"'Twas the Great Festival of Winterdeep,
when dwarves return unto their fathers' folk
to toast good fortune and set care aside,
and celebrate the new year's birth in wine.
From Istvan's delving to this hall they came,
little knowing the grief that lay ahead
through Krevli's treach'rous tongue and greed for gold
and some imagined grievance 'gainst his lord.
This discontented dwarf with aspect grim
had quit the fastness ere the winter-wight
had cast his mantle o'er the mountain's peak,
and, swearing vengeance, to Campesti went.
There, in a shady tavern and his cups,
his grievances he aired both loud and long.
Among his hearers was a jackal spy -
Lord Zervan's trusted killer, Glitch by name -
who tempted him with promises of gold
if he would turn informer 'gainst his friends.
And so for filthy lucre, he betrayed
the secrets of the Eyrie to the foe
While dwarves were celebrating Winterdeep,
the jackals gathered by the mountain pass
where opens Istvan's hidden lower door,
and waited for their lord to let them in.
Meanwhile so high above, atop the cliff,
Lord Zervan sought for shelter from the night
in guise of harmless trav'ller far from home,
and with a beauteous lady on his arm.
Istvan, benevolent and courteous host,
did welcome them and bid them share his board.
They dined in amity, then called for song;
the Lady Perizade brought forth her lute,
and, in her singing, cast her evil spell.
For this, my brothers, was no gentle maid,
but pow'rful sorceress who moulds the minds
of those she would control. E'en dwarven kind
could not resist the charm of that clear voice
that rang through the hall like a crystal bell.
There we sat ensorcell'd, seeing, hearing,
yet unmoving - life suspended................
How bitter were the orders that she gave,
for our undoing was by our own hand.
Alack! that one so fair should be so cruel!
Sladak she sent down to the lower door
to give admittance to the jackal horde.
Next, on Istvan, her magic arts she work'd . . .
Calling his spirit from his human frame,
she captured it within a golden urn.
The empty shell of him that we called lord
was taken to the highest tower of guard
and laid in state upon a silken bier;
the golden urn, she gave into my care,
that I must bear it to her chosen room,
and there must lay it safely by her bed.
That done, I did return as in a dream,
but ere I reached the hall, good Tabor came.
When I responded not, he broke the spell -
right brutally did he beset me till
unto my proper senses I did come!
Within his quarters, well beneath the hall,
he had escaped the sorceress's spell,
all unaware of danger close at hand
till, hearing cries of mayhem from below,
he sounded the alarm, but far too late
He now must save himself and bring the news.
By secret ways unknown to the betrayer,
did Tabor and myself and sev'ral more
make our escape to freedom as you see.
Now my tale is done, but is it ended?
Evil deeds like these should be amended... "
This little saga in blank verse is taken from the fantasy
novel, 'Crown Infernal'.
If you'd like to read the novel, the icon below links to it.