will become your bride,

I have seen your future, and she will remain always by your side."


"Is of no use to argue Travos, you cannot fight fate,

Now go, go to her before it's too late.

Only you have the power to bring her back among the living.

Only you have the gift, the gift worth giving."


Travos knew not this gift of which she spoke as he lay down once more.

Several times he rose but lay back down short of the door.

Soon he slept caught in such a beautiful dream,

But too soon harshly awakened by a heart-wrenching scream.


Deadly hands roamed her body skeletal fingers grabbed her wrists,

Pulling her deeper and deeper into a deadly mist.

They would not let go, though she tried to break their deadly hold,

She shivered from terror, her body's temperature oh so cold.


"No I'm not dead, no I'm not. I want my life back,"

But they heard not her words, and the pain struck like a knife,

"I must go, I must go, " She begged." I want so much to live."

"My people need me." So saying she knew not if they would forgive.


Strong arms reached, pulling her from her journey to hell,

Awakening in her room, in the arms of a most handsome male.

He held her tightly, holding deaths demons at bay,

His deep voice begging her don't die, come back don't fade away.


Seiana appeared at the door then aroused everyone within the castle walls,

Hundreds of footsteps could be heard walking along the hall.

"Lady Tashina, Lady Tashina, the hall vibrated with their cheers,

She was forgiven and smiled through her heartfelt tears.


Ana Leigh attended the wedding, and had news of her own,

She was also to be wed, and no longer would she be alone.

Brother and sister so alike, yet not really so,

Both knowing that now was the time to let go.


Travos Brighton had no use for castles, riches nor high society,

But stay near Tashina he would, for her love had set his heart free.
























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