Swan Song

***Originally posted 12/15/15***

In continuing the pattern of my last two blog posts I’m going to post another narrative poem, this one set in my primary fantasy world albeit on a continent far away from my usual setting.  I wrote this in high school, and have not edited it once.  So yeah, its really awful.  Its intended as a song of legend among the birdpeople of the continent(what can I say, I’ve always been fascinated by birdpeople), and one of the horrible rookie mistakes I made is that I included made up words from the language of said birdpeople(they call themselves Aviarn because my high school self was even worse at coming up with names than I was, hence this poem’s title as well) which only serves to obscure the meaning of most lines.  My high school (idiot) self was at least smart enough to list footnotes complete with numbers to clarify this, but still too dumb to realize how referring to footnotes breaks up the flow.  Beyond this I used a peculiar beat and rhyming pattern as a way of trying to create a feel for this culture and its odd music.  I feel I failed horribly in this attempt.

Anyway, without further self-critique I’ll go ahead and present it in all its unedited horror.  I’m going to try to do some editing this week so I can present you with a much improved version by next week.

Part 1:  Discovery and Justice

Two screelas(1) were brought before us;

Both knelt and prayed for mercy.

Wit the wisdom of his Highness(2)

Screela loyalty was pledged

To recover that holiest

Of all the great Halacies.(3)

One screela went, one screela stayed

To ensure that their vow was upheld.

Home given, screela prison made

Despite King’s invitation.

Deukes(4) passed, searching screela betrayed

His vow to find Halacy,

Even as the other obeyed.

Home screela saw our nation

And was shocked by the acceptance

Even as searching screela was caught.

Brought before our King for penance

In his vast wisdom our Great King sought

The judgement the home screela thought ought

To be placed on his friend for his plot.

Part 2:  Love and Betrayal

One screela was brought among Keld(5)

To witness our Halenince.(6)

It was by Althest(7) he was felled,

When her beauty he did spot.

Seuke(8) passed before he first did yield

And made effort to convince

Althest to come and be with him.

Pursuing responsibility,

Althest would always reject him,

Pushing him to progression

Into his quest for great wisdom.

He learned much from our Sartkeld(9),

Noomkes(10) of what would befall them,

Soon he returned to action.

In winning Althest’s heart he stayed

Until in his passioned arms he held

Althest in a primal embrace.

Again and again passion propelled

Til in her guilt she spoke of their deed.

Althest was sentenced to death, and her screela exiled.

Part 3:  War and Hope

Screela free and enraged, found free

His past screela companion.

Together they raised troops to free

Althest, disguised as a raid.

His once friend plotted against he

Who wold fight for his love’s aid

But punishment to his friend wield.

Scores of screela came into our sheltnance(11)

Without any march or guard felled

With haste Warriors(12) sprang to aid

But too soon our defeat was knelled

As knowledge of the legion

Defeated those whom they assailed.

Traitorous friend led to raid,

Thus the exile realized the plot,

And led honored screela to stop him.

The battle was fierce, magic hot.

Screela and King did at last kill him,

But the King(13) he did take with him.

Exile returned, Althest restored, the Swan from them born.(14)

*An explanation of terms native to the Aviarn language.

1. Screela is a term used by the Aviarns to describe various peoples.  Its meaning can be primarily listed as four main things: derogatory term for a human; thief; one who has no honor; and the one who brought forth salvation.  This last meaning would seem not to fit unless this bardsong is taken into account(it was in fact my delving into the origin of this definition which led to discover the Swan Song.)

2.  This is a reference to the most legendary of the Aviarns’ High Kings, Kavelian Msochiv.

3.  The term Halacy refers to a shrine or holy relic.  The Great Halacies are a collection of the five most important and powerful such pieces in the Aviarn’s catalog.  The one referred to in this passage is the Swan Shrine, which is the only article devoted to the worship of love, romantic and otherwise.

4.  Deukes is a term used to mean a few years, which is usually 3 to 5 years, but according to my research it refers to a 2 year span in this passage.

5.  Keld is a term of respect given to all of the various Aviarn priesthoods.

6.  The term Halenince is used to refer to any religious ritual performed by a member of the Keld.  This passage is undoubtedly meant to mainly focus on the joining ritual performed by the Althest of the Pesartkeld.

7.  Althest is the highest term of respect which may be given to any Aviarn, higher even than the Kingship.  This is because there is only one Althest born into each of the race’s populated townships.  Among these few lucky babies only one is considered to be a full blooded Althest.  They are trained to be the High Priestess’ of the Pesartkeld(the fertility sect), and placed into appropriate temples upon an opening of position.  The purest blood of the Althest order is placed in the Pesartkeld’s main temple located in Kuvairn.

The Althest are considered to be the strength and purity of their church, and are burdened as such.  They are responsible for the performance of all joining and fertilization rituals.  They are also responsible for maintaining the sanctity of their temple and its rituals.  They are required to breed only with the Pesartkeld in order to perpetuate the Althest line.

Any disobedience to these religious laws means that the temple has become unpure and must be purified.  The only means of purification is the execution of the offender.  Since the events of this tale, the restrictions on mating and joining for Althests have been relaxed tremendously, and they are often ignored altogether by the religious community.

8.  Seuke is the Aviarn word for a year.

9.  Sartkeld is used to refer to the more family oriented religious sects such as fertility, life, and love.

10.  Noomkes can be used to describe anything along the lines of fools or general foolishness, ignorance, or similar lack of knowledge or rational thought.

11.  Sheltnance is a term used in reference to the inner sanctum of an Aviarn city, which contains the temples of all the religious sects, manors and palaces of the ruling caste, and in its very center the palace-fortress of the King.  In this case it obviously refers to the massive sheltnance of Kuvairn.

12.  This writer is using the term Warriors to refer to the military of Kuvairn.  This was not uncommon among the Aviarn of the time, many of whom considered the only fighting men of any worth to be those of their own race, kingdom, or even city.

13.  History records that the King never recovered from the wounds suffered in that battle, but died a few moments after witnessing the birth of the first Swanchild, finally succumbing to his grievous injuries.  During the last month he disobeyed every Council save the Warrior’s caste by giving the screela and Althest sanctuary in his home, so as to prevent any punishment being brought upon the couple.  It was in this month that the two lovers were officially joined in a ritual overseen by another township’s Althest.

14.  This was the first such child to be born to any Aviarn, and was the one race missing from the Aviarn’s religious caste.  Before this point in history, Aviarn society had only a shrine of love, known as the Swan Shrine, which was lost forever at the beginning of this tale.  With the Swanchild’s birth however the missing priesthood could finally be filled, resulting in radical changes throughout all of Aviarn society.  If it were not for the Swan priests, I sincerely doubt if Aviarn-Human relations could have progressed as far as they have today.

No one, not even the Aviarns, have a full comprehension of the true powers of the Swan priests, but they are rumored to be capable of feats beyond the abilities of some of the most powerful magi and priests, as well as having more skill in combat than some of the greatest fighting men.  I myself cannot support such rumors, as I have never witnessed any spectacles of either type from any member of the Swan priesthood, but out of respect for them I will not dismiss these rumors as ridiculous.  They do seem to have an ability, whether natural, supernatural, or trained, to give a sense of inner warmth and calming to any in their presence.  I have seen many a Man and Aviarn ready to kill only to then behold a Swan priest/priestess enter, at which point the infuriated party instantly becomes as kind as one who holds their opponent to be a dear friend or loved one.

On such a note my explanation of certain elements and backgrounds of the Swan Song shall come to a conclusion.  Farewell friends.  – From the writings of Stephen Msochiv Bardlord, greatest of the human bards.


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