Wake Not the Warrior

Here’s a poem I wrote whilst writing my first solo fantasy novel, Usher’s Pass (The Arch of Sires, Book I).

 Wake Not the Warrior

Disturb not his slumber
He dwells half in troubled dreams
Shared with rolling thunder
That drowns the sound of screams

Wake not the warrior
His peace is razor sharp
He walks the path of the dead and gone
And stalks the living dark

Where the wraiths of vanquished enemies roam,
In the shadows and shivering wisps,
And only the warrior soul comes home
From beyond the velvet mist

Disturb not his slumber
Or face the warrior’s blade
Feel the kiss of sharpened steel
And join the drifting shades

Wake not the warrior
For if you do not fall
His blood flows in your veins and binds
You to answer the call

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Ever After – a 900 Club Short Story

The 900 Club Anthology 2013

The 900 Club Anthology 2013 – coming soon

The manuscript for The 900 Club 2013 Anthology is almost ready for publication. I just have a bit more formatting to do and hopefully the work will be all done. I’ll post on here again once it is finalised and I have a publication date. The book will be the almost complete collection of The 900 Club stories for 2013 and will be available in e-book format and on paperback.

January’s theme for The 900 Club was The Brothers Grimm and the two word phrase was “ever after”. We introduced a theme or genre each month for 2014, so this was the first time we’ve had one and it was interesting to see how it effected what we all came up with. Any worries that it might stifle our creativity have proved to be wrong! We’ve produced another five very different works. Below is my effort. I wanted to write a rhyme this time as I really like the little bits of rhyme in the Grimm tales. This poem is also inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven.

Please check out the other four stories at The 900 Club!

Ever After

by Martin Bolton

Be still, child, hear my voice
These words will save your soul.
I have a tale I must recite
And you must keep it whole,
For he who scorns this ghoul’s advice
Shall pay a heavy toll.
1.
One winter’s night, alone I sat,
In the shadows of my lair,
Dreaming of a time when life,
was fresh and bright and fair.
The twilight of my many years,
A burden mine to bear.
*
My vitality was traded,
For furrowed lines of wear,
My eyes were weak and faded,
On my scalp thin silver hair.
Time had withered and jaded,
Only sleep relieved my cares.
*
Here I relived youth and love,
Before the wear and tear,
Before the fever seized my wife,
And she ascended the golden stair.
I dreamed a dream of harmony
When it was mine to share.
*
Here I wandered tundras bleak,
In search of my salvation.
I pondered under nimbus fleece,
In chill precipitation.
I sought in vain to find my peace,
But found her imitation.
*
In lucid reverie I slept,
Sat in my lonely chair,
With each cruel memory, I wept,
But wake, I didn’t dare,
For waiting were shadows bereft,
Of memories of her.
*
Still I wondered if she took flight,
And flutters in heavenly pastures,
Beyond the shroud with wings pure white,
In meadows of joyous laughter.
Her light shone ever before she died,
But will it ever after?
2.
On I roamed the morbid sprawl,
Upon my riven feet.
Lord forbid I answer calls,
From false epiphanies,
And dance a jig at the masquerade ball,
In Lucifer’s livery.
*
This night my dreams were strangely tainted,
By a presence dark and fell.
Were my ancient ears mistaken?
Or did I hear my knell?
Death stalks the halls of fate and
Comes when he hears the bell.
*
What’s that? Who’s there?
A terrifying visage, an insidious stare.
A visit from the netherworld,
Plucked the strings of my despair.
The moonbeam lit a countenance,
In its callous, indifferent glare.
*
The face of evil glared at me,
With horns and a toothy grin,
Grotesquely formed of oozing skulls,
And decomposing things.
Eyes as red as glowing coals,
they burrowed through my skin.
*
Frozen in that searing grip,
I prayed I would endure,
The parting of those leering lips,
And the creaking of that jaw.
I gazed into the gap therein,
And hell is what I saw.
*
I wondered then if I’d ignite,
And pain become my master,
Beyond the shroud with wings of night,
And fire and hideous laughter.
My light shone ever before this night,
But will it ever after?
3.
“Who disturbs my dreams?” I asked aloud
“Who prickles my silver hairs?”
The answer chilled my very bones,
As I heard a voice so rare,
I shuddered at the words I heard,
As I slumbered in my chair.
*
“The sleep thou sleep’s your last,” said he,
“Thy body shall never wake.
Abandon hope, and come with me,”
So the demon spake.
“Thou are forsaken, now cease to be,
Your soul is mine to take.”
*
“Illusions were your youth and love,
Before the wear and tear,
Before the fever seized your wife,
And she ascended the golden stair.
An empty dream was harmony
And never yours to share.”
*
“Pray thee not, a futile act,
thou are beyond salvation,
thou pondered under nimbus fleece
In chill precipitation.
Thou sought in vain to find thy peace
But found her imitation.”
*
“Thou roamed insane the morbid sprawl,
Upon thy riven feet.
Thou failed to find thy miracle,
Now here’s thy epiphany:
Thou shalt dance a jig at the masquerade ball,
In Lucifer’s livery.”
*
“Discard thy faith, there’s no more life,
No eternal heavenly pastures.
Beyond the shroud is only fire,
No meadows of light and laughter.
Thy light shall fade and die this night,
And remain dead ever after.”
4.
I recoiled in fright, that dreadful night,
And flinched at every word.
Until my view shone dazzling bright,
And a second voice I heard.
Before my eyes, spread from from that light,
The wings of a mighty bird.
*
The demon moaned and groaned in pain,
a bitter blow was dealt,
“Beast, go back!” the voice commanded
“Back to where thou dwelt!”
I saw his image flicker and fade
And before me an angel knelt.
*
“Do not go!” the angel cried.
“Take my hand and come with me.
The afterlife awaits thee now,
The darkness can’t succeed
Thou know the way, thy sight is clear,
Thou are the light by which thou see.”
*
“Keep thy faith, thou know your wife,
She waits in heavenly pastures.
Beyond the shroud is eternal life,
Meadows of joy and laughter.
Thy light shone ever before this night,
And will continue ever after.”
*
“I shall come!” I cried. “I have no fear,
I will come along with thee.
The path to God ‘s the path I’ll steer,
There is no darkness in me.
I know the way, my sight is clear,
I’m the light by which I see.”
*
“I’ll keep my faith, I know my wife,
Waits in heavenly pastures
Beyond the shroud is eternal life
Meadows of love and laughter
My light shone ever before this night,
And will continue ever after.”
* * * *
Fleeting is my presence here
Before I take my leave
I travelled from another sphere
With a message to bequeath
My words, they fall on infant ears
But one day you’ll believe…