The Barbarian Bard

Tales and Musings by Michael A. Espinoza

A Construct Malignant

Hail readers,
Below you will find a poem I wrote sometime last summer. It tells the tale of a city of intrigue, subterfuge, and deceit. I hope you will all enjoy it.

The city’s veins are choked by gloam,
a shroud lowered from the sky.
Drops of its blood move ‘long their paths,
o’erwatched by an unseen eye.
In voices hushed with heresy,
they speak of the queen and king,
and in shouts swelled by a patriot’s zeal,
their rulers’ praise they sing.
In lofty palace of ebon stone,
the queen and her king reside.
Together they dine, apart they sleep,
each with dagger at their side.
And sleep may never to them come
to shade them in its cape,
for each be so a’feared to feel
the other’s dagger at their nape.

West of the city called Sjiryn-Vorek,
a hill called Penance stands.
Many here met their darksome end,
yet no blood stains the sands.
For a gallows broods ‘pon Penance Hill,
thrust up to snare its prey.
Here the worst and wisest swung,
and the lawful men did slay.
From dungeons ‘neath the ebon palace,
good and ill man was led.
And–noose ’round neck–they met the gods;
the sentenced joined the dead.
South of Penance a hell-mouth yawns,
its teeth bite at the sky.
Each tooth unmarked for the bones it guards.
In unrest the corpses lie.

Beyond Sjiryn-Vorek, in the east,
a white beach wraps the realm.
Blue water churns upon the sand,
high rocks break each wave’s helm.
There once a rebel leader stood,
his back against the waves,
but met his match at the king’s steel swords,
and joined Penance’s nameless graves.
Now sands are pristine and sea is clear,
the gull shall shrilly call,
and none who look ‘pon the holy shore,
would think here man did fall.
As waves time washes clean the slate,
so none living know the way
that kings spilled blood and priests conspired
in each long forgotten day.

Sjiryn-Vorek, City of Blades,
lingers e’er and on.
In night it licks its wounds and waits
to grasp the fleeting dawn.
A black stain on the unmarred earth,
and spreading evermore.
Shall one day its loathsome veins outstretch
and span from shore to shore?
Woe to man that here hath wrought
a cancer dark and strong.
Sjiryn-Vorek stands in silence
against the aeons long.
Were time to claim the ruinous lands
‘neath raven-haunted sky,
then e’en in its crumbling ruins,
in slumber would it sigh…


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