Old Bard of Tales & the Windswept Castle High On a Hill

Author’s note- This is an epic fantasy and as such is rather long.

I also use the word Faggot whose real original meaning  is “A bundle of sticks and branches bound together”

 

Photo- Poppy Silver

 

Old Bard of Tales & the Windswept Castle High On a Hill

 

 

Come gather round the bardic tree, it’s time to weave a tale

throw the faggots on the fire, pass ‘round the mead & ale…

the sun has set by yonder hill, the moon is bright as pearl

the lord & lady gone to bed, lads come grab your girl

the time has come the common folk gather by the bardic tree

– for this is their time for fun, their time for feeling free…

 

The guards atop their helmets sit; they are men among the men

as eager as the stable boy for the story to begin…

… the fire danced, the shadows grew, throwing spectres on the path

a blackened pot of 3-day stew warmed upon the hearth

the stars that lit the sky that night, hung low to hear the tale

when finally the old bard took up his seat, near the keg of ale…

he cleared his throat, downed his mead, a hush fell about the crowd

the only sound- the snoring of the old bards old hunting hound;

*

I tell a tale of loss and love, blood and dust and war

so gather close, for I’ll not shout, I ne’er’ told this tale before—

 

Windswept Castle High On a Hill

 

 

In a windswept castle high on a hill

with rocky crags broken and steep

there stood a rugged mountainous man

who looked out from his fortified keep

and with sword in hand he surveyed his land

from the valley to the alpine peaks

a hound stood by the young man’s’ side

as the moon rose in the evening sky

both listening to the distant sound

of a lone wolf’s echoing cry

 

campfires shone on the far-off horizon

like eyes with a simmering glow

that seemed to wink at him menacingly

through the falling snow

below the castle’s ramparts tall

his men gathered in the darkening night

with spirited steeds and clashing claymores

they were ready for the coming fight

 

the young lord turned away with purpose

as the hound followed his master inside

to the safety of the inner chambers

to farewell his tearful young bride

and as the midnight moon rose high in the sky

young lord and men moved as one

while the women wept with the knowledge

that not all would see another sun

for battles are long and bloody

when the men fight for the right of their land

and many will not be returning

this truth they understand

 

in a snowbound valley ‘tween two distant hills

rang the clash of blade on blade

in a night of bloody combat

that saw many sent to their grave

but the young lord and his men fought wisely

they had the power of honor in their hands

as they fought for their wives and children

fought for the right of their land

and it was many who returned to home and hearth

with lord and hound in the lead

the hound jumping through powdery snow

while his master rode a spirited steed;

 

 

In a windswept castle high on a hill

with rocky crags rugged and steep

the good lord and his people

slept an untroubled sleep

for the fields were lush with crops

and the larder full of goods

it was a time of plenty

with deer abounding in the woods;

 

now in this time of plenty

a son and heir was born

bright and early and howling

one beautiful warm spring morn

and the villagers praised their noble sire

praised his new born son

and gave thanks for the time plenty

and the good things to come;

 

the people rejoiced the peace times

though ever diligent was their eye

as villages grew and expanded

and families multiplied

at night they celebrated their good fortune

and willingly worked through each day

under their lord’s benevolence,  and his watchful gaze;

 

 

in a windswept castle high on a hill

with rocky crags rugged and steep

a hound with chipped and broken fangs

sleeps at his masters feet

surrounded by faded memories

and the echoes of yesteryear

neither hound nor master heard

the old gray wolf creep near

 

the old hound twitched, as his master did

their slumber disturbed by dreams

of heroic deeds and restless steeds

in a land of harsh extremes

 

as the old gray wolf stood over the hound

his coat was flecked with snow

he watched the hound with yellowed eyes

in the warmth of the fires glow

beside the chair where the old man slept

stood an ethereal ghostly form-

a friend who died in battle one distant winters morn,

 

the old gray wolf looked up at the ghost

both knew the time had arrived

for while the hound still had breath

the master, he had died,

and as the masters ghostly shape took form

the hound awoke to see

the apparition of two old friends

reunited by destiny

 

echoes rose to the ramparts

as the old hound howled his pain

echoes rang out across the land

as the gray wolf did the same,

the hound laid his head in his master lap

but the old man did not stir

nor did his masters withered hand

ruffle the old hounds fur

the wolf turned away from the old man

who sat crumpled in his chair

turned away from the ghostly spirits

as they floated into the wintry air

 

and with sadness, the old hound followed

the gray wolf’s silent tread

away from the windswept castle

and the echoes of the dead;

 

Now fill me pot, the old bard said, by gods I could eat the moon

… which reminds me of another tale – mayhap I’ll tell it soon.

*

SharonleeGoodhand©9-Aug-14

 

 Written for Image Challenge

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