A dank, dark, desolate place. I met him
for the first time there. Thorn. Beneath
melting snow, rank rotting greens, this
smell oozing from my pores with the fear.
The old king’s hall, where the monster
feasts. You can read of such places,
but to stand within reach…
A stir of breeze, soft beyond high hall
timbers (darker loom against fading stars)
and then the voice in my ear: You can’t
trust her. My heart leaps (yes, against bone-cage)
as his wild, sly face appears—a man. Merely
a man. Sir Alwin, he says, mocking. Her pet name
for you? Elf-friend, you will save no one tonight.
Shriek of door hinges, flash of light. His hand
on my arm as I start forward, fumbling
for the horn. From the hall, a gurgling scream,
clash and clatter of weapons or of benches
wrenched from the floor. From Thorn, a sigh.
She’s a patent liar. Ask her if that’s not true.