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The Warrior

The Adventure Begins!

In the dark days . . .

Lost to History . . .

Before the Written word . . .

In the land we now call Germany

A prophecy was heard.

In this kingdom reigned King Ironstone,

Kind-hearted despite his name,

And his Queen, the lovely Ardora,

Whose beauty was her fame.

The sage burned incense; cast his dice,

And muttered his incantation.

He studied the stars, then spoke to the king,

"There will come in this generation

A child of wisdom, courage and strength;

A champion to us all

Who will stand and fight relentlessly

Till the last of our enemies fall."

The King and the Queen were Pleased by this

For her Majesty was with child.

The prophecy was to be fulfilled

In only a short while.

But came the day the babe was born

The king was sorely vexed.

For his Queen had borne him not a son,

But a child of the fairer sex.

"What means this?" the King inquired,

"You said we would have a son!"

"Nay, my King," the Sage replied,

"I said a champion.

This little daughter that you hold

Will one day rise to power,

To deliver us from our enemies

In our Kingdom's darkest hour."

And oh, what a beautiful child she was,

With hair of shining gold,

And eyes as green as the endless sea,

That could penetrate your soul.

Her strong little fingers grabbed a hold

Of the King's and held on tight;

Foretelling the strength that would one day be hers

When the time would come to fight.

He named the Princess Kree-Lah,

For in the ancient tongue,

"Kree" was the word for "warrior"

And "Lah" meant "Battle-won".

"such a masculine name," the Queen remarked,

But the King's decision would stand.

"She'll earn the name, the prophecy says,

Even though it's the name of a man."

As the child grew, she learned the ways

Of politics and war,

For the King and Queen would not forget

What the prophecy held in store.

So while her mother taught her how

To play the lute and dance,

Her father taught her how to fight

With bow, and sword, and lance.

Then one day the Sage grew grim,

For the dice and stars foretold

That warriors from the North would come

In search of slaves and gold.

And the swords of the King and all his men

Would be of no avail.

For the enemy wore plate armor,

The King's men wore chain mail.

Kree-Lah, upon hearing this,

Saddled her fine horse,

And taking few belongings

Set off on an unknown course.

The kingdom could but wonder

Where their Princess planned to go

Or when, if ever, she would return.

She hadn't let them know.

She journeyed toward a distant land,

Down by the windswept sea

To a town the sage had told her of

Where she would find what she would need.

She wore her leather armor,

And carried her bow and sword.

She traveled by the high road

To a village by the shore.

As she entered town, she was beset

By two ruffians who had planned

To take her body for their pleasure.

But before they could raise a hand

Her sword flashed brightly in the sun

In gleaming arcs about her head.

She left the hoodlums in the street

One handless . . .

The other dead.

An old man, having seen her feat

Called "hallo," and bid her "come,"

Saying "I have heard the prophecy,

And you must be the One."

She said, "You look just like my Sage,

Enough to be his brother."

He smiled at that, and said to her

"Indeed, I am no other."

"Know you then why it is I come?"

She asked, and he said "Indeed.

Look you here within my shop

And you will find just what you need."

The old man crafted weapons

As fine as were ever made

And hanging there from every the wall

Were examples of his trade.

She saw a sword unlike to any

She had ever seen.

The steely point was needle-sharp;

Its blade was razor-keen.

"Against such a blade," the old man spoke,

"No armor can prevail.

This needle point will fit through chinks

In the finest plate or mail."

"But use it not to block a stroke,

Lest you break its slender blade.

Take this shield, for it is among

The finest ever made."

She took the shield and held it up.

She judged its balance and weight.

She held the sword with confidence

And left to seek her fate.

And when at last, she neared her home

And topped the final hill,

She gazed o'er the valley from which she had roamed

And felt a sudden chill.

For camped about her city

Was the army from the north,

Laying siege; allowing none

To enter or go forth.

She'd made her mind up long ago.

She knew what she must do.

She checked her weapons one more time

And rode into full view.

When the camp had seen her,

The word spread quickly 'round

That a woman dressed in fighting gear

Was riding toward the town.

The king of the northern warriors

Said, "Fetch that wench to me!"

He sent two warriors riding out

To bring her hastily.

The northern warriors watched with mirth

As their comrades neared the girl.

The army gasped its breath as one

When her flashing blade did whirl.

Twice the silvery needle flicked

And the two men fell as one.

The valley echoed with the army's shouts

When they'd seen what she had done.

Then silence fell . . .

And she sat her horse . . .

In the brilliant noon-day sun

And called out to the northern king

To face her one to one.

A roar of laughter issued from

The men of the northern troop,

To think of a woman daring to face

The leader of their group.

But the northern king saw little humor

At the gall of this young thing

Who would dare to challenge in single combat

Such a mighty warrior king.

"I'll teach her a lesson!" he roared in rage

As he grabbed his sword and shield.

He mounted his horse and galloped away

Onto the battlefield.

He halted his horse with a jerk of the reins

When he reached Kree-Lah's position.

She spoke, "Warrior king, if you be a man,

I'll make you a proposition.

"I'll stand as champion of my kingdom

If you will champion yours.

If I should win, Your army leaves.

If you win . . .

I am yours . . . "

The northern king smiled, and repeated this

In a voice that all could hear,

And from the ranks of his army

There arose a thunderous cheer.

For the men all knew their king would make

Short work of this young maid,

And they would win the city

Without even raising a blade.

But from the top of the city wall

Rang out a loud "hurrah!"

For Kree-Lah's people were watching, too,

And they cheered, "Kree-Lah! Kree-Lah!"

Now king and princess both dismounted,

And faced each other, ready.

The warrior king felt calm . . .

Assured . . .

Kree-Lah stood brave and steady.

Like lightning without warning

The battle was begun.

The two swords looked like silver blurs

In the radiance of the sun.

The northern king was soon amazed

By the skill of his fair opponent.

Try as he would, he could find no hole

In her guard at any moment.

Her shield would dart, too fast to see,

Blocking every move he made.

The speed of her shield rivaled only by

Her flashing silvery blade.

The king had always been confident

In the armor that he wore,

But now . . .

he felt

a trickle of blood,

Looked down

at his legs . . .

And swore!

Somehow that cursed woman's blade

Had searched and found a chink.

And again!

He felt the needle-like blade

In his arm where two plates linked.

And now the silvery needle cut

The skin above his eye.

He was blinded by the flow of blood,

And tried to wipe it dry.

And in that awful moment

He saw the fatal needle dart

Underneath his upraised arm

Through his armpit to his heart.

Kree-Lah saw his face go blank.

The sword fell from his grasp.

He toppled slowly forward

And lay face down in the grass.

Then from the northern army's camp

The battle-cry was heard.

For they had no intention

To honor their dead King's word.

Then the city walls flew open!

King Ironstone's men charged!

Shouting the battle-cry "Kree-Lah!"

Their numbers seemed enlarged.

The northern army stood leaderless.

Their warrior king lay dead.

So at the sight of Ironstone's charge

They turned on their heels and fled.

There was feasting in the halls that night

And dancing in the streets.

The troubadours sang joyfully

Of Kree-Lah's mighty feats.

And Ironstone stood on the balcony

Overlooking the town below,

And asked his wife to forgive him

For wanting a son so long ago . . .

Copyright 1989 Randolph J. Sadewater

On to the Second Adventure! Kree-Lah's Stand

The Third Adventure! Kree-Lah's Quest

The Highwayman

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