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by Heiner "Stuttgart" Plotzlich

Althasia, sweet land adrift,
Trembling from weight of war,
strife, rape, and death.

Into this sad world,
Trevor Nor,
two decades and one of age
lived his rueful life.

"Zarrah, what sorrow you
place upon my brow.
Cruel deaths of my beloved
have I seen.
I implored, begged, and cried to you
with full voice,
Lift this horrid veil
from my land.
Your response was the silence of statues,
the stony wind of night.

"Zarrah, explain yourself!
I defy you to justify this wretchedness
heaped upon my land.
Zarrah, you are a coward."

Before Trevor Nor was placed
a raft of lamb's skin, oak, and twine.
Nor held the vessel in his eye,
took the challenge, and moved to sea.

First, a glorious shore,
then a speck of land,
finally a tepid memory.
Althasia faded from his view.

Alone, at sea, Trevor Nor meditated
on his fate.
"Zarrah, to me this vile journey
have you given. I take it
gladly, and repeat my protestations.
My beloved Althasia suffers while you,
God fool, are felt nowhere.

The sea roiled.
Vicious wind and rain lashed
at the face of brave Trevor Nor.
"Do what you will. You are a coward!"
A great beast appeared from the water.
Nor slew it with his blade.
"Was that you, Zarrah?"
The seas calmed. A small sea goose flew past.
"Very good, my friend," it spoke.

The city shone in oplantic fire
Its spires seemed to reach
heaven Garthigg itself.
Trevor Nor stared in wonder.

"This cannot be. I am at sea,
cast adrift from my beloved Althasia.
Yet, there she stands.
I am weary. It is a dream."

"Am I too a dream?" asked a voice.
Trevor Nor turned, startled.
At once, the city gone,
At once, the raft gone, even
the sea. Gone.

Nor found himself at an
amply supplied table, rife with
fine wine, meat, and bread.
"Where do you suppose one dream ends,
and another begins?"
asked the same voice.
"Vendig dralmadoon? Is that you?'
The voice responded.
"This table is rightfully yours.
That city is rightfully yours.
Your God, Zarrah, has betrayed you.
Yet, you persist with pointless
meanderings upon the sea.
Take my hand, friend,
and receive what is rightfully yours."

"Away, Vendig Dralmadoon!
I would sooner die by the talons
of Zarrah than prosper in your
Away, vile beast, who celebrated
the destruction of Cartha,
basking in its relentless bloodshed,
reveling while its
inhabitants one by one
fell to the Cruthian plague; dissipating
into a pile of rubbish and bones.
Away from here, Vendig Dralmadoon."
The Goose sat upon the raft.
"Trevor Nor, are you a man?" it asked.
"I am. Are you a goose?'
"I am," said the Goose, "what you see."
"I see a broken God. A wanting deity.
A sad duck."
Goose and man faced each other
in the water's calm desperation.
"And I," said the goose,
"looking into your eyes,
proud Trevor Nor, see myself."
Both man and Goose wept.
"Zarrah, forgive me."

The Goose on his shoulder, Trevor Nor
approached Althasia
and entered its capital city, Tulran Huskc.
As before, he found wanton cruelty, murder,
strife, squalor, and pain amongst his people.
"Stop this!" he shouted. "End this suffering!"
Margot Lee, a thief, glowered at him.
"Get you back to the sea, little boy,
the dolphins must miss you by now."
"Here I stand." said Trevor Nor.
The thief raised his weapon.
"Why heed the wishes of a man and a duck?"
"Again I ask, why heed the wishes
of a little boy and his ducky?"

The Goose attacked, feathers raging,
his beak a relentless executioner.
Trevor Nor joined the battle.
Once more, Althasia's Tulran Huskc
was thrown to a night time of fire and blood.

When morning came, man and goose
were gone.
And in Althasia stirred only
the stink of death.