Author Topic: An Ermine's Tale  (Read 2099 times)

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Offline Christiaan

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An Ermine's Tale
« on: August 26, 2013, 01:17:45 pm »
I have fashioned below a style of epic poem. I have tried to keep it to trochaic pentameter; however, it is not meant to be read in the sing-song manner of most poetry. It is meant to be read as a story, which is why I have chosen to post it here. It is my hope that the meter helps the story flow. Toward the end, though, I do break from poetic meter, and I may extend the story later into a more extensive work comprising a variety of different forms.

Although I did have a vague idea of some sort of loose rhyme scheme, it certainly isn't central to the work. I have therefore taken extensive liberties in this respect.

I did originally intend to post this to the poetry corner, by the way, but I think that I like it much better, now that I think of it, for the narrative. I hope that someone will find it an enjoyable read.

I was just an ermine crawling through the
tunnels winding underneath the icy
ground of wintertime, my coat all white and
clean to see the princes of benighted
lands beneath the hills of ash and nightshade,
and I saw a dragon rising from his
slumber, lips a-smacking. Now he's come to
chase me down, and now I run! I'm running!

Through the mires that ate the ancient heroes,
I have sprinted, mistletoe the only
living thing I see for miles around me,
dodging 'tween the frozen trunks abounding
all around, and nowhere to be found there
is a place to run and hide, and nowhere
can I find a place to flee below the
ground. I know that all is lost: he's found me!

Heart a-drumming, now I turn to face him,
teeth bared, claws out, ready now to take him
down with me if I can, now forsaking
life to die with dignity. I'll make a
lasting mark upon the dragon's hide, and
that will be my legacy. I'm trying.
Yes, I'm trying. Now my ears are ringing.
Ermine's war song in my blood now singing!

Smaug comes down in flames of wrath and fury.
"Yield!" says he, "nowhere is there to scurry!
You could never fight against me. Surely
you must have some final words to convey
to your foolish 'God Almighty'. Confess
all your sins, for I now have you. No test
for my claws will you be. You will go now
off to meet your maker. Vain stoat, kneel down.
Plead for mercy by my mighty, steel jaw!"

"Die!" says I, my teeth bared, "Never will I
kneel to dragon, god or devil! Come nigh
toward me, you filthy lizard! Taste my
claw, for all my kind will go down chaste of
cowardice or selfish prayers spoken
by no piety except for token
humble thoughts of fools who've found their ending.
Coward! Beg for quarter from my rending!"

"Bold words," answers he, and now the fight's on.
In, he dashes lightning fast, his mighty
jaws wide open, aiming for my throat, he
comes in low, and I jump sideways, hoping
I can slash him in his side in passing.
Like a bull, he passes, cursing crassly,
yet my claws can make no purchase, sadly.
Smaug's hard scales are simply too much for me.

Down I go as Smaug's tail crashes downward,
smashing me into the ground with power
I could not have ever dreamed could be there.
Now, I lay here on the ground. I see that
Smaug will not be slain by some old polecat.
I will be his prey tonight. I know it,
yet I've fought defiantly and no one
else would ever stand up to a dragon.

"Last requests?" asks Smaug.

"May it be written that I died an ermine," I answer weakly.

"Why does it matter?" he asks, his voice filled with a sudden curiosity.

I raise my head to look him in the eye. "Would you die as anything other than a dragon?" I ask in answer.

Smaug thinks about that for a long moment, his head lowered and looking troubled. Finally, he raises his head, and he replies, "Only if I could die an ermine, noble foe." With that, he gives me a strange, wistful look, and he turns to leave. He crouches, his wings spread widely, and he roars at the sky as he mounts up into the air.

I watch as Smaug rises, and I slowly sit up as my head clears. Suddenly, I remember the dinner party, and I realize, with some chagrin, that I am very late. Inexcusable.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 01:31:03 pm by Christiaan »

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: An Ermine's Tale
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 11:35:11 am »
That is a nice short story Christiaan.

It would have worked well for a poem with rhyme. Imagine
it as a story in song by a bard in ancient times.

Keep up the good work. :orbunny:

typo edit
« Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 11:41:37 am by Old Rabbit »
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Offline Christiaan

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Re: An Ermine's Tale
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 06:57:21 pm »
That is a nice short story Christiaan.

It would have worked well for a poem with rhyme. Imagine
it as a story in song by a bard in ancient times.

Keep up the good work. :orbunny:

typo edit
Hey, thanks for your feedback. Another guy I showed it to says that it comes across to him sounding like iambic. I trust his opinion, so I'm going to have to do a little work to get real mastery.