I

The King's Bodyguard

Dark was the night as the shadows crawled.

Lonely the sight of the man enthralled,

as he stood still in black in the midst of the road.

And horses drew a carriage like their hearts would explode.

 

Drew on the reins the man ‘pon the seat,

as he spied the still figure refusing retreat

from the galloping beasts with fire in their breath.

He drew on the reins lest they gallop to Death.

 

‘Fool that thou art!’ the driver roared down.

‘Get thee off the path lest be trampled to ground.

I bring here a man whose importance in town

is greater than thine – he dost work for the crown.’

 

Looking up at the driver with moon-sparkled gaze,

the stranger breathed slowly; not a heartbeat was raised.

He drew from his long-coat a pistol of black.

With fiery resounding, the driver snapped back

from his seat with a bullet between his eyes.

The black horses reared wildly and kicked at the skies,

while the stranger made calmly his way to the door.

The man of crown service did hastily implore:

‘Truly, I doth have treasures and plenty to pay.

Wouldst thou see in thy heart that I see through this day?’

 

With silent commission, the door was pulled out

and a second pistol was raised, but a shout

from behind caused the stranger to delay.

Taken high with a bullet, without time to say

any word against whom it might be,

the stranger dropped rightly and never did see

the beautiful woman who stalked from the trees,

and brought him low with a blade; brought him to his knees.

 

He collapsed with eyes glazed, with no breath and no sound.

The man of crown’s service stepped out and stepped down,

and looked at the woman in whose debt he was found:

‘Tis a thing of great fortune thou dost work for the crown.’

 

Her dark hair tumbled down as she threw back her hood,

thinking her evil had measures of good.

But she stared then in silent and measured regard.

For the man on the path was the King’s Bodyguard.

 

Hastily panicked, and with measures of dread,

she loaded the carriage with the troublesome dead.

She took then the seat and she snapped on the reins.

And they galloped to town,

where they would have to explain.

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