XV

The Duel

 

Calling out in the darkness drawn,

Fensham found his voice forlorn,

and considered he then of his loneliness.

He knew that his heart had never beat less

than it did right then in that emptiness.

 

And it was a void of spirit, without his included.

He did not belong and had only intruded

upon this firmament of stone;

of nothing alive and nothing yet known

or named or set to subordination.

Fensham was an outcast in this prologue to Creation.

 

Stopped in his tracks by an unlikely glint,

a light in the darkness of incident,

Fensham watched for signs of trickery,

so expectant of such was a man such as he.

 

As he and his steed marched clumsily nearer

to the glistening thing, glistening ever clearer,

Fensham felt tension take hold of his limbs.

Something was wrong; something troubled him.

 

He saw it then, the sword laying there.

The steel of its blade was death unaware.

And, looking around lest an enemy lurk,

Fensham armed himself with the blade in the murk.

 

No sooner had he lifted the weapon from ground

than a figure from his left side bore him down.

A fist to his cheek took Fensham’s surprise,

but he rolled and recovered and then laid his eyes

upon a spirit-like thing, one like a son of man

which disguised itself in the glowing calm

of a ghost or a ghoul or a demon of white.

Fensham’s instinct alone made him ready for the fight.

 

A double-edged sword was drawn from its mouth

and it swung with precision and wisdom pronounced.

Fensham’s glowing blade was less initiated

and he found himself forced back with fury unsated.

 

And he duelled with the spirit, an angelic concealing.

Like Israel in Jacob, the cipher revealing.

The clash of his steel against the power of Word

was ever sufficient to keep him concerned.

For no victory here would his foolishness find,

unaware that he fought against the wiser kind.

 

He was too slow to judge why the ghost dropped its blade,

so he moved in for the kill with misfortune betrayed.

And just as he made to strike the last blow,

he lowered his gaze to the figure below.

 

And it was he.

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