(An Epic Tale of the Fall of Man.)
“And with these words, Raethia, whose name is Justice,
lifted away his spirit to end his suffering and darkness covered his eyes.
Sorrow took my heart as a dozen thundering Clypmeons came winging by to watch Nasseus’ soul lift itself to Sarsus’ Keep.
I slaughtered two with my blade and sent their golden blood splashing to the ground.
I would have made an offering to Klemnos, but just as my blade finished its fatal plunge, a scorpion eased its way out from under a rock.
The omen had been sent from high atop the godly range by Klemnos whose vengeance is the earth.
I mounted my horse and beckoned my men to follow suit, but just as I did, a Lytheon came screaming down upon us from high above,
its two heads gnawing and gnashing at the air,
with a pike in its hands.
I ordered my men to flee and swiftly plucked my bow from the cradle where it slept.
I slipped a shaft out from my quiver
and sent its stinging bolt flying up toward the heavens and pierced the beast straight through the throat.
It tumbled from the sky and wrecked its carcass upon the earth.
“We then took to our flight away from the killing fields as fast as we could go.
I have no notion of what pursued us on our way–
or how many–
for my heart was filled with grief.
What began with a hundred thousand men ended with a little over one hundred strong at arms and almost half that many wounded.
Nobel men lay slain by the commoners,
generals were cut to rest down by their troops,
and countless heroes sat lifeless,
all before my eyes.
My own contingent with whom I fled, twenty strong at arms and half as many wounded,
stood separated by their slain brethren by only the finest line:
The life within their veins.
“Serses, white haired king of Sar,
I fled a battle no man could win at the pleading of my prophet whose life was cut so short!
Do you chastise me now for heeding a dead man’s wish?
Or shall I order my men to leave the gates of Sar and forfeit their privilege as your honored guests?
I shall depart without telling you of the words Teides himself had said!”