The Fall Of Arzethymia - A Ballad
The Fall Of Arzethymia - A Ballad
Beside the roaring sea, on a rock,
A little girl was sitting in a pretty frock,
Her legs dangling over the crashing waves,
In her hands the diamond that every king craves.
She threw the large stone into the sea
And watched it sink with tears and glee.
“Farewell to you, O wicked Desire.
Your reign ends, peace is nigher.
You have bathed in blood, in pyres you have burned.
Now rest in oblivion, till all age has turned.”
As she got up to go back,
From the heart of the sea, came a seahorse black.
Eyes like twin moons on a starless sky,
Its shiny grey mane swimming by;
Its silver tail danced in the water around,
The Black Seahorse swiftly moved, unbound.
Upon coming to the rock, it reared its head,
And in a beautiful voice, it said,
“Accept my greetings, dear girl.”
In the waters, his tail did swirl.
“I have come from the Kingdom below
On behalf of the King, just and mellow.”
Amazed and afraid, the girl spoke,
“I am but upon a fork.
To witness magnificence like you, I longed,
But I know not where I have wronged.”
“Little lady, you flatter me.
Hostile isn’t my intention to be.
Rather, I bring with me an invitation
To the Kingdom below, for a celebration.”
“Celebration?” She asked. “But for what,
When this world is reducing to naught?”
She looked around, with woe her eyes clad,
And found the Seahorse beside her, his smile sad.
“Sorrow gives way to delight,
As darkness precedes the light.
After the peak comes the fall,
Law of Nature, it is for all.
A new age, dear child, is about to begin,
And you will be the first of its new kin.”
“Your words are a riddle to me, I fear.
Is it a prophecy in your words that I hear?”
The Seahorse chuckled and looked out to the sea.
“What I speak is no prophecy.
It is what is about to come,
But only the King can tell you the truth’s sum.”
And both of them let the silence reign,
But ere long, The Black Seahorse spoke again.
“Now, let us not delay!
Come, let us be away!”
Her hands round his neck, on his back the girl sat.
The Seahorse sprang, with all the likeness of a cat.
The playful water met them, cool and clear.
At once, they found hundreds of fishes near.
That calm blue place was full of wonder,
Free from the world above, free from its thunder.
Deeper and farther they ventured,
And from far away, a mysterious melody she heard.
“The song in the distance is the mermaids’ ode
To the Mitèra, for their merry abode.”
The Seahorse gave a reminiscent smile.
“The Kingdom is near, little more than a mile.”
The entrancing music drifted closer,
But the beautiful words seemed stranger,
For they were in a tongue ancient and pure.
Mighty and magical –The girl thought –for sure!
And then they entered a cavern large,
But the growing music filled them with a spirited charge.
Upon coming out of the long cavern,
They came to a land filled with wavy fern.
In front of the pair was a vile forest submerged
And into that old darkness, the Seahorse plunged.
Slowly they moved through the ghastly trees that stood,
And after a while, felt warmth fresh and good.
They emerged out of the woods to a cliff lone
And found, leading downwards, crude steps of stone.
In the sea-valley below was the most wonderful city she had ever seen,
Covered, dome-like, with a faintly shimmering sheen.
“This warmth you feel emanated from that shield iridescent.”
He gestured to the hazy dome, ardent.
Reaching the large city gates, they went inside.
The citizens smiled at their visitor, the brave little child.
Mermaids and mermen gathered, their eyes intent.
She noticed an octopus, moving beside a green sea-serpent.
The Black Seahorse wore a solemn face.
“There, ahead,” He raised his head. “is the king’s palace.”
The palace rose as if from a dream seldom dreamed,
Its lustrous walls, its Romanesque windows gleamed.
Each pillar and every turret carved aeons ago
By titanic gods with their archaic know,
And no war ever reached its gates of gold,
For it was blessed with eternal peace, as the stories told.
Just outside the gates, the Seahorse stopped.
Thanking him, to the ground, the girl hopped.
A sudden question took form in her mind,
The puzzling answer to which she wanted to find.
But her words were drowned in awe and delight,
By absolute sheer perfection, in her sight,
Of that courtyard with its flora, patterned,
Its shiny statues mossy, its paths that naiads governed.
Through a path, filled with plants fascinating,
They came to coral doors, strong and welcoming.
A sigh escaped her lips as she stepped inside,
For it was a spectacular hall, grand and wide,
And at its far end stood a shining silver throne
On which sat The Great King, whose long white beard shone.
The girl walked to the majestic King
And bowed before those eyes deep and glittering.
“Welcome, dear child! How has your journey been?”
He asked in a rich voice, his smile serene.
“It was splendid. Great King of the Sea,
But my mind is troubled by a curiosity.”
“Ah,” the King spoke. “Curiosity, a creation of Nature itself.
Ask away, and I shall try to answer you myself.”
“Breathing and talking, how am I in good health,
When no mortal would even dream to traverse this depth?”
The Sea-King nodded and looked at the Seahorse.
“It is the magic of this noble companion of yours.
When you embraced him as you entered this domain,
The ability to talk and breath like us, you did gain.”
The girl, astonished, was unsure of what to say,
So she observed the Seahorse’s grey many sway.
“Your majesty,” she questioned suddenly. “but why am I invited
To your fair domain, though I am very much delighted?
My friend, the Seahorse spoke of a celebration here,
And that a new kin and a new age were near.”
The Sea-King stood up from his throne,
Tall and muscular, he was unlike any merman known.
His strong golden tail moved swiftly behind,
His verutum fierce, his face gentle and kind.
“The time has come for a grave talk.
Come, to the courtyard, let us walk.”
Puzzled, the girl followed, the Seahorse beside,
As they walked silently, with the Sea-King, outside.
In the center of the courtyard, on grass green and pale,
The Sea-King began the lost old tale.
“Mitèra Terra, when she was young,
In her second life, with love, she was stung.
Lord Fengdray himself was her paramour,
And she, to him, above all else was dear.
One day, to bring to her, she did ask,
An object, arcane and appealing, was his task.
“Then, on that fateful night,
The love-blinded Lord set his sight
On his mother, Tha Imperia’s crown
And from it, for his amorata, he took down
Desire, the Accursed Diamond- Arzethymia,
And set off on the bridge to Terra.
“But Tha Imperia discovered her loss
Before the bridge, he could cross.
With terrible fear, Fengdray was gripped
And as her wrath rose, the stone he dropped
Onto Terra’s home and creation,
Thus subjecting the entire world to damnation.
“After her guilty son was condemned,
Tha Imperia’s anger was quenched.
But about to come was an aged dark,
For eternity, that would leave its mark.
And quite well she knew her part-
To lead a chain of events to start.
“Terra, grief-stricken, came to her for forgiveness
And Tha Imperia gave a solution to her distress.
Mitèra Terra was never heard of again,
And on her creation, Earth began the Cursed Diamond’s reign.
But the Goddess Prime prophesied, heard by few,
For the black period to end, and an age to commence anew.
“She foretold a dark and twisted future,
Filled with death, misery, and torture.
But a selfless act, born from a past painful,
Would liberate the world from its state sorrowful.
All would then be purified by the last catastrophe,
So that a new world could wake, young and free.
“And we, the births of Terra’s tears
Have decided, when the time nears,
To ensure that the prophecy fulfills,
And Desire’s lure, in no heart, instills.”
As the Sea-King ended, a heavy silence hung.
The meaning of his words, in her mind, sunk.
“Coming true of the prophecy,” she asked. “how will you ensure?”
“By the help of a soul, young and pure.”
The Seahorse smiled, on her his crystal eyes,
And the girl let out some deep sighs.
“Do not fear, child.” The King rose to his height.
“Simply do what you think is right
And your path will be clear in front of you.
Now come, we have a celebration to go to.”
None had seen an evening like that on Earth
In the decades filled with malice and dearth.
In the lavishly decorated grand hall,
Creatures had gathered from realms all.
Unicorns, Griffins, Centaurs were present,
And a magical fragrance filled the hall, pleasant.
Lovely mermaids, in heavenly voices, sang
Songs of old, to which sprang
Old mermen, with their sweet ladies fat,
Dancing jovially, along with the octopus in the top hat.
A shadow, it seemed, had been lifted from every face,
And laughter filled each corner of that resplendent place.
After the dance came the time for dinner,
And everyone forgot the wish to remain thinner,
For, near the far walls, on the tables
Was a delectable buffet, the likeness of which couldn’t be found in any fables.
No speeches were spoken, nor any toasts given.
The doors of that grand hall, to all, were open.
But up above, the dry world outside
Was engulfed in a storm furious and wild.
Like houses of cards, fortresses fell
By earthquakes sent, as if, from hell.
Relentless rains purged the towns and villages.
No relief was found near any sages or mages.
Far away, in the nothingness of space,
A meteor was hurtling with terrifying pace,
Leaving an infernal trail in its wake,
Towards Earth, a final strike to make.
Down below, the party had ended.
The guests were amicably chatting, satiated.
The Sea-King, from his silver throne, rose
And instantly, silence spread among the guests’ rows.
“Friends, my house has come alive with your fervor,
But the time has come to seal Arzethymia’s power forever.
“With us tonight is Mitèra’s gift,
Who has caused this darkness to lift.”
The girl looked down, feeling her cheeks redden,
And knew the King had kept a secret from her hidden.
With a glance at her, the King resumed,
“The place where once Faunord fumed,
There an end will come to this age
And history will begin to be written from a new page.”
As he spoke, a glow seemed to light up everything.
All citizens and guests, out of the palace, followed the King.
The girl, on the Seahorse’s back, was beside him
As he led them to the city’s brim.
“Who was Faunord?” asked the girl.
The Seahorse’s pace quickened and his tail did curl.
“A demon.” In a dismal voice, he answered finally
And, understandingly, she spent the rest of the journey quietly.
Through the forest and the cavern, after a while,
They reached a desolate place vile,
Where no life ever bloomed,
And a mountain, on one side, loomed.
In the bleak center of that ominous place
Stood Desire- the Cursed Diamond with innocent grace.
From it the large group stopped a few yards away.
Sighs escaped lips and heads did sway.
It seemed a force stopped anyone nearing it,
And yet, with temptation, many faces were lit.
“When into the sea you threw the stone,
The noble naiads carried it to this place lone,
For they are free of Diamond’s hold.
They know only love, neither vice nor gold.”
The Seahorse spoke, his voice is tight.
The girl got down, the floating diamond in her sight.
Closer to it she moved, by instinct pure.
Her steps were calm, short, and sure.
A surprised murmur broke through the crowd
And the Sea-King watched her walk, proud.
She reached the diamond, her hand raised,
And its cold hard surface her fingers grazed.
Suddenly a tremendous sound came from above somewhere,
And a bright yellow light spread everywhere.
Up, on the surface, the meteor had collided.
Utter destruction prevailed and hellish fires ignited.
The girl withdrew her hand and looked below.
From the ground, a circular shape began to grow.
It took form as concentric rings, like fences, of descending height,
In the center of which rose a pillar, glowing white.
Reaching up, it engulfed the diamond spinning
And formed a pedestal at the top, widening.
The girl, discombobulated, took several steps back
As hundreds of tiny fish came, in a pack,
From the grayish rings’ bowels,
Their swishes drowning the crowds’ amazed vowels.
They swarmed, and created, at the top of the pedestal,
A tall whirlpool –a living, spinning spectacle.
It swiftly spun and soon, became a blurred swirl
As a shape began taking form in the whirl.
At once, the fishes vanished
And on the pedestal, unblemished,
Sat a radiant marble statue, glorious,
Simple and, at the same time, marvelous.
Her neck adorned by a moon pendant;
Beneath her, on her legs, anklets elegant.
Her body draped in a long and flowing saree heavenly,
Her waist-length hair, on her shoulders, hung gracefully.
In her cupped hands, a butterfly perched joyfully,
At which, Mitèra Terra’s beautiful face smiled serenely.
Silence spread as the light disappeared.
To the newly carved statue, the King neared.
“Arzemânt –the Diamond’s Tomb, this place will be known,
And here the first seeds shall be sown
Of this young new age that is here,
Free from Desire, death, doubt, and fear.
“A city shall be built here, Arzetha it will be named,
Its citizens proud and their deeds famed.”
The crowd cheered in a unified chorus
And moved, to the Kingdom, with a new purpose.
Then the King turned to the girl, smiling,
And she looked down, blushing.
“Dear child, we are in your debt,
But your burden is not over yet.
Up there in the above world, burned,
A few survivors are left, their lives upturned.
You have to be the one to unite them,
To help them build, to liberate them from their state glum.”
“But how?” she uncertainly asked, her tone courteous.
“Help always comes to the courageous.
Remember that, and always follow your heart.
With these words, we shall part.”
The Sea-King called the Seahorse Black,
Who took the girl to her world back,
Where a fine drizzle was falling
And at every surface, new sunrays were shining.
A vast crater stood a few miles from the sea,
And around it were the sad ruins of a city.
“Where will you go from here?”
The Seahorse enquired, swimming in the water clear.
The girl was on the rock, thinking.
“East, to the temple of Lord Skithorian.” She said, standing.
The Seahorse came up, and over her right palm ran his tongue.
A sigil got engraved there, a faint glow around which hung.
“My power will flow into you whenever you need it.”
The girl tightly hugged him, with tears her eyes lit.
She spoke, “It is time to say goodbye, I suppose.”
As the Seahorse, to the edge of the rock, rose.
“Zyrilina –The Age Turner, your name shall spread far and wide.
Antveldere, farewell, O brave, wonderful child.”
The Seahorse jumped into the water, his tail unspun,
And the girl walked off towards the rising sun.