The Song of Ceber

Argument: With Therdy slain, his mother attempts to convince Queen Fyrness to execute Ceber for murder.

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The Trial

Fyrness       daughter of Sindra
Granddaughter       of Gem Ironsong
Begot of Sel
Begotten of Nelter
Begotten of Wyr
And more,
Gem Ironsong begot sisters
Sindra the golden and Hyrt
Hyrt the proud       the dangerous
Hyrt mistress       made many wasplets
One being Jeena Warsting
Jeena, Queen Fyrness’s cousin
Had only one child:       Therdy

Jenna horse-killer       strong fighter
Knew battle’s might
Many a campaign       her cousin
The Queen and her pursued
They like sisters       strove together
In their youth       to unite the people
In blood-boltered       battle-quests
They carved up the land
So furious their devotion
Some thought them actual sisters
Twins in combat       cold killers
Fair fighters       furious
Same in their desire for blood
Neither knew peace in those
Early days of warmongering.

When Jeena heard of her only son’s fate
She wept angrily
“The callous gods       are coldly cruel
To kill my kin       my child
But blood for       blood must be paid
If Ceber thinks       herself safe
She has underestimated my bond to the Queen
There are laws!       Legitimate legal paths
Mandated magistrates       to avenge murder!”
She gathered her supporters
To petition       for Ceber’s punishment.

Noble Fyrness in dismay
Called forth       Carapaced-Ceber
to hear Jeena’s challenge.

“Fyrness kin,       queen, cousin
Today I find my Therdy dead
but not in battle       or blighted accident.
By one of our       own he fell
A wasp of Terite’s claim       killed him.
Unbelievable       and astonishing!
Have the battle shocks       rattled Ceber Saber-rattler?
Has hemolymph       hijacked her head?
Can she no longer tell enemy from friend?
It is a dangerous wasp       who is so wild
Who kills       kith and kin indiscriminately.”

Disheartened Fyrness       fearing for Ceber
Knew her dismaying       dark duty.
“Ceber,”       said she,
“Tell me that       Therdy still stands
Making his poetry that       made us merry with laughter.
Give me an explanation
That I can confidently bring to my council.
I have known you a long time.
Never have you told me a lie.
So now truthful, honest Ceber
Break the spell, clear your name.”

Ceber’s strength lay with war
Not strength in her words
But fearing for her life answered,
“I do not know what happened.
I think he thought       to attack me
I woke and he was on top of me
stooping to       some shameful act.
I could not let him for my virtue was in danger
I fought him.       He was no fierce fighter.
He had to know the danger if I woke.
Only in Elsalay’s madness
Could such a contest       be conceived.”

“Liar! She lies!” Jeena knew fury
And could call it       completely out of the air.
“My Therdy was gentle
He knew only peace,       prose and poetry.
If Ceber       Strong-armed, murderous Ceber
Thinks I believe my son capable
of such profane       polluted acts
She herself is under a cruel
Spell of some       sinister goddess.
There is only one punishment I will consider:

An eye for every       faceted eye.
That old credo practiced
by every wise ancient       who ever walked
Hymolymph for hymolymph
Let out Ceber’s yellow juices
So that I may drink       to my son’s memory.
Queen! Answer me!”

Jeena’s followers cried for Ceber’s blood
Swept up by Takara they could not be satiated
While the goddess walked the crowd.
Fyrness was troubled.
Ceber was her second;
The most glorious shield-maiden under the banner
Shnon and her people       would surely still rule the valley
If Ceber hadn’t harried       the final hill
To kill Ceber       would be a crime
What queen would       wallow in that dishonor?
Not Fierce Fyrness       famous for her fairness
The crown would be a better forfeit!

“Hear me, Kuroni!
People of the wind!
The barbarous ways       are behind us,
Our ancestors knew punishments
The likes of which would       widen our eyes
Scare us sleepless,       senseless.
I am not willing to judge our own
by past cruel       incredulous credos.

Yet we have a murder
And the murderer is known!
Do the people have a right to justice?
Our Therdy’s joy was song.
Ceber’s joy is battle.
But we cannot take that from her.
For all of life is
Brutal battle       balanced on a needle point.

The Kuroni’s joy is flight.
Let me propose       a peaceful compromise.
Clip Ceber’s wings       and send her out.
Banished back to       the waterless badlands.
She will never blot your sight, cousin.”

“Queen! Queen Fyrness, be merciful,”
Ceber said.       “The single life of a
Clipped exile is no life at all.
I would rather be slain by Honorable Jeena
Than suffer       shameful strides across the land.”

Jeena elated,       “Even better. Excellent.
If she finds it a curse       to walk forever
Denied the sky       skimming desert
Then send her out with Therdy’s ghost
haunting her       hard steps along the way!”

The world offers no favors.
The unjust bed in castles
While many die in the dust.
Ceber’s jeweled wings,
That caught the light       in every cell
Orange as an October sunset
That once lifted her to the water-born clouds
Were clipped at the base
And given to wild-eyed Jeena.

Ceber in disgrace left.
The people entire watched her go.
Jeena jeering       jovially.
The children trying to catch her covered eyes,
But Ceber kept       them covered
Ashamed to look at even a wasplet

Queen Fyrness observed,
Goddess, take pity on her.
Help her on her path.
Brighten her way.
Absolve her.
And may she come home one day.”

The Song of Ceber

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