Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Vampire Lord

The vampire living on top of the hill
Has ruled our town with terror centuries.
He tells us that he keeps us safe and will
As long as he exists -- and we must please
Him, feed his thirst or, we've learned, he will spill
More blood than we have given him. The breeze
From off his hill, his home brings down the lure
Of blood and death -- his poison is our cure.

No one dares speak or think that he must go --
Most cannot dare imagine such a life
Without our lord, who seems to always know
What each most needs -- with him, there is no strife
Between the citizens -- no vicious blow
Has come between a single pair. A wife
Each month is what we give our vampire lord
So all can plow and none will need a sword.

Before he came, the stories say, the town
Was poor, at war with others and within.
The smell of death and blood came not just down
The vampire's hill, but out of every inn
And from the alleyways and bars. A gown
Of incivility is what we'll win,
The townsmen say, if we give up the one
Who saved us from the awful things we'd done.

The stories from the time he came are hard
To hear and to believe. Our lord's demands
Of monthly virgins were first met, the bard
Here in the town confirms, with reprimands
Of those who dared comply -- they put  a guard
Upon the virgin women, girls -- no hands
Could find a single one to sacrifice --
The town was bleeding, infested by lice.

And yet, the town held firm and killed each man
Who'd send a daughter to the lord up on
The hill. Yet plague befell the town, began
To take its toll in lives and will. The dawn
Refused to break. They soon lifted the ban
On sacrifice, but rebels were not gone,
And soon a horrible solution came --
The outcome is our everlasting shame.

If virgins were the tax upon the lad,
Then virgins were what our town would deny
The lord -- each father would ensure demand
Would die with no supply. The horrid cry
Of daughters, nieces, granddaughters -- the banned
Became one night the way the town would dry
The vampire lord of what he most desired --
But that is when our awful lord grew tired.

That night our lord swept down upon the town
With shrieks, the shrieks alone were bringing death --
Two women died of fear, and terror drown
The town -- all but the famous warrior Seth,
Who met our lord, prepared to take his crown,
Prepared to fight until one lost his breath.
But little did he know no breath was borne
By his opponent -- his, though, would be torn.

Had Seth faced but a man, his victory
Would have been sure and glorious, his song
Would have been on the lips of every
Bard who composed and who could draw a throng
To hear him sing our language. The fury
Of Seth was not enough -- his arm not strong
Enough for one undead -- and so he bled,
Impaled for all to see, and all to dread.

For years our lord would make the townsmen raid
The nearby towns to feed his quenchless thirst --
And dozens would be taken for a maid
To be ensured. At last, the youngest burst
Into young womanhood -- our lord then laid
Down all the townsmen's swords. No longer cursed
To shed the blood of neighbors, virgin lives
Within the town were shadowed, until wives.

The law is all our daughters must remain
Pristine until each marries, and eighteen
Is when our lord no longer will restrain
Himself, and twenty when she can be seen
By men and made a mother, wife. Restrain,
And you won't be impaled -- keep your love clean,
And if our lord, himself, won't take her, you
Can have her hand -- but give our lord his due.

And thus our lord rules us by fear and fear
Alone, as we are told a prince must rule --
The rebel who dares speak will disappear
Unless the people think him a mere fool.
From fear, respect -- and then, to love. Our dear,
Beloved lord ancestors thought a ghoul
Is who has kept us safe, at peace, well-fed --
He cares for us from birth, until we're dead.

We look upon our ancestors with shame,
Cannot believe the weight of all their sins --
The cruelty of our lord, on them we blame --
They're why we meet our lord with careful grins.
We recognize our lord's eternal claim
On all our lives -- he knows all outs and ins
For each of us. We recognize he saves
Us from ourselves -- we're his delighted slaves.

I'm grateful that my wife was spared the spot,
The lottery that chooses, and may choose
My darling daughter, eight years from the lot
That may be hers, that may be drawn. I'd lose
My mind, my heart should I lose her, her cot
Made empty by our lord. But there's no ruse
That I could dare conceive to save her life
If she became our lord's, and not a wife.

But we are used to loss -- the stories tell
A contradictory mythology
About our past -- our town is poor, and fell
Upon hard times when we ceased to be free,
When our good lord provided us the well
We drink from all our lives. Down on each knee
We kneel before our lord, in constant terror
That we won't live our lives without an error.

Our ancestors, they say, once lived in trust
And not with the suspicion  we endure.
At least we live our lives absent of lust
For what another has -- it does ensure
Resentment won't arise, provide the rust
That clogs the village wheels. We pity her
Who draws the lot, and that's all that we feel.
We're equal, all the same -- that's why we kneel.

Perhaps our ancestors had wealth, much more
Than we have -- but what anarchy they had!
They warn us that we could have endless war
Of all on all. Our ancestors were bad --
That we know. The chaos at their door
Was what at first drove almost every dad
To one way or another violate
His family's honor -- there is no debate.

We live in virtue -- with each sacrifice
We guarantee our way of life will last,
That we will live in safety, that the rice
Will fill our bowls each day. Good riddance past
Of cold uncertainty and constant vice.
As many daughters as I have, I'd cast
Them all before our lord to keep our way
Of life -- I'd let each one be our lord's prey.

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