Conspired nightmares cloaked in glory;
Waved battle banners hung bestowed ribbons:
Medallion cordage for hang-man’s hawser.
Act I: The Prince
Quixotic in bloodline heir secured fortress kingdom,
Sovereign of serfs wishing well his sortie,
Knight-errant his maxim: Deus Misereatur
His Noble Lord Hail! Heard from high harness.
Beloved Sebastian, save his Saint namesake,
On quest for God’s chosen His country and truth.
Devout in His purpose from pious church deference,
Benedictions in sermon sprung psalms up inside him.
A noted church elder renowned as a prophet,
Came forth with a presage portend to soul-sanctum:
The seer said sounds, surreal and hypnotic,
Clattered warring sounds, the hidden magic of metal,
Would sickle through sanity to sense swindle mores.
Being born of flame and mill-beaten violence,
Hammer clanged iron would brand mark its fervor.
Forewarned of war madness, he firmed down his sallet,
Clutched tightly sage Psalter and steadfast his valor.
Act II: The Battle
Potential usurpers, free and untethered,
Would-be seizures of Zion, base scoundrels all,
Had conscripted an army poised for king conquest.
Low-brow attackers matched well-borns on highland.
Marched on until midday, a meadow too placid
For royal line foray swung into full opus:
Battling drums droned out blow beating dolor.
Barbed arrows sung of bow bending splendor
(Proud whistles of wood loosed of world woe!)
Harrowing shrieks sounded on the assault,
The front of the siege frauding back of the mind.
Broadswords in bicker backhanding blood honor
Their gauntlet-forced gambits grew hot foughten fields!
Brown leather scabbards, side lancet sheathing,
Hind quarters lashed in riding crop rhythm.
Bridle reins squeaked under leash bit straining,
As violin strings strummed over raised horsehair,
Heavy bound headstalls too taut for the heat.
Black bleating destriers, plumed shafrons all bowing,
Strapped clappers a hoofing, foot soldiers a’howling,
Steel scorched, the wind weeping rain tears set cloud bursting:
All heart song deceivers!
Those harkened below,
Once betwixt the blade skirmish, endured of state slaughter,
Heaps of reaped soldiers lay hugged by rose heather.
The southern based forces, battalion bereft,
Succumbed to the struggle, sought truce with the ruler,
Champion of principle, counsel of peace.
A war-lording captain appeared lone to his captor,
Resigned of rank failure while flanked from all sides.
Victory as splendid as raised gladiator shields shining
Like looking glass mirrors encircling the moor
Made head turn his majesty vaulted chevrons in heed.
Magnified and magnific met he in the middle.
The hot metal amalgam of tinned music harshness
Amid blue blooded killing had bubbled to vertex
At quartered arms salute. Cool quintessence quickened.
Vulgar auricle assassins drowned divine affirmations
As quiet church reverence reversed and commuted.
Inner ear incantations incited chest palpitations:
Heart pounded out pauldrons proved soul’s quid pro quo.
The credulous believing captain, bent downward in capitulation,
Word genuine, his oath extended, paid lord homage, genuflected,
Exoneration at Lord’s behest ex aequo et bono,
Solemnly requested. Awaited he reprieve with
Rosaries and reverence, reassured the Romanistic view
Would vindicate: Veritas Vos Liberabit.
Act III: The Confrontation
Hanging in ceremony, rare heirloom jeweled hipsword,
A firstling cross forged unfoibled and flawless,
Glinted while twirling, gibed lethal last glimpse.
Sprung forth without forethought, slashed forward sleight fisted
A flash of lives twain flicked out in an instant!
The neive-weilding weapon ran wanton while captain
Reared back from his kneeling relieved of his caput.
The ruse of reason, so rational, so sure,
Yet easily offhanded overpowered, overthrown
By officious natures now come uncovered.
Such original instincts odious and forgotten
Mock their lucid creel, make men recant, befouled.
His headship had severed from he deep within:
Held sway his heart’s merit now held lone his knife.
Stealth jongleurs of soul jeopardy
Inverted vae victis to vae victor
Foresaken faith apogee had turned antipode’s favor.
Archfiend released when he saw whose hand held it,
Doused in the pool whence displayed his deceit,
Pictured the man now mirage of this wetland
Blade grazed above dazed eyes held agape.
In that ash swirl of visage and vision
As ripples retreated and all became still,
He continued his stare blank countenance unchanged
As both sword and vexations emerged from the shallows.
There, the pallid haunt that did pierce him
Lay plain face to face: so familiar that image,
Obscured middlemost, mirrored life likeness,
Beamed bronze, red, and blue, brow baptized and blessed,
Saber swung to-and-fro, crown ready and schooled,
Blade bent hoaxed the tarn, headmost of his homeland
Found his forehead steel stuck and forever scythe sealed.
The clerical prophecy of stigmata cursed steel,
Birthmarked in pain amid bellows of peal,
Had remembered its promise to imprint a proxy.
Within the sultry twilight where skulking shadows swell
Amid quills of sunlit rays lay captured the sheer aura.
Mad silence was split. Still army surrounded
Bedeviled mind bedlam beleaguered their leader:
What hell-diesinker, damnable engraver,
Inscribed his diesis upon thy doomed brow?
Ribald bloody, rebus! Rage of thy heart song!
Plague on thy soul! Shame of thy namesake!
…. Courage Sebastian. Assemble a council.
Act IV: Summit at the Castle
Send for physicians, skilled surgeons,
Healers of every sort. Summon scholars,
Apothecaries and alchemists!
Extract a mind philter from lamp-fueled alembics and
Expunge this dread ore with their distilled chelate oils.
Swathe a sconce poultice, a pinna-pacified physic,
Applied under whispers of fey wonder workers.
Ward off the sword shrillness, the tom-toms and war whoops
And drown out the demons that dance to their din!
Clairvoyants among you invoke a catharsis.
See what I’ve seen; trace back every step:
Bestride bridle paths, revisit the bloodshed,
Recount our triumph, then reroute me rightly;
Bridge this debacle and bring me back home.
No bridges were built and no swaddled bolsters.
No antidotes founds to assuage this furor.
I shall go back myself to brace my beginning.
Act V: The Fountain
Heaven transfixed, false hearted, and faith helixed,
Standing Kris dagger riven and dark crimson cleaved,
He heard his heart’s clamor thrust off his blood armor
And prayed to be clean: I call upon the patron
And the symbol of my faith: Fellow soldier, strength spirit,
Whose name I share and who knows all too well
The taste of a steely tip; O, praised servant of God,
Redeemer of pestilence, defender of the persecuted,
Does the sacrament flow from your baptismal font?
Can your waters cool that which cannot be tempered?
Is the promise of restoration proved with each skyward surge?
Then spout merciful salvation thou martyr blessed fountain!
Betimes seek divine intercession, Saint Sebastian.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Hawser – a large rope used for towing
Deus Misereateur- God be merciful
Sallet – medieval helmet
Gauntlet – a medieval glove
Foughten – a fighting scene
Headstall – the part of the bridle that encompasses the head
Destrier – a war horse
Shaffron – head defense for a horse
Pauldron – shoulder armor
Quid pro quo – one thing in return for another
Ex aequo et bono – according to the principle of fairness and good
Veritas vos liberabit – truth will liberate you
Jongleur – a medieval entertainer
Vae victis – woe to the vanquished
Vae victor – woe to the victor
Apogee – the highest or most distant point
Antipode – a direct or exact opposite
Tarn – a small mountain lake or pool
Scythe – a long curved blade
Diesinker – an engraver of dies for stamping or embossing
Diesis – the mark of the double dagger used in printing
Ribald – irreverent, mocking, or abusive speech
Rebus – an enigmatic representation of a word or phrase by pictures or symbols
Physiognomist – one who determines a person’s character from the features of the face
Thaumaturgist – one who works wonders or miracles
Theurgist – one who uses a system of magic aided from communication with deities
Apothecary – a druggist; a pharmacist
Alchemist – one who practices the art which sought to transmute baser metals into gold, find a universal solvent, and find the elixir of life
Philter – a magic potion
Alembic – a vessel used for distilling, transforming, purifying, or refining
Chelate – to use a binding agent to remove heavy metals
Swathe – to wrap a bandage
Sconce – the head or skull
Poultice – a soft, moist mass of herbs applied as a medicine
Pinna – the auricle of the ear
Physic – a medicine that purges
Kris dagger – a prized asymmetrical dagger noted for its wavy blade