Home   International Poetry Fiction Non-fiction
© Copyright 2003 Kenneth Mulholland  

Varlarsaga Volume 3 - Consolation

Chapter 72 - Nardred's Doom

He heard that name sound again within his own mind, as it had many years before when spoken by his father and mother, those two long dead; leaving behind them the three children of their union.

The last Lord of Mendoth Citadel, which now lay in ruin in the silent vale of Indlebloom, set his mailed foot upon the hard horn of stone that rimmed forbidding peaks; those high places, which seemed never before to have borne the tred of living beings. Sterile, reared the rocks above, as they yawned over all below; down to where now sprawled those many within Menkeepir's compass. Varied were the assembled: men and women of Indlebloom, Ravenmoor and Kutha-Kesh, peoples of Rî-mer-Rī, elves, folk of dwarf and pecht kind, animals and birds.

How? thought Menkeepir, rubbing at his breast wherein crept a relentless chill, how can I lead them further, when there is nought to show for it? No safe haven, nothing. And I have nowhere else to go. I am forsaken of guidance, yet I am sure that I have not misled these multitudes. This is the place that I was instructed to bring them; here, into these wild and desolate regions all beyond knowledge.

In fear, the Lord Menkeepir turned his gaze toward the faraway west, and his eyes and thought encompassed much: torturous march over terrible distances, the uprooting of whole peoples, their ways of life sundered. The sorrow of simple people, torn from homes and farms, led away in faith to a barren land of grey, stony mounts. The promise, however shallow, of safe haven for all who followed.

I must not show weakness now, thought Menkeepir. He peered at the sky, at the overbearing peaks, at the masses awaiting his guidance; and finally, at his own empty hands. And he searched, deep within his shivering heart. There must be a way here, somewhere, he muttered determinedly. I will seek it. I will set each and everyone to find the way. His breath came heavy, harsh; his sight seemed to dim. He felt his heart plump; a beat missed, another. Then the chill that had enthralled him began to diminish.

He drew in a goodly draught of air and laughed to reassure himself. He was still young enough and strong, capable of much; able to bear hardship. Yet his responsibility crushed him, even as he came again unto himself. After all he, Menkeepir, was just a man bewildered and lost, standing by a tall chimney of rock; Moth's marker, told him by She, to seek. Then, as he leaned his head despairingly against the hardness of stone, he heard, or thought he heard a distant drumming. At first he feared, lest it be world's ending. But when he turned, his pulses pounding, Varlar was just as it had been. Nothing had altered. The mountains were not changed. All was stark and grey and cold. Yet there was something else; something like the sound of myriad animals stampeding across the land, or low thunder or water, pouring in mighty torrent. The sound rumbled through the stone, resonating; constant, magnified. 'What might it be, and where?' Menkeepir wondered. 'Not thunder, not over such sustained time. Nor animals either; for surely even a vast herd would diminish eventually. Water?That could be. Waterfalls, or the ocean perhaps?' He bent his eyes this way and that in vain. Nowhere could he spy reason for the sound. It was as if it permeated from the walls of the mountains. Then he realised that the sound actually did.

Excitedly, Menkeepir clawed his way beyond the chimney, rounding a vertical point that closed off east and south. The ledge was so narrow that he could barely sidle to the very edge and peer around the corner, neck craned. And there it was, a distant and astonishing sight; cliffs, rearing to the heavens, over which heights spilled a wide cataract that plunged to a spume-filled basin beneath. From that basin, a broad river flowed and on that river, to Menkeepir's instant delight, were ships; distant ships, elvish ships. The Armada of Aneurin FoamMaster!

Moth, or the Jackdaw, must have led them here, Menkeepir thought, elated. And though the wide river rolled down to the distant ocean, the elvish craft rowed against that flow, up and up, toward the well-springs of those cascading waters. Yet it seemed to Menkeepir that such labour be fruitless, unless they meant to disembark on the shores before those towering mounts. For one fleeting moment, he wondered whether the elvish craft might somehow sail up the falls. Then he smiled at this foolishness, laughing to himself. But his laughter turned to amazement, as the Armada rowed on, entering beneath the deluge amidst a wide rainbow spray that danced, dazzeling his vision.

In haste, Menkeepir scrambled from his vantage point and came again amongst the people. And of him, they asked, What sign, Oh Lord of Indlebloom, Oh Keeper of Men? Beaming, he answered them not, but instead hurried to his brother Mendor. We have no time to speak. Ride swiftly, if you trust me. Ride amongst the many, and urge everyone this way. It shall not be a vain thing; of that, I promise you.

And so saying Menkeepir himself turned to spur on the reluctant, the exhausted, to step it out that much further. Down in the valley of stones he prevailed, helping, lifting, carrying at need. And there were some, even Mendor, who doubted him, until those leading that immense, migratory folk, swept the corners of the desolate mountains and beheld sight of mighty waters, plummeting from the encircling heights, and the wonder of elvish ships plying there.

This is it! shouted Menkeepir. The headwaters to the Taiga, through those reaches where the elven fleets bear! Somewhere, within these grim mountains, is our Haven. Let us be ordered; the weak, the wounded and infirmed, the young and the old, must go first. The able-bodied need tarry hither, lest enemies catch us at the last.

Mendor, harried by thoughts of Minca and Mysingir, lost far off somewhere between the ruin of Dorthillion and this incredible destination, fell back into the rear; holding together the last of those good and true fighting men. Before him, went the rest; hurrying toward the banks of the flowing waters where the elves hailed them from their plowing ships. In the last boats to pass, Sirenpowet and Cinco called to them. Do not despair, we will come back for you! And thence they vanished through the wide curtain of falling mist, into the unknown beyond.


On the shores, the multitude gathered about Menkeepir, whilst he stood, concerned and impatient for the return of the Valdë craft. I must see this task to its conclusion, ere it is too late, he thought. The prophesy of the Seeress will come true; all these dear peoples shall be saved, if it costs me my life to ensure it done.

They waited a goodly time whilst the sun drifted eastward, dipping toward the reared mountains. And then, at eventide, Elloræ ships, emptied of their elvish companies, began to emerge from beneath the eaves of those tremendous falls. Scores of Swan Gondolas, Goose Barges and others, swept out of the torrents, making for the shore. Soon, the laughing Valdë were taking aboard children, women and men; none of whom could believe that which was happening.


And so the ferrying went on into the night whilst Menkeepir paced the stony shore, denying himself food, thirst-quench, or rest. The embarkation was long, even with the many-fold vessels of the sea elves.

Aneurin Foamhair and Alluin returned in the Dolphin Ship. Belda of Ravenmoor was with them, to see aboard her nephew Ordrick and those folk of their abandoned island: Beald, Branikin Goosie and his family, Spiggot and his daughter, Izod the Fair and all the others who had lived their lives in that distant place. The Wanax Orsokon and his peoples of Kutha-Kesh boarded and were sailed away. Qwilla, Cwēn of Rî-mer-Rī, and her beloved folk, took to the elvish vessels. So did the men and women of Indlebloom, until there were scant few left upon those inhospitable shores.

Menkeepir remained, even after Qwilla had begged him to go with her. As did Mendor remain, dour and stout to the last.

But there were some others too, hardly noticed amongst the passing of so many. Dalen and Bim were two amidst that tumult. The pixie and the cat made their way to the water's edge and there sought out Menkeepir through the hurry-scurry of the crowd. So deep in thought was he, that the Lord did not notice them; not until Bim mewled, Farr I have padded with you Lorrd. But neow will you not cease walking and talk awhile?

At this Menkeepir, as if from a dream, looked down at them and at once knelt, that they might regard each other the better. What are you both still doing here? he questioned. This is no place to tarry. Hurry, pounce aboard a craft of elvin folk, your folk, and sail to safety.

But Dalen said, We are loathe to go. Silval and Elvra have not returned and we would await their coming.

Thiss is true, went on Bim. My Meowster Corin Avarhli ass well.

Yes, and there are others too; Men out of Dorthillion and Elves from the Mayhenyodaro, added Dalen.

I know that well enough, replied Menkeepir gravely. My brother Mysingir and the Lorda Minca are amongst them. He wrung his hands together in anguish. I fear for them with all my heart. Then, drawing himself upright, he said, Now come dear folk. You should not be split atwain from your own kith. Look about you, there are few of your peoples left here. Do me this boon and service at once; take to the Dolphin Ship, go at least that far, and say to Aneurin Seamaster that my Brother and I, together with a force of volunteers, will bide on these shores a time yet. Bid him tarry as long as he feels safe to do so. At first sign of danger, must he away. Tell him also that I am forever grateful to him, and the Elloræ, for their part in this great labour toward safe haven. In this time of World's need, have the Elves given more than any can rightfully reckon. Go now with the last of men, for it seems to me that you, O Cat of Wonder and you Master Pecht, are all of your kind who remain on these bleak shores. So saying, Menkeepir urged them down to the water's edge and there saw them into an elf-helmed coracle that sped them out toward the graceful, crystalline ship awaiting.

There Dalen and Bim huddled in the prow, gazing back toward the solitary figure of Menkeepir where he stood, somehow set apart from his few stalwarts; a lord alone: sad, wearied, burdened but proud, upon the stony land.



Brôga-need-blood-wine-need-rest-and-see-them-he-likes-Furry-thing-and-little-Dalen-pip-squeak-and-Corin- One-Master! bellowed the Ogre.

I know, and so do I, muttered Mysingir, whilst he, the Ogre and the peoples of Dorthillion and the Mayhenyodaro, struggled eastward. In all there were many hundreds, long passed out of Dorthillion, who had now marched into the high reaches above Rî-mer-Rī, skirting the base of the northern alps. These hardy folk had striven through numerous dangers along the way: the Marshes of Mersclond, the empty highlands, the dudgeoning lowlands; a dreary, heart-rending way that saw them hastening through realms, war ravaged and abandoned.

Eventually, Mysingir bore them up with only that left to him, song.

Beyond all lands of men. Beyond all mortal's ken.

Beyond all breeze. Beyond all seas.

Beyond all strands and then, beyond all ravenous mire.

Beyond all flickering fire. Beyond all kind. Beyond all mind. Beyond all darkness dire.

Beyond all power won. Beyond all time's work done.

Beyond all knowing, Beyond all growing.

Beyond all moon and sun.

Beyond all sorrows found, stars, countless, yet abound.

In Kingdom high, past breadth of sky, Fate's circles still are wound.

Beyond all days, beyond sun's rays,

Fate's circles, still are wound.

For a time, such thing as song can lift. But even song must die. And after the end of song, came silence.

That silence enveloped the foremost riders: Minca, Tarhunta, Mysingir, Berrondo and Trondilag. Brôga, not to be outdone by quiet grunted, 'Arrgh-better-when-you-sing-song-walk-along-happy!

Hey! The oaf is right you know, cried Minca, brightening. And so it was that as they rode and walked, any who knew a tune, a verse, an ancient ballad, rhyme, lay, or rousing chorus, took up the bleak silence and filled it with their voices: children of men sang the songs of farmyard and playground, women, the songs of toil and tenderness, men, the songs of the lands; of tillage and furrow, of hearth and hounds, of ploughshare and sword, and ale.

Then, when the folk of Dorthillion could sing no more, the elves; those riding stately, or walking sprightly, twined their beautiful voices into silvery music, the like of which, men only dreamt. And the Nolvæ sang their song and in it was all their long, long history: their joy and sorrow and lament for Varlar, and everything that ever was and ever will be. And Men were wrought to tears as they rode. Whilst children of Men laughed and cried and danced. And all were saddened and gladdened at one and the same time.

And time and the many leagues, rolled by.


Time rolled on, until faraway voices began to mingle with those of the Nolvæ.

Faint and distant and strange-tongued were these, so that even the Nolvæ song dwindled, whilst they harked these new-come troubadours. Then, even as men steadied horse and sought weapon, there appeared a shrouded folk, gathering on a scant-covered ridge away to the south. Amongst them, there walked a tall Elvish Lady, and by her delicate feet, hopped a squat toad.

Hail, people of my people, she called, in the common tongue of men. Hail to ye, folk whom I have never known. Stay your course and bide with us, I beseech you; for we are the remnant of a people long lost, who would be remembered to the light of day. With me, from the bowels of Varlar, walk the last of the Daræ out of Earth's innards. I am Loriandir of the Fane. Once, long ago, I meant something, as did these folk who dwelt with me. In the long ago, they meant much. Now they and I are released unto the world. Will ye not tarry awhile that we may cleave to you?

At that, the Nolvæ elves halted and their leader Bel-Thalion said, We beg your pardon, Lady Great. Come hither to us and we will greet you rightly. Bring those with you, the Dark Ones, for I think we have with us a maiden of their own kind; the Daræ Lady Talisar. She who has long remained upon the outside, whilst her kin were passed within the skin of Varlar, with you. It seems a wonderous thing, that you are free. Pray, tell us how this came to be, whilst we travel; since it is that we are bound in common direction. Surely you must have news of events, unknown to us, from Earth-Mouth and beyond. Whatever, for best or worse, we would hear, and Talisar, I am sure, would have word of Corin One Master.

Thus was the way of it.

The two bands of refugees joyfully joined, and hastening on, word was given of that which had transpired before, leading to their meeting. Saddened were they overall though; for there was little good news to tell. Talisar remained mute, having heard the fate of Corin; he, her loved one, roaming the wilderness, awaiting doom at the mercy of a merciless foe. Well she knew that he was now beyond her aid or comfort, and for him she chose to grieve in silence. However, the others had need to go on with some hope in their hearts, and this hope was found in each other.

Yet now the fear, The Mighty Fear, began to fall across them; and all, even the Ogre, felt that threat reaching out to grasp and enshroud them.

Shivering, they struggled over the sands of time's waste. Somewhere far ahead lay their hoped-for haven, and Bufo the Toad urged them make haste, since distance was not their only enemy. They were not permitted to travel unharried; the highroads, the rude paths and winding ways were not empty of danger. Here and there lurked disorganised bands of goblins, solitary leaderles trolls, wandering wolf packs and lone, terrible dragons; unbridled and lethal. These were the remnants, the wayward few who had fallen behind, or made away singly from those dogging Menkeepir's flocks. These were the dregs who had found hidden tracks over the Mirthin Mountains, or turned about to retrace their steps back across Indlebloom, and thence through Malthace. Then, gradually, over the many leagues from those westward regions, were they formed into a formidable, rag-tag horde. Through the Colle-Oba, across the deserted realm of Kutha-Kesh, beyond to the Kisir-Oba and Lang Shan beside the Reedy Sea, this rabble pursued; growing in strength all the while. And woe betide any who they came upon in the wilds. Yet maybe, even into the devious and dimwitted minds of these fell creatures, a mite of fear had seeped. Maybe even they sought refuge from something only guessed or rumoured. Without knowing it, perhaps they also sought a refuge like unto the Taiga.

There were clashes of course, running encounters and skirmishes. And ever, whilst they travelled the abandoned lands, were Men and Elves aware of that growing force, probing and panting; insatiable, at their backs.

However it was not possible for Men or Elves to know of that which lay ahead. There, mustered the might of remaining Nugoblukdom; they who had followed Menkeepir's peoples from their outset at Aileen. Unaware, Mysingir, Minca and those with them, rode into the pincers of the enemy, who now brooded in hiding, waiting a chance to rush the remaining force upon the banks of that swiftly rushing river. Mayhap even to board Elvin craft, for Goblindom's own chance at survival?

Sogbo, who had survived Aileen and risen to be the leader of this motley army, lurked watchful on the very rises westward where Menkeepir had set his shod foot whilst searching for the source of the Taiga.

There the Goblin, desperate, cunning Gark that he was, cracked the knuckles of his claws and scratched at his bare pate, grinning with gaping fangs and squinting through beady eyes; for he had glimpsed the new-come arrivals. He dribbled with expectation and his dark mind formed gruesome images: At least if not to survive, to live and spawn and grow fat on victims, best then to kill; torture and kill and drink the nectar of throats and die killing! He sucked at his claws and cackled. End of Sogbo? he muttered. No more Sogbo. No more fun. No more wenching Nugo sluts. No more slurping brains and guts. No more whipping, no more slashing. No more raping, no more bashing. Take some with you, Sogbo lad. Curse and blind them, Sogbo's mad! The goblin's laughter grew to an hysterical mixture of rage and fear, for in his crazed mind he foresaw his own doom and was determined to take as many with him as he could.


The battle that ensued was bloody, short, and decisive. Sogbo's forces struck out at the oncoming folk from Dorthillion, whilst behind, Goblins now came to harry their rear. If it had not been for Brôga, for the heroism of Mysingir and the fierce heart of Minca, and for Bel-Thalion's ringing sword, events would have been different: Men and Elves slaughtered, one and all. As it was, too many bit metal; too many fell upon the hard stone and felt their lives blaze out. Chaliandri the Black Elf died there, along with Shiriana the Daræ maid. Sianor of the Nolvæ was laid low and farewelled Varlar in the arms of Nivri-Allon. Trondilag and Berrondo of Erilar both succumbed, fighting side by side, protecting their Lorda Minca; who, at their fall, swept the heads off their murderers.

Many further lives would have been lost, but for the timely sortie of Menkeepir. It was he and his brother Mendor, who rode at the head of the roan-mounted Indlebloomers, cutting a deep wedge through the Nugobluk, that they might meet with those on the furthest side. And there, midst the clamour and turmoil of battle, were the brothers three united, and Minca, cut and crimsoned, returned to her love Mendor. Yet even as they met by the banks of the waters, the Nugobluk pressed them hard in the rear; for these Goblins had nought to lose and were goaded on by Sogbo in his maniac fury. As the Goblins forced home their overall strength in numbers, there came a much-needed reprieve. Stanegnamen, commanded by Kral, Gizonak and Zlato, appeared, as if from the very mountain stone, to bear down from the north upon their foe. Stonegnomes, granite-hardened, chisel-featured and dour, are difficult to kill or even maim. If the Stanegnamen had a vulnerability, mayhap it was their eyes; thus some were blinded by goblin dart, to blunder away unseeing. Though the rest fell to their foes and swift was Stonegnome justice, swift the revenge of those stoic, stolid creatures; brethren of rock and mountain bone. Here, in the doings of the Stonegnomes, were Elves and Men given respite enough to regroup and make away.

The ships of Aneurin Seamaster lifted them from the shore and, one after another, the wondrous craft sailed through the misty falls and beyond, into the Taiga's unknown. Menkeepir himself was last to leave; fending off the enemy as he leapt from land. The final craft rowed away, forging upstream, whilst those remaining Nugobluk teemed about the waterside, insensible now to the Stonegnomes, who killed them where they stood.

Menkeepir's final sight was that of masses struggling on the river's edge, of Stonegnome and Nugobluk plummeting to death, locked together. And then there came a blinding curtain of rain; a torrent, as the long sweeps of the elvish rowers sent Aneurin's Dolphin ship coursing beyond the mighty waterfalls.

For a time, which Menkeepir could only recall later as a night long without moon or star to guide or count the moments, the Elvish vessel surged onward; the Valdë mariners plying their crystal oars, a sheen of lumallin about each row-elf, picking them out palest-blue in the black of abyss.

Yet none aboard the Dolphin Ship were afraid; the Elloræ sang the haunting songs of land and sea with voices pure and lifting and words unknown to Men. But Men cared not, for they were comforted and warmed in the dark where no warmth was.


Then, the light burst through.

They were out and sailing over clear, flowing water, into what seemed another world. Around, tall mountains craned their heads, rugged and sheer; some snow-capped, others iron-grey. Yet there was green too, and blue: the green of wandering belts of trees, forests cladding slopes and skirting a broad, emerald lake fed by streams and falls that dashed and cascaded from distant peaks. Fish, sparkling, went shooting through the clear water. Fowl were wading there. Woolly sheep were grazing on the hills.

Valdë ships, full rigged and swallow-tail pennoned, hovered close in to the rolling downs that embraced a sandy strand whereon waited those already there: Men and Elves, Pixies, Dwarves and Brownies, antlered deer, horse, cattle; all expectant, perhaps the closest that they could ever be. Bright coloured flocks, a multitude of birds, showered overhead, whilst folk of ship and shore waved and sang a greeting, a joyful meeting. And they were all, once again, reunited.


Such joy indeed was there that word and song was made of the events that befell.

Whether this was done by a single hand or more than one is unclear, but the verses survived as a Lay that became part of the chronicles of Varlar. Yet let it be recorded that a gifted Bard or Bards gave forth that offering, preserved nigh the close of the Brown Book, the Third of Four unearthed many ages later at the ancient site of Hrætia Minor.

And so, here follows that offeringCame they to the Taiga, within the girdling mountains, and to their eyes it seemed much as a paradise. There was no lack of provender; food grew on trees and vines, and their bounty was plentiful. Shelter too, there was: homes amongst the green woods, caverns in the high hills.

Stone in abundance, for masons to fashion.

Dwarves would take that task in hand, since such was their passion.

Thus, the Lordly Menkeepir, unto the Taiga came,

and thus brought with him, his destiny and fame.

About he, gathered high and lowly, heaping him with praise.

Odes were prompt composed for him, to sing in latter days.

Elves, as well, were glorified, the gentle and the strong.

Loud the lauds were sung of them by each in all that throng.

Thence Bufo Toad made away, Loriandir leading.

The time had come, of all Earth-time, that her heart was needing.

Others followed in their wake, Aneurin, Goldal, Alluin her daughter.

Into forests rich they passed, and by the trickling water.

The Keeper-of-Men, walked with them then, his brothers also trailing.

Belda, and King Ordrick too, in his metal-mailing.

Through age-old woods, trod they there, delight and hope all sharing.

Minca, Qwilla, Semir-Ramis; soft stepping in their caring.

Orsokon and his tot, and Possum Wollert too,

Clovell and Dalen, followed close, the chosen of the few.

Rosac, Rosida, and Piri their maiden,

came with mellis honey dew; baskets a'laden.

In the thickets Brôga blundered, Bim at his ear.

Once the ogre might have thundered, but now he had a care.

Farinmail stalked along, for company horse and sheep;

Cornarian, and Argal, from Tumberimber steep.

Over fern and coarse-leaved bracken Nolvæ elves went threading,

Bel-Thalion and Nivri-Allon, lightest footfall treading.

Prince Nolar and Chaliandra, long lost in nether days,

lithe-footed, silent-sure, hastened the greening ways.

Last and lorn of black-elf kind, came Talisar the Daræ.

She the love of Corin; vanished Master Fay.

Her weepen tears, she left unhidden and to the dell did follow.

To where the Sleeper, peaceful slept, she crept within that hollow.

And with the rest, her eyes gazed down at sight seen by but few;

there was creature, green-clad fringed, amongst the forest dew.

Sitting cross-legged, brown feet bare, a leafy garland in his hair.

Behind his ear, a long blue feather; in his blue eyes, sunny weather.

On nut-brown finger, willow wren sat perching,

watchful for danger then, her bright eyes searching.

By the pool, where otter leapt, an open casket in which slept,

a haloed child; days old, seeming. Yet over vast age, onward dreaming.

The Fairy-Mother bent her knee and knelt before that company,

to draw the swaddling babe from night; her 'Corin', risen to the light

of day, that they should witness Themion's boy,

though Themion's shade had no such joy.

Uplifting him, she made a pass and sank down crooning in the grass.

The swaddling babe clasped in her arms, she worked a mystery with her charms,

that wakened him from night's long hold, and brought him from the darkness cold.

A moment more passed with his sighs and then he opened up his eyes

to stare, enraptured at his Mother; and thence to gaze at every other.

At length, those watching, made away, to tend the business of the day.

Loriandir and child leaving; he, clutched to her white breast heaving.

Only Toad and Moth stayed near, beside the rustic fellow, queer.

In voice of pipe-call, pure and shrill, My name, he cried, is M'Boabdil!

In every wood you hear me calling, spring and summer, in leaf-falling.

Winter too, I am a'haunting. Snow and wind and cold, undaunting.

I am here, as I was then, ever first, renewed again;

as ever on, whilst world's turning,

my memory dwells in all folk's learning.

First rain, first green, first Varlar sky;

first helpless living thing, saw I.

I am on, and in, and under.

I am tree and leaf and wonder.

I am the spirit of the Taiga.

I am Nature's Saga.

Long safe, have I kept this mite;

for I am the Forest-Sprite!


Then Toad and Moth both spun from sight,

and there, instead, were witches wight:

Clothyl and Ergris, silent waiting,

watching over, contemplating.

And so there, leave them for a while,

as Loriandir sees the smile

that 'minds her of her Themion;

this 'Corin's' sire, her lover, gone.


Beyond the fastness of that glen to realm of lake, peopled by men

and elves and dwarves and flocks of birds,

and vast rayed animal herds;

there, those of Lordly, high and great,

spake their future in debate.

And whilst they did, in open parley, entered folk on wing'ed Sgnarli.

From the clouds, he overflew them; hurtful wounded, glided to them.

Landed and discharged his load, those weary folk of skyward road:

sore-pierced Silval, Huntress Elvra, Amqa maiden and love Falnir.

Cinglor, Darion's body bearing; that noble elf, now passed caring.

Great Grey-Wolf Bozkirt Shan, third of Apploth Witches' clan.

And lastly Pitrag, imp of night; whose steering claw kept dragon's flight

unerring, though those droopen wings of Sgnarli's were nigh done with things:

with daring errantry and battle, his shingled armour near last rattle.

Warlock's spike within his breast, death now loomed, and to him pressed.


But still the dragon did not fail and with the imp, rose to the gale

of gathered storm clouds in the west, maybe to find some fire-drake nest,

seeking there, perchance to die, lest Corin filled dear Sgnarli's eye

and mind and glowing heart with flame; The Master Corin's hands to tame

such wild and savage beast as he, perhaps a spark of loyalty

beat on in thudding chest, and neither imp nor drag' could rest

without them searching all world wide; together thus, to darkness tide,

they blew away as shadows fell and of them after none could tell.

Yet still, would it be best to think they swept o'er Varlar to the brink

and furthermore, where none have been; toward the bless'ed realms unseen.

In hope and pity, let them dwell

somewhere, beyond the harbour's bell.


But now to All-World, Doom was sending; light and life to Varlar ending.

A crack of lightning'ed sky went scudding, as down the thundering clouds came flooding.

There, round about the Taiga quaked and hungry earth, the rains slaked

unto the sodden, muddied soil, as without the oceans boiled

to torrents, and to fury's rage; whilst within the Taiga, caged,

were frail and helpless, hopeless sheep, last place of safety left them creep.

Waters gushed and mountains crashed, shores and lands far in were dashed.

Cliffs collapsed and deserts sank, the thrashing, writhing waters drank

whole strands down under to the deep, lost forever, there to keep,

whilst lifted from the sea-bed floor were thrown again new mountains o'er

those wind-lashed ways, where currents boiling, surged about whole forests toiling.

And somewhere, deep within the oceans, Nardred twisted Varlar's motions

to ruin and world's ending; sky turned over, sun bending

moon and stars all heaped together, seasons thrown to fearsome weather.

Spring to winter, earth a'quiver; leaves rattling empty river.

Stones rocked and Varlar tumbled; pitching backward, world crumbled,

coiling as The Serpent coiled and boiling as the oceans boiled.

Heaving, twisting, reeling, shifting; realms were lost, and others lifting

collided, and fell again, as down below, The World's-Bane

sought destruction's path forever; Varlar's living-being never

more to flourish or to burgeon, whilst that dreaded World-Sturgeon

strove for endless night's death and breathed abroad a world's-end breath.

Yet latterly, the crush subsided and bewildered, all earth bided.

Throes of It were unsustained, as if Nardred, completely drained,

lay withering on the ocean's floor; defeated then, but evermore?

None could tell and none dared guess, too busied afterward with stress

of finding foot in world now grown away from Varlar of their own.

Night was night and stayed that way and long it drove without the day,

and spring to winter's way wore on; within The Taiga, leaves were gone

from trees that should have sprouted many, in that lean time there weren't any.

All were twigs and sticks and posts, the darkened lands, peopled by ghosts

of forests and of woods now strickened; black, their empty shadows thickened.

Then, to joy, to heart, sun sprang; within The Taiga, voices rang

both in wonder and thanksgiving that the world went on a'living.

But awed all, both elves and men, watched the sun circle again,

dipping to horizon low, and thence from out the east to grow.

World was changed in that dawning, when the East Sun rose to morning.


Days rolled by, not as before; Varlar was gone, unto folklore.

For then, for now, for evermore,

the Sun creeps out from eastern shore,

to ride into the western day,

and in the west, to sink away...


So concludes the Lay of Varlar's Ending.

What follows are the final entries from the Brown Book of Hrætia-Minor.


Epilogue [next]

Australian Page email your comments to the author Exchange critiques on the Lit-Talk board