''Tserai (Ikhnon VIII)'' - A poem by John Eric Gulliksen


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Copyright by John Eric Gulliksen
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TSERAI (Ikhnon VIII)
a poem by John Eric Gulliksen

SOME time after it came to pass
that the blackness which filled the brain of Ikhnon
became pierced
first by a searing knot of pain
and then a kind of pastel coolness
that soothed and eased his hurt
and Ikhnon did then open him his eyes

And the sight which swam into clarity gladdened the heart of Ikhnon
for he beheld a woman of wondrous beauty
who sponged his fevered brow
and breathed a mystical word
to send him into a deep and untroubled slumber

Later
when the sun had completed his westerly journey thrice again
Ikhnon arose from his pallet of herbs
to stand freshened upon his feet and greet his benefactress

and he quoth:

-O wondrous being
O fairest nymph of elvish perfection
this, thy humble servant, doth entreat thee
tell me, if thou wilt,
from whence came I to be within this place?
and for what reason thou didst take pity upon me
to relieve me of my torture-

And the goddess answered in flute-like voice, saying

-O man!
I be Tserai
daughter of he that once was king of all these lands
and of a wood-sprite, my mother,
whom my father, the king, took by force
from the glens which do surround the shining mountains

It has been my task, these years
(albeit a rewarding one)
to succor those struck by misfortune
and to bring them comfort
for in this manner I do hope to atone
for the sins of the king, my father,
and to ease the rest of my mother
where she sleepeth within the earth-

-And what of me, O princess of mercy?
From whence came I?-
quoth Ikhnon anew

And Tserai did reply, saying

-I can tell you but this, O man!
These things did thou speak of
whilst thou wert beset with fever

Thy name be Ikhnon
once a mighty warrior within a distant land
and thy quest be to find reason for being-

And memory did then fly back unto Ikhnon
and he cried aloud

-'S true!-

And the woman did continue

-When it came about that I found thee
thou wert laying upon the ground
trashing about and frothing at the mouth
screaming of a hammer in tones of abject terror-

-Ah yes!- replied Ikhnon

-This hammer of which I spake be one Molnir the Hammer
a seemingly ensorcelled artifact which I did find upon my journey
some months before

And Molnir the Hammer did warn me, saying
that having drank of the waters of Llevon I had become accursed
and he did then try to slay me
(O wicked instrument of demons!)-
v But Tserai did then enjoin him, saying

-O man!
Thou knowest not of what thou speak!
for the waters of Llevon be truly bewitched!
and thou, having drank of them,
would be caused to see all manner of things
which in fact would not be of truth

For this I say unto thee:
that the runes inscribed upon yon hammer
(which, by my magic, I may understand)
speak of Molnir the Hammer as a noble instrument
imbued of life by age-old wisdom
carried for ages by the Storm God
and forged in times past
for the ultimate and principal purpose
of aiding thee upon thy quest

And this I also say unto thee, O foolish one!
When first did I come upon thee, writhing in thy misery,
Molnir the Hammer was posted a guard over thee
and would let none approach thee, not even I!
until first had I spake the trust-words
which I had from my mother before the sleep took her

Be wise, O Ikhnon!
Cast thou not the hammer aside!
Let it give counsel unto thee and fear it not!-

And Ikhnon, contrite to his very soul,
did reach out and grasp the smooth haft of Molnir the Hammer
and felt new strength flow into his limbs
and thanking the beauteous woman
he prepared to go anew upon his way

Then Tserai did speak again in parting, saying

-O Man!
This counsel may I give unto thee
Search thou also for thyself
for in this finding thou mayest also fulfill thy quest-

And having spake thus
Tserai did fade into mists\and was gone

And Ikhnon, filled with wonder,
turned his face unto the hills
and continued on his journey