A Sunken Quest
The icy funnel dropped them shivering,
disheveled and huddled on a tiled floor
spidered by cracks ‘neath a chandelier’s swing.
Ectoplasm draped rusted curves, where poor
disemboweled ghosts twitched and moaned with each
swing of that denuded chandelier; pearls
and jewels long since thieved lay in sacks in reach
of a serrated hole that a large thing hurled
itself through; let it not return that soon.
One glance round that frigid chamber left no
doubt that finding the babe would take a boon.
None looked forthcoming as Hen rose to go.
The search must begin somewhere and that hall
promised nothing untoward would befall.
~ ~ ~
“Why not that way?” Anasril asked, pointing
to a hallway above whose lintel rests
a zodiac; its wheel’s carved so leading
the charge are goats ‘stead of rams abreast.
Debating the way as time presses seems
folly; with a shrug, Hen heads down that hall
which links, through a hole in a wall to streams
of things once ghostly, now shredded to small
bits that float in the air–a rolling eye
here, lips silently singing there, arms, legs
a sniffing nose, torsos, fly carried by
infernal winds driving piles that once
comprised a soul, to where they could ensconce.
~ ~ ~
Swooping down to escape entanglement,
Chero, his spider clinging to his back,
and Anasril ride on Hen and cement
their trust while that haunted morass attacks
the air above and Hen strides on wond’ring
where to look for that lost babe in a town
that sprawls with each step without answering
his one question–’till a babe’s scream resounds.
Its wail cuts Hen, killing what warmth his heart
still held. Wailing fixed a direction
and sent him careening past sunken parts
of this place walled off by water, magician
created, where desert sand sifts like time
forgotten onto an eggplant dime.
~ ~ ~
Many other strange sights did he run passed
but the baby’s yells prevented dwelling
on such absurdities, save for one last
sight–a chamber pockmarked by holes–dwelling
places for some huge snakes perhaps, but cross
that honeycomb of holes that could swallow
a house whole, he did, hoping not to cross
paths with such a thing; those screams he followed
to court where a parody of a queen
bent o’er a woman-seeming chunk of dark.
Beyond them, the babe cried, then shadows screened
him from view as the Undeem piled like sharks
on fresh meat. With a yell, Hen advanced, sword
out and gleaming, its light drove them backwards.
~ ~ ~
Chero and Anasril flew to the babe
but their small stature could not give much aid.
“He’s unharmed,” Chero said, “I meant the babe.”
“And we won’t be if we don’t find some aid,”
Henneth grunted as the Undeem closed ranks.
They stayed far from his sword’s point but its length
required a two hand grip or it banked
sharply down away from the Undeem horde.
The demon queen laughed. “Your blessed blade has flaws.
Two I number. It needs sunlight, like gourds,
to grow, or holy ground from which to draw.”
She let loose peels of laughter and pointed
to a window that showed that night hadn’t yet fled.
~ ~ ~
The Quest continues tomorrow.
If you liked this, you’ll love:
It’s an enthralling tale told in verse with a quest that centers on finding the heart of this winter season.
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