[poetry] The Breaking of the Pact

This is an old poem, written in August 2004, about the story of Haldric the Great founding the nation of Wesnoth. It was actually written before the campaign The Rise of Wesnoth, and in some ways served as inspiration for it – even if the portrayal of Haldric’s character in the two works are very different.

The Breaking of the Pact
by Turin the Bard and Autolycus

When Haldric landed on this shore
From oceans wide and deep,
He had no scholars learn’d in lore,
No kin, nor land to keep.

So Haldric founded with his men
The Land which poets sing,
He named it Wesnoth, ‘Verdant Glen’,
And ruled as lord and king.

Now, in their forests dim and green,
The Elves were hard at war,
With villains they had never seen
The likes of which before.

The Orcs were harsh, the Orcs were fell,
The Orcs were grim and mad;
The Elves did hate these foes right well,
Who killed them and were glad.

The Elves sent messengers that day
Who hoped to save their land;
They went to Wesnoth far away,
And found the race of Man.

The race of Men, a short-lived breed,
Could sicken, fail and die;
But in that hour the Elves had need,
Brave hearts did Man supply.

Across a field of shattered foes
The Elves and Men took oath,
To help with swords and spears and bows,
Though now ’twas peace for both.

Haldric still lived in times that came,
When Orcs attacked again;
The Elves lit bright the beacon flame,
For Haldric’s valiant men.

Then came the night, the battle flared,
From sunset until dawn;
The Elves fought hard, and strove, and dared
For Haldric’s hope at morn.

But as the Elves began to fall,
(Will Haldric’s shieldmen hear?)
Their doubt and darkness covered all
(Where are his sword and spear?)

Their oath betrayed, their fury spent,
They steeled themselves to die;
But from a last beleaguered tent
Came forth a mighty cry.

Belian the Mighty raised his sword,
To slay Orcs far and near;
The flame he bore, his lifting word,
They saved the land held dear.

The Orcs held firm, though grave their plight,
With Belian on the field;
The Elves, hard-pressed to turn the fight,
Missed sorely Haldric’s shield.

But then the sun rose in the East
And Belian’s head crowned gold;
The elves surged forth o’er Orc and beast
To slaughter them tenfold.

No Orcs remained, the field was clear,
The Elves had won the day;
But none of Haldric did appear
From Wesnoth far away.

So in that hour, the pact foresworn,
Elves bitter words did say;
And sent no aid when Orcish morn
Lit Wesnoth far away.

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