Nikkinid (An Epic)

by Elizabeth H.

Nikkinid (an Epic)

Artimis, Goddess of moonless nights, huntress, and deer maiden, lend unto me the grace of your words. Help me tell the tale of the crusading Alram and the rebellion of the treacherous Deaps. Tell me, wild wanderer with the silent silver arrows, how they fought for the royal Chain and Stone. Whisper with gilded words of truth unto my eager ears the tale of how the heroically tragic Nikkin battled with the vile Avedrom and how the Mouse ferreted the Secret to his mistress, Murkina de Slivlisi, the accursed ruler of Dapths. Do not forget the cunning Imp with her fire-red hair weaving her web of lies. Artimis, three sided goddess of the woods and wilds, aid me with the telling of their tale.

And The Night Crept Silently By...

Rynnan, called Mouse, mourned

His cherished Love had been snatched

under what seemed to him, dubious accusations

As Fate would have it, he traversed to the palace

but met naught but a sharp command

'I care not for your mutterings, go from my sight,

I will hear not thy pleadings"

Empress of the Western Empire spat

'Away, vile, be damned! I will spare her not!'

And with a wave they dragged him off

'You shall pay! O miserable Queen!

Thy people shall be shred! Shred!'

And they tossed him mercilessly into the streets

Inside the coral-carved palace the Empress sighed

'Oh, how long shall they ignore my edicts?

Have I not warned them that this depravity must end?'

Heavily she rested in her dais pondering the will of Fate

Avedrom slid down beside the gilded throne

'Ah, me a most terrible choice to be sure.

Execution is a most horrible thing in the eyes of society

We shall all have to pay the dividends'

Furious rose the Queen 'You as well, Lord Avedrom?

'Will I have thee also turn on my judgment?

I shall have none of the sort, snake-mouth!

Go twine on some other poor soul,

Squeeze the life-breath and joy from them, not I!'

And she forcefully pushed him to a tumble

he sniffed with an air of spite and slunk away

'Someday, Lady Milivalia,

I shall have no further want nor need for thy service

I shall have the sovereignty for mine own!'

the Treacherous Advisor sneered to himself

And he swirled out the palace gate

To lift his heart and calm his raging spirit,

he presented himself at the door of his closest friend

He rapped smartly on the door and waited for her call

'Stranger or friend, I bid thee come, enter!'

With a strong motion he opened the door and greeted her

'Nikkin, what be thee doing? Dreary letters, I see.

Come! Let's go tip some secret wine goblets

your father never need know'

So they traversed to the inn, where ales flow

and there stole sweet mouthfuls of sin

While the Queen in her chamber gazed into the streets

where a crowd of anger-flushed faces surged

And who should be leading the horde?

None but the scheming Murkina and the rest

'O great Queen, may you be cursed!

Unbind the prisoner and no further ruckus

shall me and mine cause!'

But the queen stood fast and called back

'Turn loose one who committed crookedness?

I think not! I know of you as well, you and yours.

You think to overturn me. Return your henchwoman?

Never! By the glowing hearth of Hestia I shall cave not!'

Later that day, in the cool evening light

candles extinguished all through the city

the queen lay slumbering in peace

when a shudder and a moan rushed past

with a flash of lightning and rumbling thunder

She bolted out of her dream with a start

'Evil has stirred in the metropolis, I believe, as it is so.

Someone is running, running towards me.'

Her words dragged like she was still in her dream

The carrier appeared at the door sealed parchment in hand

He opened his mouth to speak, but she paused him

'She has broken the locks, murdered the watchers

and has stolen her away, hasn't she?'

The messenger nodded in silent fear as she swooped up her robe

'Haste! Make haste then fool! She shall steal her away to the tombs!'

And off set she, Queen of the West, to bear up arms against her foe

and made to the dungeon, sacred Spear drawn and ready

to defend herself and claim back her prisoner,

The one they call Beauty's blessed who committed crooked crimes

off the guard set with shields prepared

for an imminent fight should surely meet them

The Madame could topple the six towers, if want overtook

The moon half shone pale mellow glistening harbor drew near

down the road to the left towards the tombs, the Madame waited

taking her followers to the dank deep of stone

where dead lie in repose 'til decay victorious creeps

Deep to the place of redoubt they take to arms

the treasure secured, The Imp with Fire-flowing hair

recovered by the black and the scaled serpent tricks

Down the horrid bound corridor stair

Murkina sat in demonic glory on the stage overhung with net

'Bring hither the Imp, the Web-spinner of doom!'

The command slithered to the party of Grims

The Deap commander muttered a spell

and in whirled the terrifying flame light of candles

The Flame Locked lady came forward in black

A wave sent forth sparks and appeared leather wings and horns

As her truest shape resumed its glory a bat in evil majesty

Above in the fields, they searched in vain,

while below took place a spectacle of the power of Chaos

The furies released made Mount Haphgard quiver

molten blood, hot and burning, spread down its slopes

destroying all in its path in a wave

The Queen watched in alarm, for only Black Rites cause such a stir

Had only she seen the revelries below, as the Deaps danced

To the grotesque sound of drums and wretched lyres

As their idol exchanged her soul for the power of strength

invincibility, eternity, victory with a Black Personage unknown

With heart empty of pain Empress Slivlisi turned to face the crowd

With a cry of terrible victory she raised the cry of war

And below with them was the Vile Chancellor, Avedrom, traitor

He had joined the bloody rite for the power offered him

Crowns and Gold, Kingdoms famous and riches

For he had an eye for the Madame and her authority

He abandoned Nikkin and her swift wit for darker wishes

The Day Dawned Bright and Fair...

Ten fairly silent months ran passed

and the year changed her cloths to bleak, dreary winter

snows fell rarely, but frosts abounded with freezing rains

To the North the Deaps had fled, to form their cryptic regiments

And their fortress city, Dapth, where they sat seemingly undone

As unknown monstrosities bred unchecked, the city by the sea thrived

It's life-blood of trade with the neighboring Eastonic Empire

Was brisk as the chill air of mid-winter and ships sailed with white flags raised

Nikkin wandered her terrace in pain

Her friend had left her for another she never knew

Nikkin wondered on the woman's guise

She must have been the most radiant lady ever sculpted by the gods

for Nikkin realized that she was no wretch

and mostly pleasant to be in company with

She watched the harbor, for that is where he had gone far

It was, in fact the Lord Avedrom, who had forsaken her

The fool be damned for abandoning such a valiant lady

Not a trace had the man left, he just sailed fast, in ship of Garthan

Headed north towards the wild outpost there

Not a word had been spoken but for last angry oaths

For the scheming Avedrom had spoke hotly of the Queen's rebuttal

to his most prying question about her supremacy

How the two friends had quibbled over the matter!

And with bitter thoughts invading their heads they parted

Only then did the starred heroess discover her heart for the unfit man

Months she had gazed at the sea, awaiting his return

in a distraught then silent melancholy disposition

Her heart frozen, her mouth unspeaking, her mind slowed to a halt

Hoping for only the days to end or her companion's return

both wishing for and wishing not for the thought

to appear in the mist of early day over the grey port his ship

But no remedy did her most fervent prayers to the gods bring

She thought him a good man, pure in intention right in action

She did not know of his treachery until that fateful day

in the Month of Bleak Snows that a ship with black sails unfurled

rose over the horizon in the Harbor of Cristure in war-like vileness

She stood with her ever-tearstained face facing the black waters

The grey day hinted of snow, she shivered, wrapping tighter her shawl

Not of a chill but at the sight of the vessel headed to port

Nikkin, with her sharp as lightning sight, spotted the flag

the boat boar the emblem of Lemures, those dreaded evils

That were sent to the shadowy Tartarus whose symbol shone

two black snakes and a sword pierced eye between

And as the ship drew closer still, who should be perched

in black ermine and red fox tails and nail-studded boots

but Lord Avedrom, twisted sword black and curling thrust forward

to conquer the land of the Western Empire of Queen Milivalia

And the blade reflected in her view caused something to break

Pierced as if with the metal itself and the mighty Nikkin burst forth

out of her frozen shell of guilty despondency into vengeful fury

'Where have those many petty months of crying gone?

How foolish was I to torture unendingly my soul

into believing such cruel blasphemies of my faults!

Where is the witty Avedrom?

Where is the brilliant childhood friend?

The calm strength, the advisor, the wonderful plot-maker?

He stands not at the aid of our dear country,

but at the prow of the enemy's war-vessel!

Nikkin, you fool! An almost-year squandered in vain!

Look there! He stands with another!'

And she looked closer still and saw a wondrous woman

who possessed crow-black wings and a perfect frame

A face fit to make a Grecian marble maid weep of envy

Even blissful Aphrodite could not compare to this radiance

And it dawned upon the Starred Heroess that retaliation stirred

and consumed her and she flew to her bedchamber, upsetting her nurse

who spilt the herbal remedies on the woolen rug

'Rush! Haste! Haste! Maid, swift fly! The black ships this way sail!

Light the torches! Sound the horn! War! War! To Arms!'

madly screamed the Nikkin, Mighty and Authoritative

'You be daft, dear child, calm!

Be so kind as to spare us of your rantings, though it is good to hear

your voice, though cracked as it is. Shush, young lady. Your mother rests.'

The Ansia said in tones unsoothing to the war-ready Nikkin,

though try the old lady to calm her charge

'Spy for yourself the battle-ready ships that are in the harbor!

They come not of my imagination but of destructive plots!'

Ansia, unbelieving, glanced out onto the harbor and saw

a most frightening spectacle of a war vessel

outfitted with spikes and archer's ports with men,

Strong barbarian Walthredic horde members from the northern waste

and the maid stood frozen in terror at the eminent doom

as the Lord Avedrom raised his gilded horn to his lips

clear, deafeningly so, did the notes sound forth

Announcing the coming of the City's death

Behind spread a score of ships, appallingly outfitted so

skull trophies dangled from the mast beam of them all

and at this the nurse fainted dead away never to stir again

Nikkin, ears alert, heard the sound and knowing not

Began to yell with agonizing haste, a barrage of mandates

and when no bobbing servant head approached, she angrily bellowed

'Whereforth is my servant? Has she stopped to tend

the blooms at a time such as this? O shirker! Where be thou?'

And when she caught a looksee at the fallen woman

she was filled with remorse, but only for a fleeting moment past

but another trumpet blast revived her determination

With a crash she overturned her trunk sending

all manner of garments scattering across the floor at her feet

With a flick and a swish around her shoulders spread

a crimson coat of blessed silk and with further haste

the golden shoes of Themus appeared with twisting ties

upon her fleet feet as she out the room rushed

To the curio chest she flew and retrieved the Sword of Nathaninises

And she set for the harbor to smash down the infernal Avedrom

with his new demon lady. They shall be spread before her

Armed to the soul she unleashed her Quickspeed from his stable

And leaping upon his back with a cry, she sped to the palace proper

'Warn the Empress of Impending Ruin!' she cried at the gates

forcing the guards aside, stunned at her appearance, with ease

Horse and Rider appeared in the antechamber of the queen's study

And her Royal Highness presented herself at the frame

'Nikkin, blessed? How did thou venture here?

Be thou ill? Is your heart wanting? What merits this intrusion?'

Nikkin, seated on her stallion, replied

'Highness, my Lady, see there, out yonder window, look

and you shall see what Fate has brought to sit on our doorstep!'

And the queen looked and saw, her face growing pale

And taking up her bell, summoned Joduan to her side

'Quick sir! Deliver this to the left guard by the sea!

Tell whoever is in charge to ready for battle!

With all speed, GO!' and he did, Nikkin not far behind

The two rode like a tempest blows to the camp near the coast

though it was three leagues far by way a sparrow travels

and they reached it near dusk, too late, they feared

And they assembled the ranks and rode ahead

When the valiant city they reached, they found no hostilities

The ships seen bearing down where anchored on the Rethnonon Isles

where emanated a hellish red glow for fires and other things

For while they were afoot, it seems the enemy found distraction

Down within the depths of the Isles there resides a fabulous myth

a cave of unknown depths and it is there

in the dank darkness, that the plot was hatched

and the Imp, the Web-Weaver, began her hideous work

As she sat at her loom, she sang to the whir of the thread

'Sithlinci, Sithlinci, my dear,

Fear the dark, it harbors fear

Sithlinci, Sithlinci, my son,

Love the dark, Its work to be done

Here the chant, love sweet,

The whips slash, spears kill

Sithlinci, Sithlinci, beloved rose,

Hush, Hush, be so still.'

And she spun while the city slept in uneasy slumber

And the generals in their crested helmets prayed

To Hestia for her motherly advice but silence only greeted them

And the fathers down took their shields

Mothers calmed crying children with soft words

But any tense string, when pulled, will snap

The Noon Day Came with a Storm in the Air...

Who had slept late found he never would wake

for the world seemed stuck in a devilish idleness

and everything seemed to be a nightmare one could not escape

The regiment had formed most shabbily, a defense along the edge

of the water that glinted dully winking at them like it had a

the most frightful secret to tell but wouldn't say such as to what

And Nikkin paced back and forth in her yellow silk tent

fully armored in silver inlayed gold and stones

Sword of Light resting expectantly in the corner sheathed

Should they attack the traitors at their camp presently

or should they wait for the enemy to stir foremost to them?

The Westerners had no ships grand as those of the opposers

nor had they the strength to win head to head with the foe

Aloft in the heavens on the mount of the gods

Hestia watched as her favorite fire was dwindling

So she appeared to her kinsman, Crowned of Olympus saying,

'Sir, how much longer shall you overlook the plight below?

Blind are you, or merely unconcerned? Speak!'

Prodding him with the whiskbroom she held

Zeus, amused, answered her plea,

'Woman, I care not for this petty war,

but I shall ease your heart none the less. I shall call on Poseidon,

perhaps he has a sharable creature to lend your country.'

Hestia, unsatisfied, gave no thanks but descended into the depths

where Poseidon sat king and inquired about a aide for her heroess

'Have you a person with great strength, wisdom, agility, or skill

that you, O great Poseidon, could offer me for a time short?'

'Goddess, I have only naiads, Oceanids, and some useless mortals

turned to immortals, all profitless for your cause.'

The Emperor of Waters replied

The Hearth Keeper's temper flared, she sputtered with rage,

'Have you not Proteus? Have you not Triton?

Do not Nereus and Pontus answer to you? And what of them?

Have they suddenly found a better cause

than to protect their own waters? Answer me, Lord of the Sea!'

And her ember eyes glowed with spite

Seeing the Goddess's wrath close at hand, Poseidon said,

'Follow me, and see for yourself. I have none but those I said.

Them that you speak of are off tending to their own matters

who am I but their King? Kings cannot control their subjects fully,

not without risking anger and hardships. Here, take this young man.

He shall be of great help, I assure you. He shall be great.'

And unto the Hearth goddess he presented Palaemon, son of Leucothea

the once mortal. He was quiet in nature, versed in rhyme,

well proportioned, but quite plain of face

And the Sea King said,

'Take him to your country's ruler to aide in the defeat of their foes.'

And departed back to his watery throne.

Hestia looked upon the youth, and sighed,

'Child, you have been summoned to take to the waters of Cristure

Now go and do as you have been instructed.'

And she departed, leaving Palaemon to go about his business

He swam swift to the Isles, where he could see a light

of warm fires and the shadows of soldiers

and he surfaced and peered around him in dismay

These were not to whom he was sent, be certain

Strange three-legged beasts dragged spears to the grindstones

Wolves with man-heads sat up-right and ground meat and bones

Humans with glazed eyes drooled over their pipes

Nymphs, black as soot and cinders, danced maliciously around near the flames

Quick as Artimis's arrows, he dived back under,

swimming farther, to where he could see the lights of another city

So the sea man set foot on the land

He was unsteady, for a hundred summer seasons had passed

since his last step on Mother Earth, now foreign to him

He emerged in a new sea, of white linen, colored silks, and iron

It was dark still, for morning had not yet reached its fingers out

but his light could be seen dim in the east

And he walked silently among the encampment until he came to one

tent with the flickering light of many candles, and an open flap

Inside men and women stood huddled around the parchment map

uttering words low so none but themselves could hear

He entered and silently stood, unnoticed, by the iron stove

As he warmed he listened to the others, generals in his mind,

argue over plans for the coming day

'We should crush them now, in the dawning hours,

they shall have no warning, and we shall have Nix on our side.'

'Nay, Lord Jophinus, Nix has sided with them, they say it is so.

Wait till light, then we can send out spies to see their situation.'

'I too, disagree with you Jophinus. But I also regard Marnica's words

as unfit. We should let them move first.'

And the voices grew in magnitude trying to topple the other's

thoughts with sheer volume

Palaemon stood there till light spread and dawn awoke

and as the last sea-like appearance evaporated,

in whirled Nikkin, in her knightly war-armor strode

into the midst of their flying dispute

'Marnica, have you not seen the heavens?

Light brightens in the east and still no plan have we?

The day is here, upon us now,, and no plan has been elected?'

She said, concerned however impatient

'Nikkin, have not we toiled all night?

Have not we consulted the oracle, the stars,

even the gods themselves, to no avail?

We are either destined to fail or

win by some incredible blessing.'

Marnica the Dark replied to the accusation.

'Even I cannot contemplate a solution'

Jophinus interjected in the following silence

Anxiety perceived, Palaemon stepped forth

'Lords, Ladies, I believe the lady has an inspired notion'

And all turned to view the newcomer with surprise and suspicion

Nikkin, taken aback by the sight of a strange man

angered at his boldness, and intrigued by his statement said

'Indeed. I have such an idea. I should not wish to state it,

being as it may be false.'

'Do tell-' they said, but interrupted a distant bugle

'Haste! Haste!' they all said as they shoved and tripped

They charged out of the tent past the man of the sea

and off to the lines they went, mounting on horses

Palaemon following on foot

Slowly he plodded, his sore, tender feet, dragging

Never in one hundred years had he walked so much as that day

For a league he wandered in the tracks of the horses

for the Deaps had shifted the front northward in the night.

'Oh, accursed fee!' he wailed 'If only the water lapped closer,

could I find peace in the cool kingdom of the Waterlord!'

Then upon him descended the answer to his suffering

'Fool! Walk not to the battle by land, but walk to the sea and swim!'

As the bitter Palaemon switched his course,

Nikkin bright upon her horse sat with grumblings on how goes the battle

They reached the front seconds in time

for at the moment of their advent charging Snipes did attack

With a scream and a spring, off flew Nikkin from her steed

Diving deliciously into the fray slashing and slicing

The sword staining silver to blood as she went

Her captains near side but one, who had fallen

Flaymon gasped for help, but only came Sleep and his brother Death

He trembled at them and shied, but they did not claim him

The placed him on their cart and hauled him to the hidden tower

Of the Dapth city in the thorns and therein presented him to their mistress

Where the Madame sat on her cold chair, she greeted him

'Great Flaymon, star of the west, come and sit by my side

Take drink! Servant, bear wine! Drink we to your health!'

And with a wave and a word, his wounds mended, and he sat near her

With a clap, the candles burned brighter still, and appeared Nymphs

Who danced for him in a most disgusting way, and he laughed and watched

For unknown to him, the poison works fast, polluting him mind and soul

Now in that frey, which Nikkin was warring, there was another too

but no death did he bring by weapons and such

instead he killed with words for he was Imps suitor, Mouse, so called

and he was not in the battle to fight, no, he was to bring The Secret

to his dark mistress in the city of stone

And he had found it not yet, so he went to the camp deserted

in the city by the harbor to find his prize

Nothing met his eyes but flapping sheets and broken lances

so he searched every tent with care

He ignored the white ones and attacked the crested ones

for he cared not for soldiers, but for their commands

Till, in one such tent, of yellow silk, he found his treasure

and he ferreted it back to the Madame quick as silver

The Madame looked at the sword with fascination

The metal dulled, the leather handle unwound,

the stones rattled in their casings. 'How strange,'

said she with the staff, 'That something so tarnished

could alter the course of the future.' and she let it fall

sucking into the mud encasing the blade

The revelries increased to chaos and with a crash

they evaporated and off all inhabitants of the Dapth moved to war

For they knew now who was keeping the battle even

and they also now knew how to end it

So they poured forth like water from a pitcher overturned

flowed like poison into the veins of the Alram army

fighting like bulls before slaughter, killing right and left

and then appeared Murkina in her black gowned glory

she began to slash down the Alram defenses like they were ribbons

And then she saw her chance, swooping down upon Marnica

she backed her with her tricks, pinning her with Sym the Black

and the half-witted but strong Andry

to keep her engaged, and then she fought her way to Nikkin

Sinister said she,

'Heroess of the West, let us duel!'

and they fought, Nikkin with her common sword,

Madame with her staff of magic

Then appeared Palaemon, late as he was,

running through the brawling crowd to give Nikkin his find

It seems he swam a might too far and came upon the Dapth

castle of evil and therein found the Sword, lying in the muck

He retrieved it and went back, and, finding the battle hanging perilously

tossed the Sword to Nikkin, who caught the leather handle well

As she fought, it glowed, glimmering to give hope

Nikkin seemed to be winning, when then she heard a shriek

and turned to watch as an arrow embedded into Marnica deep

Her heart for her friend tried to drag her there to aid the woman

but her mind countered, 'kill the evil one, win the war!'

She spend a preciously foolish moment debating, then turned fully

to help her friend live, but alas, she paused to long, and Murkina

plunged her sharp staff into Nikkin's back with a triumphant cry

And the Imp wove in a thread of tarnished bronze into her web

'Hush, brave warrior, damned we are, damned you shall be as well.'

And Nikkin fell into the bloody ground with a sigh

as a mere distance away fell also her friend

casualties of Nikkin's delay

But Poseidon's servant was not to be forgotten

for he swooped in and grasped the Sword of Light

and stabbed the Madame as she leaned over to admire her doing

And with a sigh, out flew the spirit of the evil Murkina de Slivlisi

and as it arose it sucked all of the souls of its followers with it

Off into the night they flew off into the tangles and thorns

Off went Murkina, Sym, Andry, the Mouse, Flaymon

Ashflia (the one whose arrow killed Marnica), and all the others

But what of the Imp and Avedrom?

Even as the Sword wielded by Palaemon struck their Empress,

Avedrom left his regimen of night beasts to do evil's bidding

for his heart had grown hard, and power called

He slunk to the cave bottom, where Imps sat weaving

and taking his twisted blade, drove it into the Web-weaver

for in his mind, she was the wall between his destiny and him

With that done, he sat to weave his own ideas into the cloth

but as his fingers alighted on the thread,

he suddenly found his flesh dissolved

for none but the Imp ever mastered the art of Lies, and he wasted away

Slowly turned to ashes grey

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