Beneath the battered shield of the sky
The man sits in a black saddle atop a black horse
His hair long and grey drifting out round his iron helm
Knowing nothing of how he came to be here Only that where he has come to be is nowhere
And where he must go is perhaps near
His beard is the hue of dirty snow
His eyes are eyes that will never thaw
Beneath him the horse does not breathe
Nor does the man and the wind moans hollow
Along the dents of his rusty scaled hauberk
And it is too much to shift about to the approach
Of riders one from his right the other from his left
On dead horses with empty eyes they rein in
Settle silent with strange familiarity
Flanking easy his natural command
Beneath these three the ground is lifeless
And within each ashes are stirred in the dirge
Of grim recollections that slide seeping into regret
But all is past and the horses do not move
And so he glances rightward with jaw clenching
Upon the one-eyed regard he once knew though not well
Answering the wry smile with sudden need So he asks, 'Are they waiting, Corporal?'
'Bequeathed and loose on the dead plain, Sergeant, And was this not what you wanted?'
To that he can but shrug and set gaze upon the other
'I see your garb and know you, sir, yet do not.'
Black beard and visage dark, a brow like cracked basalt
A man heavy in armour few could stand in
And he meets the observance with a grimace
'Then know, if you will, Brukhalian of the Grey Swords.'
Beneath these three thunder rides the unproven earth
Nothing sudden but growing like an awakening heart
And the echoes roll down from the shield overhead
As iron reverberates the charge of what must be
'So once more, the Bridgeburners march to war.'
To which Brukhalian adds, 'Too the Grey Swords who fell
And this you call Corporal was reborn only to die,
A new bridge forged between you and me, good sir.'
They turn then on their unbreathing mounts
To review the ranks arrayed in grainy mass on the plain
Onward to war from where and what they had once been
When all that was known is all that one knows again
And in this place the heather never blooms
The blood to be spilled never spills and never flows
Iskar Jarak, Bird That Steals, sits astride a black horse
And looks to command once more