From the earth, now taking shape
Their skulls discoloured, jaws agape
Beneath take form weapons of rust
Awaiting rest, return to dust
Black pits size up a battlefield
Their memories, in cold blood killed
Their iron sings a song of hate
To kill the killer, a twist of fate
Before them stand high walls of stone
Their bodies sing the tune of bone
An endless march, their armor screams
With clanks of metal, and woven seams
The archers ready, knights' steps— a flood
The paladins, now out for blood
Their home destroyed, at gruesome price
Now they return, dragged feet scrape ice
A melody, the winter plays
The leading skull raises a mace
It turns around and they heed order
To breach the walls, the only border
A wave of steps with even pace
The gate, they reach. The wood, they face
The mace strikes first— it won't collapse
Fellow knights follow— logs turn relapse
A single skull, a crack it fits
And it sees life, a flesh that breathes
Its thirst is startled and others sense
Closer they draw, fresh blood burns tense
A scream signals unknown approach
Their hearing pleased, hate must encroach
Stone walls surrounding walking meat
Wood decorates knights' bony feet
Flesh takes refuge in nearby church
Death's steps are heavy and prayers urge
Their hate unleashed, town is demolished
Their skulls dyed red, from life abolished
A former hate takes slight subside
Since former home, wrath of their tide
Once filled with life, now cemetery
The only movement, existence aery
Purpose fulfilled, this realm they thieved
Towards the gate, a mark retrieved
They take a flag that once was theirs
And march towards the land of scarce
None leave their arms, mace leads with flag
Part of themselves, like feet they drag
They lived in iron, in rust have died
Adorned by metal, as such they lied
As such they rose to claim revenge
Their painful torture to avenge
The spoils of war, to grave returned
Snow now puts out the town they've burned
They've left behind a mark of wrath
A land of flesh, their weapons carved
Keep guard for town, rob breath they found
in life and death, forever bound
The earth unearthed, beds of their end
Their knees before them, weakened, bend
They fall in chambers of soil and rust
Skulls disappear and rest in dust
* * *
A piece of news— 'His town, a target?!'
A young boy speaks— 'Words flood the market.'
The aging King can not believe
His wrinkled hands shake golden seat
Two scornful eyes pierce through his son
His reputation, glory, gone!
'A town, King ruled, has been besieged!'
'By unknown troops, its gates they breached!'
The news has spread through every town
His teeth— a grind. His brows— a frown
He must behead the daring foes
And have their corpse feasted by crows
He wants to see a rotting head
His army known terrain must tread
They must reclaim what had been lost
In fear to march, their lives— at cost
'The senile claim that they were dead,'
'Had bones for feet, skulls for a head!'
Such words they heard— their minds abrade
And can not help but be afraid
'How would one kill... kill what is dead?'
'Would they still move, had they no head?'
The king rose up, his shout was clear
'Do not believe all that you hear!'
'Must be their plot to weaken you.'
'We must not let wild claims go through!'
Outside, the winter runs so wild
Their only path with frost is piled
'We understand, Almighty King!'
'We will tread land, we'll face cold sting!'
'Our glory rise! Our foes will fall!'
'Their heads will see this very hall!'
A march, an echo of loud steps
The sound displays their game of keps
Their boots depart through heavy snow
And what awaits— they think they know
Before long while, stone will stand tall
Before their sight will be a wall
But to arrive before the gate
Their trip will pass terrain of fate
* * *
A hymn of life, no song of bones
Fares through the land of dirt and stones
The skulls are once again disturbed
Their lasting mark left none perturbed
They left a warning— 'Stay away!'
Yet they, again, returned today
A pair of bones rose from the ground
Their resting place, a former mound
Unfortunate, the King's guards saw
A single mace and stared in awe
They could not scream, fear-twisted ruth
What they were seeing was pure truth
The territory which they tread
Is nothing but a land of dead
The bones that are so cursed with hate
Bones that should rest beneath stone slate
Are spread across the snowy fields
Soon to become armies of fiends
Weapons appear out of thin air
Guards fill with anger, fear, despair
They are surrounded, no place to go
If skulls drew close, life will forgo
'Now there is but a single choice!'
The Captain shouts in shaky voice
'With death in hand, today we dance!'
The Captain raises iron lance
They are about to sing a play
Their instruments must pierce and slay
Should they return with empty hands
The King himself will have their heads
Should they return with all their bones
The King himself will praise these ones
A single sign is all they need
But young ones in the back must plead
'Captain, but what if we die today?'
'Will not our bodies rot away?'
'Will not our souls become so cursed...'
'In this lone land so untraversed?'
'I'd rather die by the King's wrath!'
'Than fare throughout this cursed path!'
The Captain is feeling the same
Would live in shame, not die in fame
'I understand, words that you speak.'
'The situation is bleak.'
'But we must fight to stay alive.'
'And for a lengthened life must strive!'
The Captain's words has woken up
The realisation of the troupe
With weapons gripped, they grit their teeth
Advance with arms, with shaky feet
The Captain lunges with his lance
In order to commence a dance
But sadly there's no girl ahead
No ladies, but undead instead
His lance pierces the skull of one
Its skull cracks open— reaches stone
But as the skull returns to dust
Its bony hand reaches to thrust
An iron mace painted by rust
This living being soon to oust
Their land defiled by feet of flesh
Whose hands and arms came just to mesh
To send a message from the King
An end to painful rest to bring
A mace reaches the captain's throat
In time so short, blood starts to coat
To paint his armor, leather cloth
Grim, red display wakes army's rout
But they still had nowhere to go
A cruel trial they undergo
The bones advance in for a charge
Purge flesh in endless deadly march
The snow was red, a sea of blood
The sun shone bright, where corpses stood
The guards will suffer lack of rest
And someone must speak of their quest
A hundred years mark ten decades
Even today, the mark remains
Their story is now being told
Their story, part of Odes of Old