Karl (louderback) wrote in louderprose,

Freewriting: Lament


We watched him ascend, knowing in our hearts we would not see him return. Brave we thought him. Valiant and foolish, vain perhaps we thought him. Some though him unequal to the task, that his courage was false and would fail him in the end, but it was not so. The hundred-odd of us who lived in the village in those days and were overshadowed by the old fortress that was the source of so much woe could not believe that he was any different than others who had entered there. He was different. For five days we stood vigil while witchlights played behind the gaping holes in the fortress walls. We heard the banshee wails and indecipherable cries that sounded like a man in torture. Crashes as of walls tumbling, and a rush as though a dam had burst tumbled down the hill as boulders of sound to torment us.

When all had been silent for a day and a night, we left. Thinking his a valiant death, we left and went about our business, fearing the reprisal from the fortress that we knew would come. The ogre would descend. Homes would be crushed flat, and lives snuffed like candles in a storm. Some fled to the forest, but most simply waited. There was no outrunning the monster, nor escaping him if he chose you as his prey.

A'noon of the seventh day, Stehan, son of Han the woodwright, came shrieking into the village. We thought the Ogre upon us, as, in a way he was, but not as we expected. Out of the foothills, down the lane that was our main street came Ardulf, dragging one leg and stumbling under the weight of his trophy. He bore across his shoulders, like a deer taken in the forest, the head and the attached shoulder and arm of the Ogre. He stood as solidly as he might in the center of our small village and flung his grotesque trophy to the ground. In a second he fell beside it and was unknowing.

At the end of seven days we buried Ardulf where he fell. We dug deep and placed the Ogre at the bottom of the pit. Then we laid a floor of pine logs and piled it high with sweet scented flowers before we lowered Ardulf to his grave. None may walk through our village without seeing the stelae and honoring he who slew the Ogre. Ardulf had no family that we have discovered, no heirs, no legacy save that the lives of one hundred souls and all their descendants will know his name and keep it for as long as there is voice to sing his praise and memory to know his name.
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