He sat in the shadows where the sun played catch,
refusing to accept that it had met its match.
Desperately trying to consume all darkness,
that enemy of the sun blazed only with the starkness
of cold and absence and the dismissal of life.
Yet the Light and the Dark were like husband and wife
who needed the one to define the other;
playing the game of the cosmic lover.
Fensham had no time for philosophical thought,
for the game was afoot and his tickets were bought.
His seat in the shade suited him fine just then -
it cooled his blood as the lookout ran in:
‘Lord Fensham,’ he spluttered, ‘I am from Baronstown,
that little old place where the sun settles down
to the clapping of hands and the singing of song.
To bring thee this message I have run hard and long.’
‘Then spit out thy message, for I knowest the place.
I need not be told with some poetic grace
about the lands in my keeping and the people therein.
So tell me the cause of this bursting in.’
The boy nodded and took a large gulp of breath:
‘I saw a carriage roll in, a carriage of death.
A King’s Merchant in the seat and a lady up top,
but there was something wrong with the whip of that crop.’
Maintaining the shadows and keeping them warm,
Fensham leaned forward to alter their form.
With a flick of his hand, he hurried the boy.
‘The point,’ he demanded. ‘Be thee not coy.’
‘Two bodies the innkeeper helped to remove,
and I noticed one ‘mongst them whose face I could prove.
This man, my Lord Fensham, whose corpse they dragged out,
was the King’s Bodyguard...of that I have no doubt.’
Silence fell then, and the boy stood so still
that the light and the dark could play with such skill
around his helpless, hapless, motionless form.
While one side of him shivered, the other was warm.
The message was delivered, but the boy was torn
between the desire to run or to wait for some favour.
He stood his ground without whisper or waiver.
‘Find me the archer,’ said Fensham. ‘Thou knowest the one.
He hails from the town to which thou so proudly belong.
Tell him of thy story, and tell him of mine,
before we all are discovered and are left with no time.’