HEART OF THE ICE DRAGON

Work in progress. 

The foothills have all been washed white.
The trees, all stripped bare to their limbs.
The dead coveted my every breath.
I followed a trail of campsites,
carried by a steady rhythm,
yet I sank with every step.

The sun set, the summit in sight.
The howl of the wind, harsh and grim,
served as a harbinger of death.
Ascending the forbidden heights,
the silver sheets of ice glistened,
as if the mountain had once wept. 

It was then that I heard her call.
The ground shook and split, revealing
A cave beneath the overhang.
I stepped inside the frozen maw.
Icicles adorned the ceiling
like uneven rows of honed fangs.

Too deep and too far to withdraw.
The percussion that my pulse banged
filled my ears and helped to conceal
the quiet clicking of her claws,
but not the song she softly sang,
nor the weight of nervous feelings. 

Enter a room full of mirrors,
reflexive but no reflection,
bright and yet with no source of light.
Her soft whisper, “Hello my dear,”
heard from every direction,
“Silly knight, have you come to fight?” 

A bead of sweat drips from my brow.
“No. I have come here to free you
from this prison you reside in.” 
This promise, my ironclad vow,
I was driven to see it through.
Her reply, “Then let us begin.” 

The walls began to circle me.
I had no means to escape her,
nor the desire to do so.
The mirrors were all I could see.
Hushed breaths, quiet like a whisper.
I felt my heart begin to slow.

Suddenly everything stopped.
The prison walls began to glow,
"Find yourself, Sir Knight." She challenged.
‘Twas then that the hands of the clock
ran backwards, light began to show,
and so began my life's ballad. 

In the mirror, a little lord.
A tiny tyrant, quite alone
with only his toys and scribbles,
his pleas for attention ignored
by he who sat upon the throne
in the castle upon the hill.

His plight was mostly self-imposed.
The boy was spoiled and selfish.
Any friends that he might have made
were frightened off by words like blows.
Fellowship he would have relished
turned away with looks like a blade.

Long years flew by in a moment.
The boy grew taller and stronger,
his heart continued to harden.
He saw people as opponents
and as conquests to be conquered, 
but he managed to make a friend.

She saw through his pain when it pushed
the others back, for she too knew
the longing born from solitude.
She could read his heart like a book,
with eyes deep as the ocean's blue.
In that gaze, his hate was subdued. 

Now the boy felt himself renewed.
Soon he brought honor to his name.
He won the king’s acknowledgement.
The blood of each enemy hewed
fell like rain, washing away the shame
and its lingering, sickly scent.

And so, his friend watched from afar,
filled with quiet admiration. 
Alas, the boy was utterly
blind to the workings of her heart
and thoughts: an endless equation
he lacked the subtlety to perceive.

A princess from a far-off land,
She soon found herself with suitors.
The boy stewed in his jealousy
and he just could not understand
how she could choose these intruders
whose merits he refused to see.

Before long, she found her first love.
He could not share her happiness.
The friends found themselves in a feud.
His temper flaring, the boy drove
her far away and grew depressed.
His heart turned as black as his moods.

Now the boy resembled a man,
but his mind was still like a child’s. 
He could fight no more, so he sailed
across the sea to distant lands
where he was no longer reviled,
where he could forget he had failed.

Written by 'Jungle'

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