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The Four

And they rode through the streets
Four horsemen astride grand chargers
Silence fell as the passed
And the skys wept that they had come

War came first, as was his right,
his mount eager and prancing
fire eyed and proud
colored like steel, galloping

Famine followed War
with a gray swaddled bundle
held close to her chest
her rattle boned mare's eyes
rolling whitely, as at a halting trot they sped

Next came Pestilance
astride a scabbbed and spavined beast
both covered in running sores, and boils that swelled
cantering onward, daring not slow

Last yet also first,
at a slow and stately pace
atop a pale and ghostly stallion
came a Lady, borne of grace
and as she looked about her
her eyes were filled with tears
No mortal ever doubt it
Death is a Lady, and she too feels

The Four rode on never slowing,
War, Famine, Pestilance, and Death
They passed down streets and claimed them
and the last sang sad lament

By ancient custom and enchantment
none saw them as they flew
They paused but briefly before two towers
and the Lady wept anew

The Lady reached out and she claimed them
those marked there by demise
and tears of compassion coursed palid cheeks
as she ended each of the now agony filled lives
and the shadows of her sorrows clouded her eyes

She bowed her head despairing
took she a child in her arms
She looked to War in askance
"Why led Thou we four hither?"
Softly did she speak
no answer did return

She turned then unto Famine
and voiced she then her rage
demanded, "Why, why could these be not claimed by eld?"
"is not the one you carry thus, enough?"
"or must all mothers mourn as you bring children to dust"
In her anger turned she away
for Famine knew not what reply to make

Turned she finally to Pestilance and cried
"by Thine hand, how many more shall come to die?"
In self defense he made a plee
"But Lady" spake he, "Naught of this was done by I"
This to her was far too much, it cut her to the quick
"Ah" she could be heard retorting, "I know Thee all to well"
"Thou merely bides Thine time until more you can so fell"
"For Thou still rides with us I see"
"Do Thou then not attempt to hide Thine intent from me."

Gently then laid She the child down
Weeping, knelt She, there upon the ground
The other three watched her silently
With their heads bowed to the ground

And then one spoke after some time had passed
"Come now dear Lady, away we must"
"sorrow no more for numbered mortal days"
"in the end this is the price that each living pays"

She heard the wisdom of those words
and heeded did she for She understood
that the burden must be borne
and that if She chose to not be cruel, but kind
Then the time had come again when She must ride
though She weep until the end of Time

Image from Moon And Back Graphics
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