(Fantasy) Fifth Excerpt from “Cantar del Primer Hijo”

Continuing Cantar I of the epic poem of Cantar del Primer Hijo, (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4) the following lines describe the first major battle against a large demon with three heads. The significance of the battle is multiplied by the fact that the First Son, the leader of the band, was absent from the camp when the demon attacked.

Cantar del Primer Hijo

Lady Gailavira ushered the youths close by her side
Yet they knew in this place there was nowhere safely to hide.
Geilamir stood proudly between Ervig and Isidore
While sentinel searching the field were Euric and Bulgar.
With eyes like eagles and arrows at the ready, they stood
Two bowmen whose skill was as good as their long brotherhood.
And covering their flanks were strong Fridok and Alaric
Swords drawn in close to their bodies, like a spent candle’s wick.

Yet not one was prepared for the sight of that new terror,
A hesitation in awe of its size was their error.
For not two eyes did it have, nay, it had four more below,
Two other faces from the abomination did show.
Geilamir cursed into the wind that blew fiercely and fast
Which blinded the vision of the archers with a strong blast.
With a swing of its tail, it took Ervig down to the ground,
Leaping over Isidore’s spear, with one terrible bound.

A sweep of its tail took the light from the campfire’s blaze out,
The embers scattered across the ground caused Fridok to shout,
For coals brought back memories of his father’s punishment;
For stealing bread for his children, he was fed to the flint.
So Fridok was first to strike at the demon as it passed
Though he struck it true, the creature’s great force him far surpassed.
With a rake of its claw and a wail of anger, it struck
And the first one to fall in battle that night was Fridok.

As the demon exposed its front to the back of the camp,
The embers from the fire so slightly provided a lamp,
Enough to be seen well by the men whose weapons were trained
At the creature with arrows tipped with the power of bane.
Two shots were fired by the bowmen at nearly the same time,
Into each minor head, the arrows were lodged with a chime
And the demon reared back in shock at the loss of its heads.
Though the smaller heads spasmed, the demon was far from dead.

It leapt at the bowmen, who couldn’t prepare for the blows.
The demon thrashed at them, tossing them along with their bows.
And then in its rage, it set its eyes on the young children,
Screeching and spitting and cradling its slain heads in its hands.
And seeing its pain, Gailavira took pity on it,
Even still, she stood firmly, her feet planted in the grit.
And as the creature charged forward, she prepared for the dance
But from the side came el Hijo, spearing it with his lance.

Cantar I – Fanfare of the Son (excerpt)

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