The Ballad of the Hero

There once was a time when the Powers of Earth
Rebelled from the Powers of Life
The Powers of Death and the Powers of Birth
Could not put an end to the strife

Fire like rain, did fall from the sky
The rivers and seas ran red
It looked like the world was doomed to die
Even the Realm of the Dead

Unmaking the world and sowing pain
the Powers of Earth killed all
Destruction was the Power’s aim
The armies of man did fall

At last rose a Hero, strong and fair
A young man with hair like gold
His eyes shone bright, as blue as air
A warrior, courageous and bold

At the Mountain of Dreams, he found a sword
A blade only the chosen can wield
The Kings of the World declared him a Lord
And followed him into the field

The Powers of Earth met the Powers of Man
In battle for many a year
Warfare consumed the ravaged land
Men fought to defend against fear

The Powers of Earth wielded terrible spells
And truly horrific magic
Incessant, the clamor of funeral bells
Remembered the losses tragic

The Hero himself fell victim to these
Banished to the Realm of the Dead
The Dark Goddess herself, he had to appease
Ere he could put end to the dread

For many a day and many a night
He sought to change her mind
He needed to live again, and to fight
To bring peace to the last of Mankind

A charm, from the Goddess, the brave Hero stole
And vitality flowed in his veins
The Realm of the Living once more housed his soul
As he fled the Dark Lady’s domain

The Kings of the World knew not what to think
As the Hero once more stood before them
They feared he would vanish, should they even blink
They dreamed him a vision, postmortem

When the Hero had died the Kings had despaired
But now they had reason to hope
In fighting prowess, none had compared
Without him the Kings could not cope

With the Hero’s return the Kings went to war
Fighting the Powers of Earth
Terrible magics were cast, as before
But no fear held the Hero, just mirth

In the Dark realm of Death the Hero had learned
That no sorcery has hold on the fallen
And since from the Dead, the Hero returned
Earth’s Powers could not even stall him

In battle they met, the Hero and Foe
Champion-to-Champion, as equals
The Hero commanded his comrades to go
Their panic and fear could not be quelled

The Powers of Earth took the form of a Wyrm
And cast fire o’er all of the land
The Hero just laughed as he watched the field burn
And, immune, took his sword in his hand

Like a gale, like a storm, the Dragon leapt forth
Iron teeth and stone claws were outstretched
In its rage, it was swifter than wind from the North
Talon marks in the stone there were etched

The Hero was fast as he dove from its path
But the Wyrm, in its anger, was faster
Obsidian claws raked the Hero in wrath
And the Warrior held no more laughter

Blood flowed from a wound in the great Hero’s hip
Pure agony was his gift from the Power
Crimson blood welled up ‘twixt the Warrior’s lips
But the Hero did not make to cower

Great sword in his hand, he rose from the ground
And he now cast a spell of his own
The four winds howled, a fearful sound
The Warrior’s power had grown

Dreamblade held high, he struck the Earth
And opened a glowing chasm
But the Dragon flew high, for all its girth
Causing the fires to spasm

The Hero’s pain made the Dragon laugh
its voice was a sibilant hiss
The Hero dreaded the aftermath
The result should his next attack miss

The Dragon swooped down, a black bolt from above
To deliver the ending blow
Preparing himself for the final shove
To the ground the young Hero crouched low

He readied his blade as the Dark Wyrm grew near
Dizzy from blood that had gone
To lay down his life to protect what was dear
He knew his time left was not long

Once more the youth dodged, this time with success
As the Powers of Earth barreled past
To put end to the war and allow the world rest
The next blow to be struck must be last

Ungainly in rage, the Dragon struck earth
And the warrior made use of its fall
He slashed at the monster for all of his worth
Answering Destiny’s call

Hot blood steamed forth from the dark Dragon’s veins
It staggered back towards the rift
In the dirt the Wyrm’s blood painted terrible stains
Causing the world to shift

The earthquake that struck caused the Dragon to fall
Into the molten pit
Using magic within him, the Hero spent all
All if his strength to seal it

The tremors now ceased and the Hero collapsed
Exhausted beyond all reason
His friends, they came running to see what had passed
But they found the Dark Lady had seized him

There once was a time when the Powers of Earth
Rebelled from the powers of life
The Powers of Death and the powers of Birth
Could not put an end to the strife

But a Hero of Men rose up from the land
And at last sealed Earth’s Powers away
But he stole a charm from the Dark Lady’s hand
And now in her realm he must stay

The Goddess of Death warned the Goddess of Life
That the Powers of Earth were not dead
Once more in the future the Wyrm would cause strife
Seeping the land in cold dread

And the Hero of Men could never be released
From the Dark Lady’s eternal gray hall
Should ever the spell sealing Earth’s Power cease
Life, Death, and Man all would fall

So the Power of Life took the Hero’s great sword
And returned it back to its stand
To the Kings of the World she gave the word
That Peace had returned to the land

She said the sword slept on the Mountain of Dreams
Any who wanted could claim it
When the Powers of Earth next enacted its schemes
A Hero would rise who could tame it

The Kings of the World remembered her song
And made sure folk would ever recall
The Hero’s tale, from an era long gone
and never again let him fall

The Ballad of the Hero won a Regional Gold Key in the 2013 National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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