Monday, March 18, 2019

Minstrel Tales In Chendl After The Siege

Minstrel Tales In Chendl After The Siege

In Chendl After The Siege

War came to Furyondy and found Chendl unprepared. A desperate confederation of knights and Highfolk bought the city time, but by the month of Reaping the orcs were at the gates and Chendl was besieged.

The swords of the orcs never reached most of the population, but the teeth and claws of hunger and despair were felt by all. Some fell, some in battle, many more to grief, but most resisted, and in resisting drew a hard strength that their enemies could not shatter or overcome.

During the slow night, shattering its iron darkness, the knight-commander used to say in a low voice: 'We will not give in. We are made of stone.'

But some within the city would say, 'the poisonous ring grows more narrow all the time, the enemy is still advancing; O city without hope or strength! The stones groan, the pavement-blocks gasp, those who perish lay down like soldiers in crowded graves.'

At last the enemy became exhausted; the clouded horizon cleared, and the burnt houses loomed black: they are dead that have not held out.

The knight-commander walks out among the streets and bridges and gazes at a little cloud, and the wind chills his eyes and lips. In a low voice he talks of what happened and what will happen. 'We have fought our way out of that long darkness and passed through a storm of fire. We are made of stone. No, we are stronger than stone: we are alive.'

From 'A Spring in Leningrad' by Margarita Aliger (with minor alterations for the Greyhawk campaign).

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