Thursday, August 12, 2010

Massacre at Gothregor

If you've never read any of the Kencyr books by Pat Hodgell, you're missing a real treat. Also, this poem won't make a whole lot of sense to you.

Ganth Grey Lord Gerraint's heir
grim he went riding from Gothregor.
High in the White Hills harm awaited
the hard-handed lord and the host he summoned.
Trace now the tangled cause of this trouble:
if I tell this tale tears will follow.

Kinzi Keen-eyed Knorth high lady
stood long listening alone on the rampart.
Walls guarded women whose men were away
fighting in far-distant lands earning the fees
that kept Knorth fed. Kinzi acceded,
knowing stern need and never complaining.
Lacking steel and strong arms she trusted in stone.
As well be warded by wind and air.

Night fell. No warning named any threat
creeping and gliding through gloomy Gothregor.
Assassins, unseen but for sheen of bared knives
cut throats in corridors quiet as caresses.
Bashtiri breath-stealers' blades drank deep
bloodying maiden breasts to dark death-banners.

No hoydens, Highborn women are hobbled,
knees knotted tightly in narrow skirts.
Fleeing was futile and they could not fight:
no freedom for limbs fettered by fear
still paying the price for Gerridon's pride.
No Senethar, sisters to save your lives.

Down in a dark hall desperate footsteps
seek out the safety of shadows and silence.
Beautiful Aerulan Brenwyr's beloved
clutches a child's hand white-cheeked with fear.
Above, at the doorway already cold
Kinzi lies killed among pools of crimson.

Sweet pale blooms promise protection
concealment and comfort for cold Tieri.
A woven hanging hides her behind it,
moon-garden entrance guarded by grace.
Aerulan invites assassins to her arms:
her death distracts them from Tieri's trail.

Cut down like corn the women of Knorth.
Ashes blew black from blazing pyres.
Knorth's men, maddened made for the hills
drinking full deep of destruction's draught.
Under her home's halls Tieri lay hidden
last Knorth woman left all alone.

Ambush scattered the host for slaughter.
Grey Lord Ganth heir of Gerraint
never returned from wrathful riding,
grasped exile gladly never guessing
his sister lived last and alone
prey for the prowler out of the deep past.

Formidable foes (female or male)
bought the Bashtiri, blades for hire,
to kill the Knorth. Unanswered questions
haunt the wide halls of the High Lord's home:
Who kens old quarrels that cost us Kinzi?
Who now will whisper a name to the wind?

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

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