Arleth II

In dirt, drawn a repetitious circle wide
Around hill past glen, where it subside
“It is there”, with stick point
Says Crevan, leader they’d anoint
Vargus beams and grins teeth yellow
Hoping to be rich soon with his fellows
Anita declines to be optimistic
Spins dust devils in language cryptic
Yvette cracks whip drawing attention
To road ahead and break of tension
Melrakki cleared the quintet’s tracks
Tidy up when attaching horses’ packs

Five united, off they ride to distant lair
Each with own reason and care
Fame and treasure each to claim
From Arleth’s hoard after he maim
Crevan the dwarf serious and wise
Anita the enchantress full of surprise
Vargus the mercenary looking to scheme
Yvette the archer formed the team
Melrakki the elder, found on the way
Innocent in looks, scouts ahead each day

They set out at each dawn’s light
To escape viscount’s curious sight
To the east, treading miles a day
Past lands of rule where judgement lay
Anita dissuades bandits’ wrath
While Crevan plots the quickest path
Melrakki, takes care of each repast
Yvette and Vargus guard the nest
For a fortnight they keep this pace
No knowing others are in the race

Inn of the Glen is where competition met
Around table as they talked of traps set
Curious bard sung and Inn’s patrons regaled
When Crevan’s wit he assailed
Entertainer’s flawed slaying story
Of southern giant’s reigning gory
For Crevan’s brother who fought
And giant’s downfall he brought
Bard said he mistaken with ale
Then slipped, and let Arleth plan sail
For bard was with band of brigand
And dragon’s demise quickened

The quintet said nary a plan word
Certain that such mention absurd
Of plans to release lands from dragon’s hold
And to claim her precious gold
When bard asked of travels
Vargus replied “We mercenary rabble
Our fate is where gold can avail
To a new source we sail.
Orchette company, out east elite
The risk is high, and pay is sweet”

Bard looked out window to moon lit sky
In thought till content in reply
Offered advice less to entreat
“Avoid the east and defeat
Go South to Viscount manor
Join under illustrious banner
Pay is decent under shire reeve
Help put an end to bandit and thieve”

Neither advice to give or take
Crevan thanked bard for effort make
In early quiet of morrow before dawn
Quintet snuck out and journeyed on
Haste was not their only tool
Boastful bard and brigand all soon be fool
Yvette made quiet quick work
Releasing stabled horses into the murk
Anita made weather cover trace
As quintet in darkness off did race

To Arleth they went to tempt fate
It a life ahead where all things were great
In distant sky broodlings fly
Melrakki says leave them to I
“This is where we shall split way
Please, set aside my share of pay
My actions will attract them North
Once they no longer circle, journey forth”

Melrakki, dug through his kit
Reached in and came out with it
A staff or branch topped with rag
Off on horse and raised like flag
Over next hill it burst in flame green
The dragon spawn had surely seen
Chase they started as Melrakki left sight
Onward went the four to Arleth fight

In day that followed landscape faded
Singed grass gave way to rocks graded
A few trees and grass remained
Marking fool’s error, bloodstained
Scavengers tested quartet’s might
Quick to scurry at their will to fight

On moon setting Crevan lead the way
Hillside cave of lair where Arleth lay
Ground shook under goliath beast
Sniffing morsels four on which to feast
Anita let fly from hand
Lightning bolt to protect the band
Arleth in defense folded wing
Deflecting bolt without a sting
Then cocked headed Arleth
Let out counter flame breath

Yvette dodged Arleth snort
And let fly arrow retort
Vargus ran under heated air
Charging with pike flair
Crevan in pool behind rock shield
Biding time before flame yield
Anita basked in flames heat
Smiling untouched after its retreat

Arleth screeched in anger
Stunning the quartet in her hanger
She lunged forward to take flight
Crevan took in the wonderous sight
In each her back claws
A chest and an egg each he saw
The other three still with ears ringing
Were nicked with the rock wind flinging
And like that Arleth had fled
Leaving no one dead
Into her lair they went to plunder
Her treasures theirs to asunder
Melrakki returned in the dark
Bringing to the four a spark
Driving horses and cart
To load quickly then depart
“Be quick with your hand
Soon will arrive Bard and Brigand.
They hunger for a fight
And I am spent like daylight”

Crevan and Anita smiled
As Vargus and Yvette toiled
With last bits of coin and gold
Not worried what the dark hold
Soon Melrakki moved the cart
Anita now to do her last part
After slow chants and motion
Gold now looked like wares and potion
Melrakki headed south with whiskey in cup
Anita headed east covering trail up
Vargus and Crevan went west
Yvette went north for a rest

In two week time, at Harcourt fair
The public house of Smithy Bear
Vargus and Melrakki reclined ale
Talking with Anita about past tale
Yvette asleep, tired of waiting for word
From Crevan out talking with steward
The Spira Keep was up for taking
King exchanging gold for war making
A risky negotiation for Crevan to make
But this time no flame bath to take.

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