“May I know your name at least, good sir?” she asks with pain.
“Daric son of Connor, son of Fergus, son of Caine.”
“A heart of oak is what you have, don’t you live in shame
Of past mistakes when you are working to remove the stain.”
His heart aches for her suffering soul, but he daren’t raise her hopes.
They come to a small comely house that lies between two slopes.
In need of minor maintenance, but built of sturdy logs
As they approach, they’re greeted by a pair of hunting dogs.
Down the left hand slope a small stream sparkles in the sun,
Fertile land around the cabin needs a lot of weeding done.
A low stone wall around the henhouse needs some mortar for its holes,
The roof above the front door has some mildew in its poles,
But all in all, he summarizes, “What a lovely home!
Just the place to come back to and rest your weary bones.”
Her eyebrows rise in cautious hope at Daric’s warm remark.
“I can prepare a simple meal, before it gets too dark.”
Inside his shell he blushes, blusters, “There’s still daylight left,
I must see to my errand and repay my mammoth debt.
Up that right hand slope is where I first lost to the beast;
I must return there to ensure his brutal reign will cease.”
“The beast? He slew my father and my brothers in the night;
My dreams are still now haunted by that awful grisly sight.
Avenge them and my heart and home will be forever yours,
No matter what your past or what your future holds in store.”
“O, my lady fair, what can I say to such a gift?
I will endeavour to succeed and then return so swift
That you will hardly notice that I ever went away,
Should I gain your lovely hand, forever I would stay.
“I cannot take you with me and can’t bear to leave you here,
At any time those shameful bandits might still reappear.
Here, take my shield and put it in your window on display,
Then they will see it, think me there and depart in dismay.”
“But you will need it to survive your duel on that peak
I’d dread to think because of me you’ll find yourself too weak.”
“No, I insist, to keep it would distract me fatally
With thoughts of what I could have done to keep you safe and free.”
“If I can’t persuade you, take my father’s bow at least;
That will help you in your struggle with that horrifying beast.
I can use my brother’s bow and barricade the door.”
“Thank you, my good lady, he has much to answer for.”
Daric ventures up the slope, across a narrow ledge,
Towards the culmination of his solemn oath and pledge.
He passes by the arid bones of victims long deceased
‘Til finally and once again he sees the dreaded beast.