As I said elsewhere I've got a new scanner/printer and I've just found out how to scan a document and turn it into a text file, which gives me a chance to present this which I only had in hard copy (due to an old computer crash). It's kinda long so I'll present it in 3 parts (if the first meets with approval). Nothing to do with DW, though it is semi-comic fantasy (not really funny but not to be taken too seriously). Some of you might remember an earlier poem, The Kiss of the Witch that I presented some time ago - http://www.terrypratchett.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4222
and two of the characters from that also appear in this, though much older.Beyond Our Horizons
Part One: The Dragon and the Camel
Beyond the horizons that we know
Where orchid scented winds do blow
Over rivers fast and mountains high
Through skies where range the pegasi
Lay Camadra, land of peace and plenty
Where no beggar wanted for a penny.
Edric the King and Gwynness, his daughter
Ruled by wise words and laughter
A happy people of hearts most light
That seldom lie and never fight
They had no use for hate and fear
And all was peace and good cheer.
Gwynness' beauty was widely famed
She'd lustrous hair in a glowing mane
Around a face so pure and skin so soft
She seemed like a gift from the friendly gods.
The flowers wept and the birds looked wry
Around Gwynness of the elvish eye.
When not about affairs of state
She gave her time to ministrate
To those who ailed and sickness knew
As time went by her knowledge grew
'Till she was known throughout the land
As their Princess of the Healing Hand.
Suitors called without pause or rest
To court Camadra's sole princess
But though all spoke in honeyed words
Each in turn Gwynness spurned
Behind their words she heard the lies,
Saw the greed that lurked behind their eyes.
As much as her beauty, so was famed
The throne that she would someday claim:
Her father had seen many a long year
And his daughter was his only heir
So the man that Gwynness would agree to wed
Would soon wear a crown upon his head.
The King, though old, was hale and hearty
Under his rule life was a party
And the people all day wore beaming smiles
Until, one day, began their trials:
For Arlech came to Camadra fair
And chose it for his Dragon lair.
Arlech raged across the land
Before his flame no man could stand
With tooth and claw and dragon-fire
He consumed Camadra's peace entire.
In hordes the frightened people fled
Spurred to haste by mortal dread.
In other times when disaster struck
Camadra thanked her good luck
The wizard Yarrow made the land his own
And could be called to defend his home
But now, it seems, he'd gone to ground:
Search as they might he could not be found.
King Edric in terror for his nation
Put forth a royal proclamation
That whoever would this chaos check
And put an end to the dread Arlech
Would win the hand of the fair Gwynness
And would, in time, the crown possess.
Now, though proud, the fine Gwynness
Was for Camadra a loyal Princess
She loved the land and happy people,
Each rude haystack and temple steeple,
So did submit in regal manner
And would the Dragon contract honour.
Far and wide the word was spread
Of a Kingdom won for one dragon dead
To save the land from Arlech's danger
And restore the peace to fair Camadra
Yet Gwynness' hand and elvish eyes
Was seen as a jewel atop the prize.
From near and far the claimants came
In search of wealth and love and fame:
Knights in armour and archers too,
Heroes of every shape and hue,
Men with schemes and clever plans
Each sought to win Gwynness' hand.
But though all fought with skill and wit
Showing strength, nerve and grit
None could take the Dragon's head
And one by one they wound up dead
Camadra suffered the Dragon's spell
As in turn each champion fell.
So, in time, the flood dried up
For few were left to try their luck
Camadra groaned 'neath Arlech's yoke
And the people had near lost all hope
When came to battle the Dragon foe
The wizard black, Durando.
This Mage, of dark and evil aspect,
Laid out his plan to banish Arlech:
He could not promise the dragon's death
But to free them of it's fiery breath
He'd open a portal through time and space
And send Arlech to another place.
Gwynness found herself dismayed
Of this suitor she was afraid
In desperation, she protested
That this plan was most defective
A devil of guilt they would invoke
To visit Arlech upon another folk.
Durando sneered to hear this quibble
Such concerns to him u,ere merely drivel
his moral fibre's naught but tissue
But to address this minor issue
And to save them all from guilty pains
He'd send Arlech where Hell already reigns.
Edric, who sorrowed for his daughter
Yet had to end the dragon's slaughter
Besides, the scheme seemed most hare-brained
And unlikely that the prize be claimed.
Though in his mouth the words were worms
He must agree to the wizard's terms.
And so the day was set to make the try
The place, where Arlech oft would fly.
A royal party gathered to see the test
That could rid them of the dragon pest.
Calling on forces fey and fell
Black Durando cast his spell!
Standing inside a mystic circle.
Speaking words to make blood curdle,
Calling on forces with threats and prayer,
Inscribing runes upon the air,
With a final dramatic cry
He pointed his wand up at the sky!
This wand of the Wizard black
Had runes inscribed all down it's track
And at its tip was a devils paw
Clenched up tight and showing no claw
But as Durando spoke his final words
A pointing finger slowly uncurled.
Gwynness laughed. for nothing happened
At Durando's fail her heart did gladden.
The wizard smiled into his beard
He knew his plan had not been queered:
The gate could not be visible in the least -
If they could see it, so would the beast!
The hour arrived of the dragon's flight
Arlech came soaring at treetop height
On a course directly overhead
Towards the gate the dragon sped
Yet at the brink of the gate he veered away:
From thin air a new monster joined the fray!
Two pair of wings held it aloft
They did not flap, were hard not soft,
It had teeth that whirled around it's nose
And from it's throat a drone arose
But, perhaps, the most wondrous fact
Was that it bore a rider upon it's back!
From the skies above those Flanders fields
Where daily men in droves were killed
Flew a young pilot in a Sopwith Camel
Seeking for Germans for to do battle,
James Reynolds of the Royal Flying Corps.
Into Camadra's skies flew through the air-door
Arlech screamed at this new arrival
A threat it seemed to his survival
No matter how weird and strange
No beast should ever dare his range.
Climbing high, then turning back
The Dragon swooped to the attack!
With claws outstretched the dragon fell
But Reynolds saw and gave a loud yell
He banked and dodged Arlech's claws
And realized he'd found a war:
He'd have to kill this fearsome beast
Else he himself would decease!
He circled 'round for the airman's grail:
To get a bead on the enemy's tail.
His target found, he opened fire
Arlech screamed and flew up higher
Again he swooped, with open jaw -
Flame he spewed, from his fiery maw!
The royal party stared in awe and wonder
At this battle fought with roars of thunder
Who would win and who would lose
It seemed the fates could only choose
Twixt Dragon dread and gallant flier
One spitting lead, one breathing fire!
The Camel got it's sights on its foe
Arlech escaped with a barrel roll.
Once again did the Dragon stoop
Reynolds pulled up in a loop the loop.
Fire and noise lit the gathering night
Below they could see every move of the fight.
The Dragon and Camel wove a tangled web
As they chased and turned and dodged and fled
Neither could land a killing blow
While they danced a jig in the twilight glow
'Till to one move they both were led
And they attacked, flying head to head!
Closer and closer the fliers came
Each to be certain of their aim
The dragon sucked in a mass of air
Ready to light a deadly flare
Reynolds fired first with the greater range
Through Arlech's eye and into his brains!
The Dragon roared fire like a torch
The plane in flames was badly scorched
It's wing and tail were caught alight
No more could the Camel sustain flight
Arlech fell like a stone from the sky.
Reynolds must a crash-landing try.
The flier staggered from the burning wreck
Near where the Dragon had hit the deck
He looked to see the fearsome beast
That had almost made him it's feast
The Dragon he'd fought for the skies
Changed shape before his very eyes!
What once had been the mighty beast
Shrank as it's huge size decreased
Wings disappeared and tail too
The resemblance to a human grew
In the end there lay on the ground
An old man wounded most profound.
Reynolds knelt by the recent foe
To whom he'd dealt a mortal blow.
The flier thought he must be mad or dead
When he heard a voice inside his head
While his life's-blood soaked into the ground
The old man spoke without sound.
"My thanks to you, though you've dealt me death
Heed my words, though I've got no breath
You've saved me from a wicked spell
That turned me to a beast from Hell
Its deadly nature I could not control
Though it was the vessel of my soul.
"An old student of mine cast the spell
We'd argued his use of magic most fell,
And he used his wand with a devils hand
To make me a Dragon instead of a man
He bound me into a draconic brain
And Black Durando is his given name.
"They called me Yarrow in this land
At least they did when I was a man
Arlech they named the beast I became
In who's form I knew, oh, so much pain,
For saving me from that dark beast of strife
I thank you with my last breath of life."
Perhaps Yarrow had more to say
But alas he'd come to his end of days
He died by the light of the airplane fire
In the arms of the man who had been it's flier.
The flames reached the plane's fuel tank at last
The Airman was sent flying, engulfed by the blast.
The royal party arrived at the site
Surveyed the scene by the fire's light
Amazed they were, and wracked with grief
To see their wizard friend deceased
They mourned his death with tears and woe -
All bar the wizard Durando.
Reynolds lay sprawling close nearby
So hurt was the Airman they thought he would die
They tended his wounds right there where he lay
Then bore his senseless form gently away
To a manse that lay not far away,
This strange warrior who'd won the day.
When the Airman was in a sickbed laid
Durando demanded that his price be paid:
Arlech had been banished from the land
Through his use of magic most grand
He'd fulfilled the contract full and true
So Gwynness' hand was his right and due.
Gwynness protested Durando's claim
The terms, she said, were not so plain
Events had not gone to Durando's plan
And they owed a debt to the brave Airman
Whilst the Dragon was gone, so much was true
Unclear it was to whom the prize was due.
Durando dismissed this doubt and said
That the Airman was lying in his deathbed
Gwynness retorted the man could yet live
They owed the best aid they could give:
They could not ignore their debt to this man
And she would tend him with her own healing hand.
King Edric listened to both arguments
Then with regal composure he gave his judgement
The Wizard and Airman, each had a claim
Yet the fate of the Airman as yet was not plain
Who was the victor could not be said
Until the stranger was well or was dead.
Durando cursed the judgement made
Come Hell or high water he swore he'd be paid,
And yet to show his goodwill he said he'd wait -
But not for ever, they must set a date:
He'd be back at first fall to collect what he's due
He'd better be paid, or the day they will rue!
The Wizard bowed then, and bade his leave
But they'd see him again, they must believe.
He spoke an odd word, like a thunderous crash
And he was gone, in a brilliant flash.
The King raised his eyebrows, to his daughter he said
"You'd better make sure that Airman's not dead."tbc...
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? ~~ Oddball