The Centre of the Underworld

From under-fortress ancient
And spawning pit yet young,
From ship upon a sunken sea
And hollow crypt, they come:

The orc before a surface door,
The elf of deep below,
The thing erased from ancient lore
Are all compelled to go.

Through secret passage shallow
Or smoky fissure deep,
Dwarf-road long in ruins,
Or calcite cave, they creep.

An open cavern mile.
A dome of cut black stone.
A sea of blood-red tile.
A ready, leaden throne.

Once, there had never been a silver sea,
No empire of heroes, nor a mage;
No reigning kings nor rogues of fantasy.
Such things lived in the screen or on the stage.

Then came the day when demon knights arose,
And beasts of mythic might came forth to feed.
Who else but legends could such things oppose?
We learned the heroes' arts, and claimed their creed:

"The higher heights and deeper depths to plumb;
Of arts arcane and engines strange to learn;
To do the deeds that leave mundanes struck dumb;
To live a shorter, but more worthy term."

The legends false and ancient fade away,
Now heroes true and living rule the day.

The Deeper Scar

The end drew nigh, and evil trod the land,
In form of fleshless bones, with gaze of fire,
With blood-red rats, that ranged at their command,
And gnawed strong bricks to sand, to serve their ire.

Who held against the horde was honoured high;
One spoke not such a name, but sang of hope.
For most, to meet the rats meant flee, or die,
And few could run to match the bone-beasts' lope.

In time, the most grew few and heroes died,
Til evil's foes were bones, or made of bone.
The sole survivors crossed the seas, and cried
Despair on each dry continent of stone.

By means most grim, they lived past evil's fall,
Then fell in lands restored, on gallows tall.

The Overlooked

This is the beast that lurks within your dreams,
In every corner. Coiled, silent. Still.
It once took lives but now has had its fill
Of things that fade. It whets a blade and schemes.

In tubes and crevices its seeds are found:
These darkened dots we spot, and hoard, and weigh;
Keep in accounts with no intent to pay,
And seal in vaults. Such faults are fertile ground.

But we are safe, and what is sealed, is sealed.
We need not taste the things we would not be.
Made free of faults, our world is safely free,
Our, victory. The beast has left the field.

The world belongs to stone and tree and wave,
Its calm perfection ready for the grave.

The Other Quest

A werewolf, more a monster than a man,
A shade who tries to hide a shadowed past,
A gorgon, cursed to frighten all she can,
A dryad, far from home and fading fast.

Four monsters met on distant, misty moors;
Were promised, by a king with crown of bones
They'd each receive what each one most adores,
If they could just retrieve three sacred stones.

An offer took, by team beset by need;
A trip through peril, onto sacred ground;
A final fight, with foe they ought to heed.
A lethal blow!

                       Prize won, they turn around,
Return and earn gifts fit to save their souls —
Then realise why the doomsday thunder rolls.


There's nothing strong enough to keep you chained,
Nor locks to hold you out, or keep you in.
Your might grew greater as my allies' waned.
We fight once more, and you will surely win.

You have not taken up my offered words.
It pains me that you won't choose to atone.
But in your greed you guzzle meat by herds;
Your choice would be a future filled with bone.

I am not you, to kill you like a cow;
I'll leave your meat uncut, your skin unflayed.
I'd lift no blade if less could stop you now;
But for survival, guilt is fair in trade.

Thus I —
              I cannot strike the fatal blow.
Promise me change, or anything, but go!

Fear Not!

In cities floating free upon the seas;
In ruins, long abandoned to the crows;
Amongst the elves, who live atop the trees;
I've fought the monsters every culture knows.

My mission stands: to slay each thing of fear,
That even fear itself must learn to die.
To truly say, "There are no monsters here."
If children can demand that, so will I.

I've wandered far beyond familiar lands;
Against my foes diverse, I've strived and won.
There's blood of every colour on my hands,
And one last bullet ready for my gun.

In slaying fears, I've earned a fearsome name;
One final death will end that final shame.