lay

The Lay of Maranwe

Folder: 
Tales and Fables

Once upon a time, long ago,

enfurled in a land in which did flow

rivers of enormous size,

through great wolds and over the rise

of a cliff, grand and mystique,

on a mountain of which whose peak

looked out over the cold, cold sea

the mistress of sailors, the love of the free.

The sea! The sea! Oh, the sea.

Twas the sea that called Maranwe

to his wrack so long ago

when the sea swelled with melted snow.

 

He was born of the eldest son

of kingly sires who one-by-one

had met the sea and so did yearn

for it, waiving the sun's bright burn

and descended into the shadowy deep

never to rise, forever to sleep.

Doom, his father tried to avoid

for the sake of the son in which he enjoyed,

but strong was the blood that ran through his vein

and quick was he to find his own bane

at the cold hands of the death-thirsty sea,

never to rise, nevermore to be free.

 

Maranwe's bold life began that day

that his father died, and he was sped away

deep into the wold, far from the sea,

so that the bale of his forefathers may not be

his weird, and his mother bade

him loath the sea, upon which was laid

the curse of his fathers and of his kin,

and to love no more the mortal men -

men who were easily swayed by the sea

until they should die, no more to be.

He was then placed into an elf's care

until the house he no longer could share,

and so ran away into deep shaws,

away from men and his mother's laws.

 

A great hunter he soon came to be, 

under no law, forever free,

until the day he found his weird

in an old man with a gray beard

who stood in the way

on the dawn of that fateful day. 

A teacher the man claimed to be

and taught Maranwe sigaldry

of fiery magic with weildy blade

and when they were finished, he again bade

Maranwe to reject the sea

that the bane of his fathers may not be

the weird of a hero so noble and blest

but Maranwe grew wrathful and lay down to rest

the old man who had once been his friend

but the old man, while trying to fend

him off cried “Beware the sea my friend!

For the sea mews lonely cry can rend

a man to long for the sea's dark gray

to find his weird and prove him fey.”

But Maranwe did not heed his words

and under the sight of carrion birds

slew his friend and mentor true

but fearing the wrath of the gods, he flew.

On waking again he was alone

and running away, his face shone

with the sheen of one already fey

so his doom was full-sealed that day.

 

After untold travail, and finally ruth,

Maranwe decided to live forsooth

and bated by the cold freshets and frith 

chose to rid the world of the myth

of the resident naiad who lived in the river.

So taking up his sword, bow, and quiver,

he went to find her, to clear his name

and possibly take from him the bane 

of his forefathers, now almost forgotten

dead on the sea floor, blind and rotten.

But the nymph was know for creating bliss

and in the men stirred wantonness

and by keeping their attention all day 

their farms had all faded away.

 

So on went Maranwe to trap the poor girl,

first to capture, then to hurl

her out of the shaw, to trouble no more

the farmers and peasants who lived by the shore 

of her cool river which led out to the sea,

and then perhaps he would be free

of the bane of his house and the dirt of his name.

For his name ever brought to him shame

for 'Maranwe' means destiny in elvish they say,

and so he looked for her day after day,

to change his weird and live in bliss

and never again his name would miss.

 

He sought her through forest and fountain, glade and glen,

until he finally found her, but then

he stayed his hand and was entranced

by this beautiful nymph who danced

upon the green shore of her river home

far from the cold sea's frothy foam.

And while he stared, he caught her eye,

and her eyes appeared bluer than the bluest sky,

deeper than the ocean floor,

more precious to him than a diamond's core.

But away she swam, with him in pursuit

till they came to the river's root 

and then he stopped and cried to her

for like a fish, he had taken the lure.

She then looked back at the haggard man,

then into the forest she quickly ran

but the forest was Maranwe's home

the place where he always loved to roam.

 

After two days, she began to tire

and deep within her kindled a fire

for this man, so brave and wild

this incarnation of forest child.

And so she turned and welcomed him

the only child of mortal men

who had gained her love, though wild and fey,

her heart, he had finally captured that day.

And so they lived long, through sorrow and bliss 

until the sea claimed her, and then her he did miss

and followed to the edge of that sea

wishing that with her he would again be.

 

Walking the shore, looking out towards the sea

he was met by a very strange company

of men, and the friend who he killed long ago

ethereal spirits, alive but lo!

Maranwe's old friend had turned his head

and looking straight at him, he said,

“Beware, beware of the sea my friend! 

For the sea mews lonely cry can rend

a man to long for the sea's dark gray

to find his weird and prove himself fey.

For these, my friends who surround me yet

were once kings of old, men who let 

their desires fall to the cold, cold sea,

never to die, nevermore free.'

“Your forefathers these are, who I warned long ago,

I gave them each good counsel but lo!

They did not listen, and they became fey 

when they ignored my counsel the very first day.”

 

And Maranwe foreseeing his doom draw near,

ran from that place in bloodcurdling fear

that his doom may yet be completed that day

and that his life would soon fade away. 

So he ran up the shore, back to the stream

but coming upon it, he saw a small gleam

and turning to see from whence it came

saw only the spirit of that once-loved dame

and crying aloud, he wept bitter tears

and afraid of the drawing of his years

to a close, he ran back to the sea

as if able to confront his enemy,

but all he found was the calm sea and shore,

the ethereal spirits he saw no more.                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

For years after he lived by the sea

for in his heart he never was free

from the love of the nymph, whom he had loved dear

and filled with this love, he set away fear

and constructed a plan to sail the cold sea

to find his maid, and set her free

from the death-enveloping sea

and nevermore a thrall would she be.

But at the shore awaited his fate,

for although in his life it came late,

doom overcomes all that it calls,

and it caught Maranwe at the falls

of the great rivers that empty into the sea

at the edge of the lands of the free.

For as he approached, he heard the crying mews

and the battle of fate he knew he would lose

but nevertheless to the sea he went out

and stepping onto the shore with a shout

he cried “The sea! The sea! Oh the sea,

know that you do not own my destiny.

For I have lived long years without count

with the woman I loved, and at her fount

I lived like no man ever lived before,

and now gladly I come unto death's door.”

 

Then forsaking his life, and the sun's bright burn

to find his love for which he did yearn,

he descended into the shadowy deep

never to rise, forever to sleep.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Dated NOV25, 2009

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