by Joseph Armstead

The Alpha and the Omega,
unto ash they are made,
craven shadows, shattered
obedient hounds of despair,
huntsman gone a’haunting,
broken souls,
and they weep
acid rain.

The music plays…

1) Nergal’s Nightwalk

Across the barren plain, it echoes

Infinity, the naked impermanence of the species
gathers a thousand prayers into one hollow voice
and drops it just below the pitch of
Heaven’s ears,
unheard, unrewarded, lonely,
one fragile cry
from the orphaned hopeful

Sitting on a Rock of Ages, the Pilgrim
plays a ghostly tune
on a flute of carved bone,
a serenade for nightmares
played for angels with
deaf ears,
one gossamer-thin cry
from the cosmic traveler

Abandonment sings an aria, it echoes…

2) The Winter of Ahriman

Dreams of forever fall from darkened skies,
Autumn fades from memory,
the Season of Ice
turns the air to thin glass

The Reaver strides before the King,
a weary downbeaten monarch of tombs,
and announces with great pride
and a sneer,
“Slaughter-Everlasting is upon us,
and the armies of night
need a hero, a mighty master,
to inspire them in bloodletting,
canst thou mayhaps
pretend to be furious and fierce?
The furnace of war needs its fuel…”

The hollow King smiles like a
happy idiot, seeking to please,
afraid of truth, fearing his duty,
needing The Reaver to override
his command
and says,
“I am the wolf of war and I set loose
the pack upon all the prey of this world”.

The Reaver sighs and bows deeply,
hiding his disgust,
dreaming of assassination.

Over the many battlefields
scattered ‘cross the globe,
all the warriors feel a chill as
the Season of Ice
turns the air to thin glass

The Reaver hums a childhood
lullaby as he gleefully taps at
the fragile membrane
with a spiked iron hammer,
making ever-larger
spider’s webs…

3) Tiamat’s Thirst

She is a singing dragon
haunting the deep of night,
swimming in an ocean
of charnelhouse castoffs,
red meaty wine, hot coppery
ocean, cemetary vintage,
her song echoing across
the midnight vastness
with poisonous unhuman beauty.

She sings of an endless
brought to those who fall
before the rapacious raging
of the Devil’s Undead offspring.
The dragon sings to ensnare
the ever-curious and unwise,
and to attract The Pilgrim
as he wanders along
the beach of Time,
seeing all and part of none,
playing from a bone-flute
for the dead generations.

This is the Alpha,
this is the Omega,
craven shadows, shattered
unto ash they are made.

The music fades…

— fini —

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