A life by a thousand cuts. A cornered animal. Read my face – defaced, do you see the clarity in my eye, smiling, laughing, wings spread heavy on the wind? A strange inversion of what should have been, a cart without wheels, laden to the brim, somehow making its way forward. To what end?
Invited to the feast by custom, unwelcome, despised. A knight of low renown, fallen noble, a dirt-eater in another name. They cut off my head. And yet, holding it up, defiant, I continue drinking, throat cut, mead spilling on the floor.
When the music stops, bards flee in terror, and women wail, inconsolable. You too run, but in a dream, I will surely find you. As my severed head swallows the sun, only for a moment, my body rises to torment you, blooming like a tainted lotus. No quarter.
Heed my warning. Let that stranger quench his thirst in your hall, seeking its lonely, quiet corner. It reminds him of his mother’s milk.
A fair deal. Come the morning, I will be gone.
And you will have retained your sanity.