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The Song of Halav

by George Hrabovsky

"Once there were, a long time ago,
a people blessed by the Immortals.
The Traldar were given the Great Forest."

"The Traldar lived simply and were happy,
they fished the sea and hunted the forest,
mostly they were fair and worshipped the Immortals."

"Unknown to men, a darkness had gathered,
far to the west, the beastmen grew.
They were coming for spoils, for land, and for slaves."

"The Immortals of the beastmen were matched
by those of the Traldar, they battled much
but neither side would yield, the battle was a draw."

"As one, one both sides it became clear,"
to avoid annihilation there was only one way,
the battle would be decided by mortals!"

"To Lavv, a village of men, now lost,
The Immortals came to find those to lead.
They chose clever youths to teach their secrets."

"Halav, Red-Hair, was the first to be chosen,
a maker of stone knives he was clever.
To make armour and arms of bronze he was taught."

"Lovely Petra, Halav's lover, was next in the line,
a maker of pottery and arts was she.
To make bows, to weave, and to heal did she learn."

"Wild Zirchev was last, the Immortals to see,
a master hunter and trapper was he.
The secrets of forests and beasts was he taught."

"The three, gathered by the Immortals, were told,
of the approach of the beastmen.
The three told their people, who refused to hear."

"The King of Lavv had the three brought to him,
he scoffed, and laughed, dishonouring all.
Halav slew him with a stroke of his bronze sword."

"King Halav, Queen Petra, and Zirchev the Hunter,
taught the people their secrets.
The villages joined and swelled into cities."

"Halav became a great hero, a just and kind ruler,
his fairness became widely known.
To him came all cities, a mighty nation was born."

"The tide of the beastmen then broke over them,
upon the bronze of their armour it broke.
The numberless horde had arrived, the war went on."

"As the eternal battle raged on, it was said,
for every gleaming suit that was rent,
a dozen of their dark foes had gone down."

"Then it happened, as the fates had required.
King Halav, in his bronze, found his great foe.
He was wolf-headed and twice the height of a man."

"The axe of the beast met the bronze sword of Halav,
the echoes rang out and all stopped to watch.
The two warriors danced, wove, and struck."

"For hours they fought, to the cheers of their soldiers,
both sides marvelled at the stamina shown.
Neither would yield and neither would fall."

"When neither could raise their weapons or move,
a halt was called and both rested and drank.
Halav spoke well of his foe, who spoke well of Halav."

"The two rose to fight, the tension was great,
they battled again, would it end this time?
The battle raged, then one final blow did they strike!"

"The two armies looked on, both clearly stunned,
the two leaders were dead, confusion reigned.
The beastmen faltered, the Traldars barely held."

"As the beastmen retired, Petra met Zirchev,
together they bore Halav home to Lavv.
In Lavv the pyre burned, the people wept."

"The three were seen no more by men,
Petra and Zirchev joined Halav.
The Immortals bore them away, to return again,
some day..."