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More than Death
by Keedin Scalesinger

Once upon a morning bright, while Keedin wandered, away from light,
Under the roofs of many a quaint and curiously crafted buildings,
While Keedin searched, softly singing, suddenly there came a sight,
 Of some man heavily armored, calling,  calling for little Keedin.
“’Tis some big man” Keedin muttered, ''calling for little Keedin.—
            He wants to talk and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly Keedin remembers it was past bleak Midwinter;
And each separate heart beat brought him pain, as Keedin laid upon the floor—                                       
   Of the Hawthorne Watch, hollow, abandoned by the one he sought to follow
    So he bolted, worried, searching—searching for the lost Doll—
For the rare, mysterious maiden whom Keedin named the Doll—
            Had abandoned him for evermore.

And the rugged, strong, certain words of the armored man,
Thrilled Keedin—filled him with fantastic hope never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of his heart, he stood repeating
    “’Tis some friend I met offering to lead me to the mysterious Doll—
Some new friend offering to lead me to the mysterious Doll;—
            This it is and nothing more.”

    Then Keedin soul's grew stronger; hesitating thus no longer,
“Where,” said he, “where is the doll? Lead me to her, Keedin implores;
    The fact is Keedin was napping, and so swiftly the Doll left Keedin,
    And so faintly her feet tapping, tapping on the Watch's floor,
Keedin scarce was sure he heard her; when he opened his eyes, horror!—
            Watchmen there and nothing more.''

  Deep into the city,  venturing, long Keedin walked wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no kobold ever dared to dream at all;

    But the pace was unbroken, and the paladin gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Doll?”
This Keedin sang, and the paladin shouted back ''You walk slowly, I deplore!'' —
            Merely this and nothing more.

    In the Hall of Vigilance, Keedin and the Doll with joy, reuniting,
Soon again he heard her voice although stricter than before.
    “Surely,” said Keedin, “surely tis a sign of adventuring.
      Let Keedin join, so he can write the tales, and this mystery explore—
Let Keedin sing for a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis Keedin's wish and nothing more!”

    The Helmite lead a Maiden of faith, to a trespassed Diviner,
In there she stepped, this stately Maiden, bearing the saintly Symbol of Torm;
    With obeisance to her God, prayed she, for an hour did so faithfully,
    And, past that hour, the Diviner's eyes opened, brought back from death's door—
 Laid beneath the Watcher's gaze,  brought back from death's door—
            Shared her knowledge, and nothing more.

Then this bladesinger ally, transported us to the Forest High,
Then found the Ruins, semblance to ancient elven craft they bore,
“Run, run, run, run ,run , run , run ,run. Keedin sang. “Run, run, run, run, run.''
Hardened scowl on the Doll's allies,  anger filtering through their pores—
''How about you shut up Keedin?'' He said. Keedin asked: ''No encore?''
            Quoth the Doll's friend “Nevermore.”

    Much Keedin marvelled these bold ones to trespass so plainly,
Though this bravery rattled and stunned such that little Keedin's mind tore,
    Yet they entered, and a fiend they discovered, for no living human being,
    Ever yet was blessed with such beauty, beauty coming to answer the door—
Demon or Devil upon the porch of a ruined temple, coming to answer the door,
            A sight Keedin wishes to keep Forevermore.

    But the Paladin, walked angrily, pushed his way in and spoke only
Few words, as if his soul in those few words he did outpour.
    And the fiend, met with hostility,  a charming, yet in vain, response she uttered—
    A vain attempt to deflect, she found no choice but to bring their Friend from before.—
''Before the morrow, you will come with us'', the paladin said, ''And everything will be like before''
          Alas the Friend replied “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
Wrath filled the Paladin's heart. The Rogue had to take upon the chore
    Of alleviating the pain of the Paladin, before befall some unmerciful Disaster,
    The Rogue acted fast, alas the Paladin's heart one heavy burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
            Of a Friend that is no more.

    But the Fiend still beguiling Keedin's fancy into smiling,
Straight the Doll dragged Keedin, to prevent him falling for this whore;
    Then, upon the sunlight shining, Keedin betook himself to hiding,
    Under the Doll's cloak,  thinking what this ominous Friend of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous Friend of yore
            Meant in saying “Nevermore.”

    Keedin watched them engage in fighting, but no lyrics expressing
How the ache the Paladin felt now burned into his bosom’s core;
    The Helmite brightly shining, The Doll maneuvering,
    On the marble battlefloor, while the Rogue chased the Fiend o’er,
And the Paladin smited, while the Rogue chased the Fiend o’er,
            She shall be found, ah, nevermore!

    Then the Doll saw her hands on no other, but the forgotten Ranger,
Swapped in by the Fiend into this fight taken upon the marble floor.
    “Wretch,” she cried for she was torn by this horrible dilemma;
    Ending the life of a cursed friend causes such pain one can't ignore; —
Slash, and pierce a forsaken friend, doomed by a curse one can't ignore;
            A curse to last forevermore.

   Two other men twisted by undeath, two other men not to forget,
Whether a soul is lost, or whether it can be pulled back ashore,
    Desolate and daunted, of a life taken for granted —
    In this ruin by horror haunted—the Doll wonders, the Doll implores—
''Is there—is there a cure for this curse?''—the Doll wonders, she implores!
            ''I can't suffer this Anymore.''

    Meanwhile the Rogue, played a few tricks, twisted and turned, feeling quite slick;
By those keen eyes of his, by those keen eyes of his that we adore—
    He discovered many uncovered secrets, hidden beneath, long laid to rest;
    It shall take a strong heart to witness the resting place of those who are no more—
A strong heart to witness the resting  place of those who are no more
            And shall awaken Nevermore.”

    “Be those discoveries a sign of parting, fiend!” The rogue claimed, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the Hells or Abyss and the River Styx's shore!
    Leave no dark perfurme as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave our companions unbroken!—and stay in the Prime no more!
Take thy perfidious self out from our lives, and bring thy form on the Prime no more!”
            And stay away Forevermore.

    And all these men, never flitting, never flitting, their lives fleeting,
In the confines of an extradimensional space the group all bore;
    And their eyes have all the seeming of demons that are dreaming,
    And their soul are ever stuck within the empty shells they control no more;
For the curse twisting their fate, like an evergrowing tumor,
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

*Inspired by ''The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe''

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