The King of Ash

The King of Ash

I am the King of Ash,

And the King of Ash is me.

All around,

The scorched ground,

Tells of  awful travesty.


Embers crackle underfoot,

Stomped under weathered, cracking boot.

Husks of houses and corpses of men,

Hollow and lifeless their eyes gleam,

Mocking the man who once reigned supreme.


"What can you do, mere mortal man?"

Their grisly features laugh at me.

"You ran from us to save your skin,

No room for sin in your country."

I cannot face those blackened skulls.

So I leave the village to the gulls.


Shadows dance as flames rage,

Distorted figures cross the page,

The story's written in my mind,

A tapestry of time I can't unwind.


I can't escape,

It's too late,

The slaughter's over,

Soldiers knock upon my gate.

The citadel is safe and warm,

But I cannot evade my fate.

Trapped inside the burning tower,

I cast myself from the bower.


At once awake,

To some strange sight.

A feeling of light,

Of gaiety,

Of freedom.

But wait,

Something's not right.


The trap springs,

Laughter sings,

Twisted like an oak.

I fall from light,

Into night,

And lay there with a croak.


What came after, I dare not say.

The tale of my time in Hell,

While a story,

Both morbid and gory,

Is a tale too dark to tell.


While in Hell,

I met a man.

Lucifer by name.

My soul I'll sell,

to the King of Hell,

to my land reclaim.


The Devil laughed,

And shook my hand,

And came alive with glee,

"You know my man,

I understand,

So I'll give you this for free."




The fresh air fills my lungs.

All at once I come to life,

Tired of my civil strife,

In a land of foreign tongues.


I found my way

Over dune and dale

I will not fail.

A horseman rides,

His pallor pale.

Revenge and I have availed

Ourselves to arms and armor.


Behind me, a legion marches,

Over forests and briar marshes.

The sea of spears shimmers

in the summer sun,

My soldiers loyal 'til bitter end,

Or until the job is done.


The Army I have gathered

Sits upon a cliff,

Overlooking the valley

Where once I was remiss

If a peasant I could not see

For some royal triviality.


Shaking myself from my thoughts,

I take a second glance.

My army mumbles,

And the sight of the savage plains,

while they trembled in their pants,

seared through my veins.


Who dares to cast a King from Throne?

Who dares to pave his roads with bones?

Who paints the walls of his city

with the blood of his citizens?

A King I may have been,

But all that's left is ruin.


Still, it is mine,

And in time,

It shall shine.


For I am the King of this place,

Grass or no grass,

Trees or no trees.

It belongs to me and I to it

And I dare the interloper,

"Show your face!"


My voice, though weak from travel,

Rings out across the mountain,

Into the valley.

An avalanche of gravel.


All at once there is a stir,

As of a stew.

Horns blow from the castle,

Where once myself I slew.

A crash resounds,

and from the gate comes boiling forth,

A whole host of men,

Savages from the North.


I pause a bit and reassess,

These savages are skilled.

While not my original enemy,

They still must be killed.

For this is my home,

My land,

My birthright.

I am the King of these ashes.


The legion sweeps through the horde,

Unfettered by the stench.

The screams of men surround me still,

The sound of war commenced.

War it is,

and War it must be.

The pale horseman brought his friend,

Someone to see it through the end.

Someone to see that the land will mend.

Someone to see the message I send,

to all who dare usurp me.


I commend the savage for his courage

in the face of glistening steel,

But I ask once again,

For his noble soul to kneel.


He does not,

and that is fine.

I too would not surrender,

Even if it meant dying.


The face of victory shines from me,

But my enemy is not yet defeated.

My true enemy must still be killed,

lest the past be repeated.


The battles are over,

The shadows grow longer.

One grows beyond its wont

and forms into a man.

My soul was sold to the King of Hell,

and now he has a plan.


"I gave you life again for free,"

he smiles and offers his hand to me,

"But now I have come to see,

it's time to collect your hidden fee."


I stop and stare,

at the handsome man.

"My soul is mine,

why shake your hand?"


The Devil chortles and tosses his head,

"Now there's the cunning I've grown to love,"

he says, as to a lover in bed.

"I demand from you that which you value most;

your land."


Chuckling I say to him,

"Surely you must be joking.

There is naught that you should want from me,

even the land still smoking."


He narrows his eyes in a threatening gaze.

The blood rekindles in my veins.

I strike at the man

who threatens my land,

and so ended Lucifer's days.


And so we return to here and now,

Where I shall go to tend the plow,

And plow the fields and feed the sows,

And sew back together the ties of my nation,

Freed from damnation,

No longer forsaken,

But still in need of a guiding hand.


I am the King of Ash,

and with shovel in hand,

I will tear down the ravaged towns,

And restore my once beautiful land.


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