Dear People of Oberin, citizens of Mirith and of all the other fair cities and settlements, dwellers of the ports and of the beaches, inhabitants of the pleasant woods and of the rocky conglomerates, Centaurs, Pixies, Dragons, and Merfolk,
It is my pleasure to announce that, on the occasion of the coronation of His Majesty the King N'eroth, Mirith will be holding a competition for the most gifted bard in our lands. The King has opened the treasury, and a prize has been chosen: a magnificent Silver Tipped Quill, the most beautiful of its kind!
Anyone can participate with a poem or a short tale on Mirith, her history, her traditions, her present life, her people, her fauna, her flora. From the founding of the city by Elara to the present day, let Mirith inspire your verses and stories.
I was given the honour to gather your entries and to organise the jury. If you please, leave your masterpiece to any guard of the Mirith Vanguard Hall, addressed to me.
Looking forward to reading your works of art,
Wizard of the Mirith Vanguard
It's wonderful to hear that the King is holding a bardic contest. I can't wait to read all the entries. I've included with this letter my own entry, a poem about the King. Hopefully it will be well received, and I won't end up soon on the gallows. I figure a bard has to be a historian and commentator as well as a storyteller or poet, so that's what inspired me to do this piece. I suppose there isn't much more to say about it than that.
Good luck with the judging and such,
I Am King
Yo ho ho, Red Rotgut Rum, my favorite thing to drink.
Scepter, spell, electric eel, I bring foes to the brink.
King by day and Man by night, I still have much to learn.
My heart is full of love and life, adventure do I yearn.
Day and night and night and day, it's a struggle, that much is true.
My friends with words and my enemies, spells, oh what am I to do?
Once I was a carefree lad; I ran with centaurs free.
But now I am a robe and crown; I've lost my liberty.
I love this kingdom with my heart; I love it with my soul.
I fight myself; I fight this urge; I fight till I am dull.
And when this day is done and through, I wander down the road.
I travel to the farthest land, to Ice Dragon's Abode.
I cast my spells and fight and cut and run and jump and play.
I revel in my freed oppression; I dread the coming day.
But no I do not really dread, I will not shirk my charge.
I lift my head and open my heart; I rise and I am large.
I am King.
I have no choice.
Why do I have no choice?
I wasn't born this way, at least not that I knew.
No one ever told me what I had to do.
Would I have accepted it if they had?
Would I have been prepared?
Would I have this wanderlust, this pirate heart declared?
I guess I'll never know, and it really will not matter.
I have a duty to my kingdom, people to not shatter.
I MUST TAKE THE REIGNS! RISE UP! EMBRACE!
I must give my essence to this land.
But will it be enough?
Will it be enough?
Will it be...
History will decide, but in the end the choice is mine.
Mine and mine alone.
I have my loves and my desires.
I know what I must do.
I only hope I can.
In the softness of dirt and the harshness of sands,
empty spaces awaited the touch of divine hands.
The Life Goddess breathed.
Then a gift breathed alive and so grew ready to send.
With a kiss and a promise, seeds were blown to the wind.
The Life Goddess prayed.
Tiny seeds blossomed and began a race to the sun.
Each took a different form and color, one by one.
The Life Goddess smiled.
Some chose to keep stretching while others chose to keep low.
Each chose seeds to send to the wind to help others grow.
The Life Goddess rested.
Each moon brought more sprouts and new life now crowded the dirt.
Some chose to bear fruit, others to bring beauty or hurt.
The Life Goddess sighed.
New life came in new forms; some with feather, fur or fin;
some with leather,cloth or metals covering their skin.
The Life Goddess watched.
Some fought with bolts and swords and claws and fangs and disease.
Some slashed and slew their brethren beneath the watching trees.
The Life Goddess cried.
Some came to mend them and carry away the lost.
Some built homes and cherished life not worrying the cost.
The Life Goddess hoped.
As cities grew and people fell , many tears were shed.
Life grew on with lessons learned and brave ones stood in stead.
The Life Goddess soothed.
Now life grew in abundance and creatures learned the dance.
Love grew in friends with jokes and ale and life has a chance.
The Life Goddess laughed.
His hands, his feet... everything was numb. It was in that split moment where life and death collide that he realized he was born for this. But wait? Born for what? Born for life? For death? What exactly what he born for? It all waged around him, the sounds of war, the sounds of life and others like him... it all seemed slightly muted, as if he were in some kind of ball that kept the edge of sound away. And he gave himself time to wonder, time to contemplate, was he born for this? This world? One where no fantasy could live and nothing came to life? Or was he obsessed with the road in between? The glory and honour of it all... Was it going to his head?
As he stepped off the crumpled form beneath him, he realized just how fake 'ascension' really was. Everything was strained. Strained of happiness, of colour. It had drained of that long ago but now it was all he saw. The darkness. A rift. What did it all mean? It had never occurred to him before. Suddenly the road he had taken many times before seemed strange and unnatural to him. He felt the chill of the air around him as he walked. 'Was it really like this before? I never remember it like this before.' Of course, he had remembered the anticipation of the next battle to come. Now, the ghostly white trees only gave him solitude, rather than company. He could almost feel the harsh ground beneath him. He kept walking. Suddenly it seemed like that was all he ever did. And worse yet, it was always walking away. He had to see everything, which in itself seemed fine. But what were the consequences of having no place to come back to? And so he felt homeless and abandoned, walking to a place he barely even knew. There was a certain emptiness of battle that wearied him. Yet people with families, they always seemed so much happier. Why was that? Now he felt weak. 'Surely it was never this long a walk...' By the time he came to the painted walls, he was almost on all fours. 'I am... a warrior!' He thought, getting back up. Are you? a voice came in to his head. Or have you finally had enough? 'What do you mean?' He thought, struggling past people who could see him as if they could see the air itself: visible particles being carried by something they could not see. And so this warrior's soul and anguish were carried by something these people could not see. You have lived your life in this way.... going out to battle, dying, reviving, returning to the same routine... and yet suddenly it isn't enough for you. You've suddenly realized that the journey is more important than the destination, and the value of a place to call home is invaluable if you ever want to travel at all. Indeed, it takes one to have the other. Odd, that the world works in strange ways like this. But now, I leave this to you, to figure out the meaning of life as you make it. Life is individual, those who have it find different ways to accomplish 'meaning'. It is the fact that they believe it to have meaning that it does, and thus people can live out their lives with a sense of purpose... indeed, it does not matter what you decide, so long as it has deeper meaning for you. And this... this is where I leave you... the voice receded away as the flush of colour came back to the warrior. But no longer was he a warrior of flesh, but a warrior of purpose. 'So many times I have been here... have I really never bothered to learn the name?' He came to the signpost amongst the gate. 'Mirith... I think I could learn to live in this place... and surely there'll be plenty of things to do here. Things that have meaning and purpose to me, one that I can have lead me to a greater goal. What use is there to being the greatest warrior for no purpose, when there is no challenge? Let me experience something TRULY new. What should i try first, though? Well, i've always wanted to experience the life of a cleric...'
And with this, the fabled warrior of legend faded in to obscurity and the tale of the hulking cleric became prevalent. But he was no meaner than a fly, in reality, so they said. He would look down with kindly eyes, with just a hint of ghostly grey in them to remind us all to find a purpose in what we do, of that time between life and death, the time of reflection, the life of a ghost.
I wished to have a hand at this but was very distracted in the past few days, so I shall submit what I wrote on the occasion of the latest Brackenfest:
THE UNFOUND ISLAND
Most beautiful of all is the unfound island,
the one his majesty bestowed upon his mistress
by royal seal and bull of the highest priest...
His majesty the king set sail, searching for the enchanted isle
but the island was nowhere, and no one ever found it
it vanished from the galley's prow like an idea.
Just like some glorious utopia, it flew away, never to return.
The ancient pirates' charts bear a mysterious mark
and sailors speak of it softly, intimidated by superstitious awe
Nobody knows whether it really does exist
or if it is just a thought...
If at times the wind carries to us its scent,
it's like the smoke that you can never catch.
Sometimes it appears, wrapped in mist, magic and beautiful
but if the captain advances through mysterious seas,
it has already faded away, assuming an azure hue -
the colour of distance.
The ballad ends with the soft sound of the lute getting fainter and fainter
(You're all lovely people.
There's still time to submit an entry, for those of you who haven't! In case of last minute questions, AIM is wizardcassandra.)
Ode To Mirith
Adventurers have come and gone,
But most will say theyíve never known,
Maze or field or dragonís cavern,
Choicer than the Mirith tavern.
Where can you find a drink more hale,
Than that from Ottis? Fine pale ale.
And hear the strains of Pirate Kings,
Roll like thunder as they sing.
How many castles heavy halls,
Had centaurs walk within their walls?
Or hold the knowledge of an age,
Within their parchments line and page?
Elaraís lore the founding stone,
Her likeness standing proud and lone,
Shining Mirithís strength and will,
Strong roots may harbor secrets still.
War can take a beggars view,
And bring to ruin all we knew,
Tiranaís wrath a loathsome blight,
Twins casting shadows like the night.
But never did we lose our faith,
Foreswear our oaths or fear our death,
When overrun by feral flood,
We paid fell debts with sword and blood.
The cities walls will never fall,
Her friends will always heed the call,
First city on our green wide land,
Will never fail, must always stand.
Banners snapping broad and blue,
From ramparts gleaming strong and true.
Oh shining Mirith hear our cries,
Elaraís light will never die!
By Boric & Charonia
The wizard compiles the entries carefully, and makes five copies of each to give to the jury.
(This is not forgotten - waiting for the votes to reach me. )