Chapter 25

The two exited the chamber and then went down the middle hallway. From the base of the stairs they could hear Tabia fighting the statues. Martell would have liked to go up and see what her methodology was for fighting such beings but the search for Lady Nattan and her men was more pressing based on the message Tabia had given. Down the middle hall they went, it was smooth stone walls all the way. The quakes had not phased the infrastructure here. At the end of the hall they found a room with several doors off of it. They were all open, but Oren and Martell could not see in to any of them from their standpoint. Martell took initiative and headed right in the lead. She looked into the first room. It was of simple furnishings with a bed in one corner and a table next to the bed. There were no windows and if the door had been shut the only way light would enter was a small window in the door. Oren followed behind Martell; as she was checking out the room, he took a defensive stance so as they could not be sneaked up on.
They searched three rooms this way till they got to a door that had a stairwell further down. A quick check of the other rooms confirmed no one else was in the area and the only place to go was down the stairs. The two debated on whether to proceed. They checked around for any marker as to what was further down, but to no avail.
The two made their way cautiously down to the next floor, uncertain as to what to expect. When they reached the bottom of the stairs there was another room with a hallway leading out of it. Oren motioned quietly to Martell that he heard noises down the hall. It sounded like someone was moving chains. Whoever was working ahead let out an “ouch” before the chains continued to move. Oren and Martell quietly moved down the hall closer, they left their torches in the room so as to not be seen.
When they got close enough, it became clear it was Katsutaka and the other guard. They had broken through a couple locks and were now undoing chains that crossed over a door. “Lady Nattan, we will have you out shortly. We just need to remove one more barrier on the door.”
“Thank you”, said a voice unlike anyone Oren or Martell had heard before. “You shall be rewarded for your efforts.”
Oren and Martell ran in weapons drawn. Katsutaka drew his sword, “Get our Lady free. I will hold these two.” Katsutaka thrusted his sword at Oren, he parried the blow, but not before it nicked him on the arm.
Martell lunged at the opening only to strike air as Katsutaka sidestepped her. He brought his sword back for another assault on Oren. Oren parried again with his staff and countered hitting Katsutaka’s shin. Martell ceased her assault on Katsutaka and moved past him to prevent his colleague from opening the last lock.
Oren continued his assault on Katsutaka, pivoting his staff in his hands to land a strike on the jaw and then a blow on his gut on the opposite side.
Martell slashed at the fingers that were prying at the lock. The man withdrew them before she could cut him. He drew out his sword and prepared for her next slash.
The door shook as Lady Nattan pounded on it. Martell then heard one of the words she had heard up at the battle near the altars. She jumped back in time as the door shattered and wood and stone went flying everywhere. Lady Nattan’s allies got hurt just as badly as Oren and Martell. It was mostly scratches and cuts. More than likely there were a few bruises and splinters that would not be felt till later.
When the debris cleared out a woman was left there. She looked to be about forty, and was wearing a dress. She had shoulder length light red hair and glowing copper eyes. “Enough of this fighting,” She spoke. “I am going to walk out of here and Oren you and your friend are going to let me and my associates leave. “ She was very intense, as if focusing on something as she spoke this.
“I will not yield to you Nattan, nor will she,” Oren motioned to Martell. “You are not to leave this room.”
“Curious, Oren.” Lady Nattan seemed vexed, as if something was not happening the way she thought it should. “If you do not bend to my will then I shall need to remove you as a problem.” She pulled out two balls and tossed them at Oren and Martell. She uttered a different word than they had heard before. The balls expanded into lightning emitting spheres.
Oren, almost reflexively, called on spirits to shield himself, when he saw the spheres come out. With the speed they answered his call; he also attempted to protect Martell from the impending assault. Oren’s quick move spared him and Martell the shock that would have followed. Instead they dissipated with loud thunder following, but no harm to the two of them.
“Well, are we not full of tricks Oren?” Lady Nattan mused, slightly annoyed. “You may not be able to get out of this one.” She tossed another ball, into the air above her this time. He heard her mutter a new phrase. And with that all went dark, followed by a resounding slamming of doors shut.
When Oren could see again, he was in a small room with Martell. There was a vent in the door where he could see a small flicker of a flame dancing on a torch.
“You will not be a bother to me in there.” Lady Nattan’s voice could be heard. “You will enjoy the same fate my captors gave to when they realized I would not bend to their will. The chains across the cell door each ward against a different enchantment. If I was unable to break out without them being removed by someone else, neither will you. It took me five hundred years till I found someone willing. You will wait much longer since no one even knows you are here.” With that the torchlight went out. Oren could hear talk coming from down the hall. “Katsutaka you did well in serving me. This will eventually be yours, but we have one last place to go. Besides, what good is a keep like this if there is no garrison to staff it and no farmers to feed it.” Darkness settled in. Martell and Oren sat in it thinking, locked away.
“Martell?”
“Yes Oren?”
“Do you know any way out of here?”
“Nope, you got any ideas?”
“One.”
“That is enough if it is the right one.”
“How long until they will have left Erridda?”
“Couple of hours…?”
“Okay, we can talk about it then.”
“Think they will be back?”
“No, worried we may have to fight them again is all.”
“So sit in the dark till then?”
“Yes.”
“Oh.”

Chapter 24

Oren looked across the room in the poor lighting. He had successfully slipped under the door, and no one was in pursuit yet. Martell had done her part in directing everyone over at the side of the compound furthest from where he was. He had gotten from the door to a turn in the hall way and up a flight of stairs with no issue. But he needed something more than his freedom to help his friends. He couldn’t chance a look out any of the windows as someone may still see him. Oren could hear the loud voice of Lady Nattan down in the courtyard and realized Martell was about to open the door he had disappeared through. He covered the sound of opening this chamber door with the sound Martell made opening the door below.
Relying on what he could recall of Tabia’s description of the place, Oren found the armory. There were walls lined with sparsely stocked racks of weapons. He was left to imagine how formidable an armory it had been when the fort had been in use. Oren first found a bow and after a few pulls on its string determined it was still in working order. He wondered if the wood shafts of the nearby arrows were as well preserved as the wood in the doors. It was hard to tell in this light and with as few as he found he was reluctant to bend the shafts and see. At worst they could serve as a distraction. There were a few swords in the room, but he could not tell if they were still serviceable, the metal still glistened when the light hit, but he was not certain of the edge on them. He took a sword, the bow, and arrows. He gave one last look around the room in search of anything that was useable he may have overlooked, but found nothing.
Oren left the room pondering his next move. He moved over to a window where he heard Martell asking for Tabia to come read something on a door. That did not sound good. It was now Oren had another idea. He concentrated on a spirit to send a message to his staff. He wondered if the spirits there could transport his staff to him the same way he had traveled past the door. It was worth a shot, and the message should go faster this time as he knew the destination he was sending it. He sat focusing, repeating the message and sent the spirit off.
He looked at the arrows in the better light of the hallway and saw that they were still sound. Perhaps something with the wards preserved things in Erridda better than the outside world. Oren’s experience with a bow was limited to hunting deer and elk. His success then had only been when he had time to focus and aim slowly. He finally snuck a look out the window and saw the layout of the courtyard. There were around ten guards along with Tabia, Martell, and Lady Nattan in the courtyard. From the window his best view was of two men on the second floor on the ramparts. Thinking back to his hunting, he thought he may be able to get two arrows off before he was done. That would hardly be enough to help out his friends.
Martell and Tabia stood close to the door weighing the options before them. Open the door and face whatever is on the other side or do nothing and be killed by Lady Nattan and her forces.
“Come now ladies, we do not have forever. You can either open up the door or my archers can kill you. I have shown much patience till now. Do not press me to decide for you.” Lady Nattan’s voice was showing her agitation with waiting.
“Martell, let me handle opening. You go wait a distance away from the doors. I do not know what repercussions they have for breaking the seal on the door.” Tabia said calmly. “You stand a better chance of making it out of this place than I and you need not be hindered by what comes from it.”
Martell thought briefly of protesting but knew it useless. “Lady Nattan, she will open this door. I am going to stand out of the way.” Martell made her way to a corner. She looked up and saw what she thought was Oren peeking out the window from the second floor.
Tabia started chanting in a low voice as Martell walked away. She bowed her head and reached her hand up to break the door’s seal. As she lifted the paper away from the door there was a small quake in the ground. The staleness of the air started to dissipate. She used the paper as leverage to lift the wax off the door. As a gap between the wax and the wood formed, Martell felt the last of the ringing in her ears leave. Tabia finished removing the seal from the door and there was another shaking in the ground.
“Move it along dear, you may be enjoying the slow dramatic method, but I want inside this place now.” Lady Nattan’s voice echoed off the stone walls.
Tabia, placed the seal in one of the folds of her robes, and then went back to the door. She continued her chanting. Martell could tell she was asking for something from Varelle, but could not make out the words. Tabia finished her chants, looked at the door and pushed it open.
Upon opening the door fog poured out, covering from the ground up to a foot tall. Tabia stood there watching it slide past her. Martell took a defensive stance, unsure of what was about to happen. Several of the guards either retreated back toward the entrance or up the stairs on either side of the courtyard. Lady Nattan moved at a speed far faster than one of her age. She ran past Tabia and into the keep with Katsutaka and two other guards close behind. Oren watched this unfold from his vantage point up.
Oren let an arrow fly his intent to hit Lady Nattan, but he had underestimated her speed and hit one of the guards in tow. The arrow pierced through the joint in his armor at the back of the knee and he fell to the ground. Martell ran over to Tabia and pulled her through the doors. She stood there debating her next move when the doors to the courtyard closed keeping them out of the courtyard.
Oren saw as the doors closed on all sides of the courtyard. He would have to circle the perimeter to get to Martell. He continued watching as the fog that had entered the courtyard lingered near several of the statues and they slowly started to animate. Oren pulled away from the window hoping the beasts below did not notice him. He heard the sound of arrows fly and screams as he heard stone hit metal. Oren tried to put the cries of pain out of his mind as he got ready to move. He had missed that his staff was now next to him waiting to serve.
Oren made his way down the hall sneaking past the windows, trying not to alert the stone creatures of his presence. From what he could overhear, Lady Nattan’s men had taken down at least one of the creatures. Swords seemed useless against the behemoths, unless, like some of the arrows, they were able to hit in the eyes. In general, as he scampered around the corner to the side of the compound, it did not sound like Lady Nattan’s troops were faring well.
Oren continued along the hallway, it was slower going as he squatted past the windows. He was about three quarters of the way down the hall when he heard the wall crack and the building shake slightly behind him. Oren prepared to defend himself, but continued on not looking out to see what had caused the damage. As he turned the final corner, he could hear the noise fading. It sounded like the stone beasts had won the battle. He was almost to the stairs when he saw Martell and Tabia. The two were huddled low and slowly were moving from the stairs, hiding below the windows. Martell grinned, speechless at seeing Oren alive and well.
The three remained quiet while Martell snuck a look over the wall. It looked like there were two of Nattan’s men alive on the wall furthest from where they huddled. For some reason the stone creatures had decided not to attack them. The creatures, which numbered at eight that were moving, were headed to the door that Martell and Tabia had gone through. One of them, a winged biped, was raising its arms to hit at the door. The door shook and its hinges creaked but held fast.
Oren whispered, “Where is Lady Nattan?”
“She went downstairs, looked like she knew her way around here,” replied Tabia.
“Should we go after her?” asked Martell.
“I think so, if this is what was set up for protection of this place, clearly something is stored here that should not come back out.” Oren theorized.
“Agreed,” commented Tabia, “The seal you had me remove was powerful. I think there may have been things more powerful than the statues sealed behind the doors. I think that is what Lady Nattan was after. By the way Oren, how did you get your staff?”
“That will have to wait till we are out of harm’s way and can talk.”
They went back down stairs in pursuit of Lady Nattan. As they passed by the door to the courtyard, they could hear the creatures pounding at them. The doors would eventually give way to the constant assault; it was just a question of when they would break. The persistent banging was unsettling and they were pleased with how quickly they found the stairs and could get away from it.
Tabia directed them to a cabinet at the top of the stairs. Inside was flint and steel, just what she needed for the lantern she had managed to keep the guards from taking from her. After a few attempts she lit it, finally giving them some light. The trio descended the stairs single file with Oren in the lead, Tabia in the middle with the light and Martell bring up the rear. The stairway spiraled down to the next floor, where it opened into a foyer with three hallways leading off. Each of the hallways was rather clean for having had no one in them for some hundreds of years. The stone archways over each were in spectacular condition as if the ground itself had done no shifting. One may have expected signs of rodents or other vermin, but they would have been disappointed in this place.
They stood listening if they could determine the hall that Lady Nattan had gone down. The cleanliness of it all also meant that there was no dust down here to track movement in. Martell looked at the walls to see if she noticed any scraping along them. Nothing made its presence known to them. Tabia tried to think back to the layout and recall if she knew what was down here. She knew a prison was down here as well as altars to the four gods.
The ground shook again.
“Let’s first go this way,” Tabia whispered. “I think I know where she may be.”
They walked briskly down the hallway to the left. The hall widened slightly as they went further down. There were doors off to the left and right. All of them were still closed; passing by Oren checked the handle on two of them, both were locked.
They arrived in a room with a tall vaulted ceiling. The walls were decorated in two motifs. Near one end, it was filled with trees and plants and an altar; the other side was decorated with very geometric patterns behind sparrows and had another altar opposite the room from the first. The patterns met at a line of blank stone halfway through the room. The room was empty other than two altars, one on each side.
On one altar, stood a statue was of a woman in full armor standing two feet tall. She had a shield the full length of her body in her right hand and a halberd in the left. The shield had on it an ash tree, similar to the logo on Tabia’s robes, and a young oak. Her stance was that of someone holding their opponent at bay, legs apart and the halberd blade forward. Martell noticed it was affixed to the altar in a wax similar to the seal on the outside door. Again there was a paper attached. Tabia translated “Guardians arise with broken seals.”
On the other altar was a statue of a lithe man. He had on no armor and wielded a rapier in one hand and a dagger in the other. He was posed as if he just parried something with the dagger and was thrusting at a second opponent with the sword. He had three sparrows in a column down his shirt. Like the first statue this one was held in place with a wax seal. The paper here read “We stand against Casapan.”
The ground quaked yet again; dirt and rock fell from the ceiling. “That is another of the seals broken,” surmised Tabia. “They will come here next; we must make a stand against them. Whatever was locked away here should not be released.”
“Do you have any idea who or what was put here Tabia?” Martell asked.
“No, but the last time the four priests sealed something of this nature away it was an enchanter. He had gone corrupt with power, but his name eludes me right now. He was held in a similar prison, sealed by the four priests. He died in the cell and the seals were removed after his death confirmed. The fifth one, the one in the outside doors, I do not know what that means.”
Tabia dimmed the light, hiding it in a corner. Oren and Martell waited on either side of the door way, waiting for their adversaries to approach.
Footsteps were the first sign that someone was coming, followed by a hint of light from their torches. Then was the voices, they were the whispers of two men talking. As they got closer Oren could tell it was a disagreement between the two.
“I don’t see why we didn’t wait for the others to follow with us.”
“When she talked to us privately she said we would need to move fast. If no one else caught on that it was time to move then they are left out. Lady Nattan is a good leader and rewards well if you follow orders.” The second voice was Katsutaka.
“I understand that, but why bring our entire group only to ditch them to face those beasts in the courtyard?”
“Everyone here had been at Scoria when we breached that hold. They knew the risk, if they were not ready to face death as an outcome they should have stayed home…” Katsutaka had just walked by Oren and received a blow to the back of his head.
The other one gasped as he felt Martell’s dagger at his throat. “What are you hear for?” she whispered.
“To help Lady Nattan rebuild.”
“Rebuild what?” Martell turned the blade so he could feel more metal of the dagger pressed against his throat. The blade now angled at the back of his jaw.
“The Drémore Empire and the Wolves. She will bring it all back.”
“What do you mean bring it back? There is nothing to restore.”
“So say those who subjugated these lands. Drémore preserved it all before losing control. Casapan left it all for those who knew what passed.”
“Shut up…you idiot,” Katsutaka was coming to. “Shut up, they are not to be trusted. Lady Nattan warned us about talking of things to them… “He then moaned in pain as Oren pushed down on the developing bruise on the back of Katsutaka’s head.
“Keep talking, or not. Your lady knows we have you or she is deaf.” Martell chided.
“There are those who know their lineage. Know that they have been relegated to much simpler lives than what they were due after generations of faithful service. Katsutaka’s family was granted lordship of these lands, but the Drémore kingdom was at war with Iseb. He and his kin were robbed of this and its future. Lady Nattan has promised to restore him to his rightful seat.”
“Where did you find out this information, from the Lady herself?”
“No it is in the records of these old strongholds. That is what she is after here. What is ever sealed inside is of no consequence to her.”
“Shut up,” Katsutaka blurted out. “Are you really going to keep talking your head off? They will kill us both once they have everything they need.”
There was a shattering as the statue on the altar to Varelle fell to the ground. Everyone looked over to see Lady Nattan headed over to the other statue. It was only Tabia that saw the wisps of smoke leave the statue. She felt immobilized and speechless as they came at her. The wisps reached her, one entering her mouth, another wrapping around her body, a third forming a wall in front of her and the fourth elongating into a large pole.
Lady Nattan was almost to the statue when a voice cut through the air. “Trespasser!” It was a deep female voice, though it emanated from where Tabia had stood, it was not hers. “You defile the altar of Varelle and her equals.” The cover on the lantern was knocked over as what lurked in the shadows moved. The light revealed something resembling the statue from the altar, but was now larger. It was walking toward Lady Nattan. Tabia was not seen anywhere.
Lady Nattan threw a ball at the walking figure, upon release she uttered a single word and it burst into flame. Oren and Martell started to sweat from the heat it expressed. Her opponent blocked with its shield and the ball burst pushing back the arm slightly, but the figure did not stop its progress toward Lady Nattan.
Lady Nattan took out a knife and scrapped at the paper attached to the seal while chanting. To Martell, it sounded something like what Tabia had been saying outside when she removed that seal. The difference was Lady Nattan was destroying the paper whereas Tabia had preserved it. Lady Nattan took out another sphere and threw it at her opponent, this time uttering a two word phrase. The ball morphed into a liquid and then froze from the ceiling to the ground. She then leaned in and started to scratch away at the wax under the statue.
It stopped the progress but only briefly as the ice shattered from the force exerted against it. This was followed by a lunge with the halberd pushing just within reach of Lady Nattan. Lady Nattan well aware of the weapon, rolled across the altar out of the way. She was now away from the altar and statue. She pulled out a third ball and this time threw to hit the statue. Oren and Martell did not hear the command uttered this time, but the ball changed to a large boulder. The statue shattered upon impact.
Engrossed in the activity, Oren missed that Katsutaka was up and running away until he heard a stumbling down the hall way. As the earth shook, he was certain Katsutaka was not fairing any better than those in the room. Everyone was trying to maintain their balance. This time was far worse than the previous ones. The other guard took this moment to run off as well. Martell looked at running after him but did not have a light source to take as their torches had gone out.
The armor on Lady Nattan’s opponent started to shrink to a normal human size. Having maintained its bearings through the shaking it now within reach of her and poked diagonally down at her. It pushed its blade deep into her torso. Rather than blood, a dark tar like substance started to spill out. The façade dropped away and what was left looked like a something crafted from dirt.
The person in armor came over to Oren and Martell and lifted off its helmet. It looked like Tabia, but something was off. “Varelle has called me to another purpose.” The voice sounded right. The two were uncertain as to how to react. “She has released me from my vows and ordered my return to Abbysta. You will be able to handle what lies ahead without me. They did not foresee things going this far. They can only offer that that was not Lady Nattan and she is still here and a problem. I will clear the courtyard for your departure; Varelle has spoken mercy on the remaining people outside, if they still live.”
Tabia relit the torches for them and then exited the room before either could get a word in to question Tabia’s choice. They quickly scouted the room for anything salvageable. There were fragments of the statues and other bits of stone but nothing else. After searching the body left behind, they found a couple more spheres. Oren slipped one of the spheres into his pocket; his intent was to ask his mother if she knew what they were.

Chapter 23

Martell feigned sadness; she had an idea of what happened, but no proof. “May I at least have one of my swords? If there is anything lurking behind one of these doors I would like to stand a chance with it.”
“Oh very well, you look so sad darling. I know you could do harm to us with it, but that face and your teary eyes just cut me to the quick. So you may have one, but do not be daft about it. If I or any of my men see you raise it near us you will have more arrows in you than a porcupine has quills.” She motioned to one of the people to fetch her short sword. “Into the courtyard with you dear, we will toss it to you. Some nice distance so you may not be inclined to turn upon us in a rapid fashion.”
Martell chose to go to the path lined with canines. The realism of the carving was impressive and accurate as far as she could tell from the creatures she had encountered. She paused briefly at one that was the size of a pony, hunched over like an ape. She would have sworn its eyes followed her as she went to the door. When she looked again and nothing was different or out of place. At the door, she examined briefly if there was anything out of the ordinary to see. Nothing popped out at her and she reached down to open it.
The door swung open easily, there was a hallway going each direction with rooms leading off of it. The lighting was quite poor as little natural light made its way in. “It is open, and I am still alive,” She called back.
Lady Nattan and her men started to make their way into the courtyard. They looked around; a few headed up to the second floor and took position, training arrows downward at Martell.
“Good work, nice and simple. You can move to the next door now, you can choose again. This is getting to be fun. You know dear, a few of the men are taking bets on what the odds are you will safely open two doors here. Let us find out who amongst them has the winning bet.” Lady Nattan’s voice crackled with delight.
Martell went over to the second door. She bypassed the walkway through the statues and walked the perimeter of the courtyard. At this door, she saw it was locked with a seal of wax and an emblem of a manticore on it. Hanging down from the seal was a sheet of paper tacked across the door opening. The writing was not any language she had run across. Martell walked on after seeing that. She was going to deal with the other door first.
She stood at the third door and studied it. She could see no sign that it had even been moved by Oren. It was a good trick if he was now somewhere safe. Hopefully, he was either getting help or had a plan to save her and Tabia. She paused as she saw what looked like a wire going from the door, running back into the courtyard. She followed the taut line back down the pathway; it wrapped back up the far side of the courtyard to a downspout. She motioned for the people to clear out of the way, and then cut the wire. After hearing a feint series of clicks, three arrows shot from the wall opposite hitting the door followed by three more. Everyone waited another couple of minutes before moving. Martel felt confident that trap had been disarmed.
“Impressive work dear. You care to open the door now?” Lady Nattan teased.
Martell glared, it was far from hard work. She went over to the door and flung it open. It was a hallway similar to the other side and just as dark. The only difference was she saw that the floor had recently been walked upon. She quickly pulled back on the door to stir up more dust and at least hide the footsteps to anyone else who may peer inside.
“I will open the third door next,” Martell said. “However, I need her,” she pointed at Tabia, “to see if she can read something on the door before I do. There is a something written there and she may know what it is.”
“Very well, darling. It is the least I can do before I let my men take care of you. I shall think of it as a last request.” Lady Nattan stated, and then turned to Tabia, “Go, be close to your friend one last time.”
Tabia came over to where Martell was. As she got closer she saw what Martell was looking at. Tabia looked at the paper and immediately was able to read it. She whispered to Martell “Life for Drémore, Break the seal, Death to its enemies.” Tabia paused, “There is something bad locked up hear. Not just the wards and traps like Abbysta. These types of seals were written so that those who read the language knew not to open the door. The only people that would open them was either ignorant of the language or wishing death upon themselves. Someone from Drémore would know not to open because of the Manticore.”
“Well, we have to open it, any suggestions Tabia?”

Growth

planted with a future hope
through soil tendrils grope
In suburban cold it crawls
toward waiting winter squalls
peaking through the ground
in quiet nighttime sound
the first taste of morning light
energizes for the fight
comfort in warmth of spring
building strength for to sing
among so many kin
each fight without a din
wars to live each make
seeking out ground to take
pushing higher in the air
till bursting with color flair
a buffet of powder delight
to those in daily, darty flight
each in kind a need is met
till the hunger is now set
late summer starts the fade
leaves and petals then cascade
storing up for future years
off go children with no tears
showy fading as time goes by
quietly into the autumn nigh
next year to be reborn again
down in the valley glen

A moment

The day breaks before me
Blank pages to fill with melody
Yet I sit in quiet solace
Of yesterday’s that befall us

Something of great umbrage
Weighs in on my knowledge
Of action not taken for change
To venture outside is not so strange

And here I sit another day
Toiling in time for my pay
While news makes one weep
For loss of what can not keep

There is still time to save
What is not lost in our wave
Overwhelming it may be
Beyond this murk I must see

Though clouds may abound in view
No longer each morn can I stew
Yet what path should I follow
So many lead to world hollow

Do I follow will-o’-wisp light
Or someone else to their plight
I find no one to lead the way
And still here I cannot stay

I stand here on the cusp of sun
Should to it I now run
Yet it not my beacon guide
And again I must soon decide

Is it on I go another round
Planted firmly to the ground
Careful in my choices made
As another hour has decayed