Before the headless traitor's bodies could hit the floor
Warriors on both sides of the long table kicking out their stools
Behind them were on their feet
No one but the serving boy had noticed the door open
At the far end of the meeting hall a cloaked stranger blew in
Like a summer's breeze on a stagnant shore
Men were yelling at Aethelrodmyd
Language in gutteral grunts and howls not far above the nature
In which they all lived
The king's champion, the only one seated, drained his mead goblet
Somewhere out in the damp rainy heath sat a salamander on one of the
Few solid spots
King Mydaefandynm pounded the table for silence and explained
Aethelrodmyd's role in trapping the traitors and claiming their heads
For the king
"Haroo!" howled the harriers when the tale had been spun for them
All sat to dine again
The boy still stared at the stranger in the multi-colored cloak
In a flaring light of the far brazier he caught the king's eye
As servers cleared the heads and bodies of the traitors
And brought more meat to the table
"What means of a man are you to come to our feasting?"
All silenced at the king's questioning
"I beg your audience, great guests and master of the realm"
He drew out a large crystal that shone with inner light
All eyes were trapped in its wonderment
He threw it on the table and it shattered into as many pieces as were
Each man had a cut stone in front of them
"Like so many pieces as before you, all can shine better as one"
But no one paid attention to those words
Each picked up the piece of stone before them and stole it away
Into their purses
"Ah, like stands is each man, but together you can bind as rope"
Only the boy heard all of the words
And drew to the man as he handed him a clear but rose globe
And winked as if he knew
"Are you a wizard come to ensure our victory on the field?"
Mydaefandynm waved the stranger forward to a seat near him
"Battles be, but like the moor will turn it all to peat"
Aethelrodmyd reached back for his sword eying distrust
The silent giant stood still
"Be still all who sup with Mydaefandynm, I ask for passage"
"Can you see tomorrow and what the battle brings?"
"Aye, nothing but death. No knowledge there."