When the night wind changes course
sending breezes from the north,
when farmer's fields lie brown and fallow
and empty ropes swing from the gallows,
when children's faces are drawn and gaunt
and earth-bound spirits wail and haunt,
when eagles scan the barren snow
and field mice shiver deep below,
The dragon stirs deep in his lair,
the townfolk sense him with despair,
the mountain rumbles as he wakes,
he spreads his wings, the valley quakes.
He snorts and breathes a sulphur fire
and eyes his cache with dark desire,
gold and gemstones line his cave,
a sea of diamonds with emerald waves.
The trees are black against the snow,
one warrior stands to face his foe,
chain mail clanking, his sword is honed,
he goes to face his fate alone.
Fire breathing, wing-spread vast,
the warrior is at first aghast,
the dragon's chest and stomach, too,
shine with gems of multi-hues.
He'd slept so long upon his loot,
he wore a jewel-encrusted suit.
He saw the warrior's weapon glint
and chuckled at this innocent.
The dragon swooped and breathed his breath,
the warrior smelled the scent of death.
Many times the dragon dove
and set aflame the fields and groves.
Lost in this game, he gave no thought
to the warrior who mattered naught,
and as the dragon flew by low
the warrior drew his mighty bow.
The bow and arrows were Elfen-hewn,
inscribed with words in ancient runes.
The warrior held his breath and aimed
and steeled himself against the flames.
The dragon saw the arrow cocked
and turned his head, their eyes were locked.
The arrow's flight was straight and true,
into the dragon's eye it flew.
The warrior was elected king,
he wore fine jewels and heavy rings,
but though he tried, he found no peace,
he'd formed some strange bond with the beast.
The corpse was plucked clean of its jewels
and all the people danced like fools,
though he was king of hill and glen,
they never saw him smile again.