February 7th - Alebad
"What news from the northern realms My Lord? Surely without their help we cannot hold the city against such a host?"
Captain Andred was an experienced soldier despite his twenty-years, first amongst that band of hand-picked warriors who marched behind Cathal's personal standard and not a man easily perturbed by war. But as the two men stood overlooking the northern approach to the city, perched on the ramparts of the great gate which guards the road to Outer Tilog and beyond.
"What news should we expect at this late hour?
Should we hold our breath and raise a heart-felt prayer,
That the spirits of heath and field and forest glade,
Strap armour to their airy form,
And march south to save the day?
There in is such hope of chimerical grace,
A fiction bold to still the craven heart,
As that men abed in distant lands now rouse,
Awakened from their slumber at our plight,
To guard what honour they may yet recall.
Cathal drew Inescapable Doom and with its tip traced the distant column of dust, the oncoming army of Lukon, whilst beneath the gate a crowd of onlookers assembled seeking comfort in his words. The blade seemed to keen with rage as the wind whipped against it's deadly edge.
See there the emmet swarming from their mound,
'tis 'gainst such foes we now must make our stand,
And here atop the walls we know so well,
Holding honour grander than this mortal flesh,
Assert the sovereign liberty of our land.
For such great cause all that we are is pledged,
And by our side will Justice place his guard,
Yet t'honour of the morrow shall be ours,
Unyielding to the very end of things,
Whether crushed in death or raised in victory's power.
And in such favour as our deeds shall win,
I'd have no half-heart claim the greater share,
Than we brave knights who faultless do dwell here,
Nor trade a single one of our fair band,
For legions sweeping timely to our aid.
These monsters shaped from flesh so like our own,
Will be the proof if e'er it were sought,
That basest villein of our race's stock,
Is nobler yet than Kings in chains self-forged,
Who blindly toil beneath the tyrant's yoke.
Aye, we shall stand alone and likely die,
A free choice which no conq'ror may revoke,
But if by grace our valour carries the day,
And shakes the very heavens from their stupor,
Then who will doubt the virtue of our deeds?
All who make such victory their prize,
Shall e're they die long savour their fine birth,
E'en as the sons and daughters of our foe,
Schooled by example in their sire's misdeeds,
Shall rue the very womb which gave them form.
And they shall rejoice who toil in Portion's pits,
For hope anew shall be bequeathed to them,
The patrimony of our peerless arms,
Proved in the flames of hell's infernal hate,
And who could wish for great'r 'couragement?
But if we fail and none should live to mourn,
The passing of such fine nobility,
Think not our sacrifice to be in vain,
The Gods look kindly on we virtuous fools,
Who risk all in pursuit of chivalry.
So gird yourself my friend for perilous deeds,
The morn' will cast this sputum in our face,
And we must set our will against such breeze,
To hold our flesh and sinews hard as stone,
The better our just purpose to achieve."