Children of Ben Dudlach


Blackbeak caws

Tooth and claw. The feathers fall.

Stabbing black flags in the crisp white snow.

Winter broods. The antlers crowned. The prince sleeps in his blood.

Blackbeak should be sleeping too, but she flies. The heath and bog are slick with ice and all should be awaiting the thaw, but darkness stirs in the mountain’s root: the work of tooth and claw. Fly tender muscle, sinew strong. Fly heart that beats with heat, and veins that flood with reddened life. You have seen the icy organ pumping death, and smelt the salt breath of the inevitable. Now is not a time for napping.

But napping are the children of the beautiful ones. Sleeping deep are the descendents of heroes that once stepped from mountain peak to mountain peak and lived for a death to remember. Their wands are inert. Their blades are buried, or pitted and crumbling. Their valor so much peat smoke drifting over a placid ocean. The songs they sing today are mournful and nostalgic.

The wind whistles her fury as Blackbeak dives.

Alighting on the quiet places where none walk but once in seven, she crosses the threshold. Therein, beyond, and most profoundly here, she tells her tale to the trees who haven’t forgotten how to listen. Be ready. They come. The last. The burdened. The misled. Ascending frozen slopes, and braving the womb, they return at last to the tortured man’s tomb.

Tooth and claw. Blackbeak caws.
The song of spirits and mortals, courage and war.
The song of laws to be broken, of plots in full-bloom.
The song of worlds colliding for victory and gore.
The song of fear in the battle, and frostbitten doom.
She will sing them once more. Once more.



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