TWO FOR ONE ENTRY
The Wrath of Kanus
The Wolves and Jackals led the way
With Kanus in the front.
To conquer Lions and hold at bay
The Tigers on the hunt,
The tribes of Dogma had aligned,
The Foxes, Hounds, and more-
And of them all but one defined
The will to do the chore.
Upon his breast, a ruby hung
Empowering his might.
Barbarian genetic tongue
Exposed his wrathful spite.
The Lions had slain his pack when he
Was but a newborn pup.
Those Battle Cats were by decree
A feast he would lick up.
The Rocky crags of Castle Bone
Eclipsed the army led,
And Kanus soon would claim the throne
Before the Cats were dead.
Uniting all the Dogs as one
Had been an easy task.
Revenge sat dawning as a sun
In which the Wolf would bask.
The Otherworld had long been calm,
But now upon his call,
A conquered nation in his palm
Awaited death to fall.
The Sloths had found him when as a child,
The Witches of the Wood,
Devoting spells unto the wild,
And yet he understood.
A power from the three who chose
To keep him in their care
Forever changed and would expose
A depth of witty flare.
Intelligence and feral strength
Combined within his soul,
And thus the Witches went the length
To seek his future goal.
The gem within his armor strap
Began to glow and swirl.
A toothy grin spoke of the trap
His minions would unfurl.
Beyond the ridge, the Lions would wait,
The Panthers by their side.
The Tigers held a different fate,
Engrossed with their own pride.
And still the lot would see his wrath
For he did not divide.
The Battle Cats were all one path,
And none of them could hide.
However, there was one perhaps
Among them who could give.
Bengalla, maker of the maps
Of tales and myths may live.
A legend Kanus longed to be,
And of all in the land,
No other spun with poetry
The same as was his brand.
The Tiger Bard was world renowned,
So he could serve the cause,
But only if his will was bound.
If not, no need to pause.
Another dead would be no loss.
As Kanus looked away,
A thunderstorm began to toss
And set night underway.
From in the sheath upon his back,
A sword of bone and steel
Began to pulse from blue to black
As if it seemed to feel.
The ruby glowing hissed a word
And Kanus raised his sword.
The Witches voices softly heard
Proposed a wicked chord.
The scar across his right eye singed
From one fight long ago
Reminded him that all this hinged
On Magic’s ebb and flow.
He walked ahead and out of sight
And then from in the gem,
The Witches Three appeared in light
And gathered next to him.
A silence fell asleep from the scar
Escaping all around
Enchanted Aura as a star
Embraced what it had found.
The color red began to grow
And cover his design.
The gifts the Aura would bestow
Began an eerie shine.
As chanted spells were slowly sung,
The Sloths dispersed in air
And left the Wolf whose sword was swung
About in firmest care.
And so he turned and howled commands
Directing without slack.
The Wrath of Kanus filled the lands,
And none would break his Pack …
The Horsemen’s Ride
The Horsemen rose from tombs in flare,
The woods afire by night.
Atop the rush as strode each mare
Extinguishing the light
Within the forest never seen,
Escaping death’s design,
The Horsemen prodded, boldly keen,
Aware of evil’s shrine.
Another master summoned them,
Unable to resist.
A cauldron simmered, going dim-
Another called assist.
Falasia mastered many things,
But what she needed most
Became the hull of deathly stings;
An army and a ghost.
The Horsemen did as they were told,
As liches they were bound
To any whom their wares were sold,
For those who called were found.
Beyond the moonlit covering,
Beyond the wooded veil,
The Horsemen rode while hovering
Above their former jail.
As freedom singed the clean sinews
And bones would crack and pop,
The pathway turned to fading hues,
But none of them could stop.
Falasia heralded them come,
And come the Horsemen would.
In spirit, they had all gone numb,
A feeling understood.
Another ride, another fight,
Another forceful aim.
And still they missed no single stride,
And still the Horsemen came.
The number equaled twenty-four,
The same as when in life.
The Horsemen came to do the chore;
To bring the slashing knife.
At last Falasia met the glow
Of each enchanted horse.
She gawked and swooned from head to toe.
Her plan held no remorse.
She sent them to the Tiger-clan,
As her Lord bade her do.
Destruction was the final plan;
Destruction through and through.
An image from her cauldron burned
To guide them on their way.
A fleeting sense of evil churned
And they were set to slay.
A hollow voice escaped the teeth
Of one who led the charge.
“My brothers, make this battle brief!
We need not be at large!”
Attire unlike the others kept,
His helmet concealed eyes
That blazed and at the same time wept
Within his dead disguise.
A wispy cloth of searing white
Concealed the hidden truth-
The fangs that once were used to bite
Were now but hollow proof
The Smilodons had ever been-
Those saber-toothed at birth.
He looked behind and felt chagrin;
He longed to know his worth.
The skeletal remains denied
The past except for rage.
And now he would go battle pride,
A beast freed from a cage.
Fatalis knew the cycle well-
To rise, and fall, and rise.
A captive of an ancient spell,
He was the chosen prize.
And so he and his kin adhered,
No hope of sleep or rest.
The Tiger-clan had been revered,
But they would be no test.
The Vultures circled in the sky-
Perhaps they smelled decay.
No matter, as he could not die,
Fatalis led the way.
Beyond the border stood the gate
And as the Horsemen strode,
The battle coming spoke of fate
As into it, they rode.
A mist appeared about them there
And covered all around.
No undead foot or feral mare
Was seen, nor could be found.
And so Fatalis held the scene
And sent his kindred on
Into the land of in between
To take from Acmar’s throne …
The Darque Bard, James Matthew Byers, resides in Alabama. He has been published in poetry journals and through Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL, where he received his Master’s in 2010. His epic poem, Beowulf: The Midgard Epic, was his first release from Stitched Smile Publications, LLC. James designed and illustrated the cover and interior art for this and his current release, Voyeurs and Vultures. James is the SSP poetry acquisitions editor. He also has a short story featured in their release, Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies. James has won four Prose Challenges at http://www.theprose.com. He is published in Weirdbook Magazine and in Grievous Angel ezine. He has a poem in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly issue 35. He won or placed in numerous contests at the Alabama State Poetry Society. He continues to write prolifically, supporting anyone who wishes to place their hammering fingers to the keyboard anvil, becoming a polished wordsmith in the process.
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