Sympathy for the Devil

(Translated from the classic Descarthian poem, Astragothika)

-Loquacious Llama

Once upon a time, in a galaxy
much like ours, but very far away;
or maybe not so far away, I care not,
for Astronomy, ‘tis but the sport of senile old men;
there lived a mighty hero named Astragoth.
He let his boots tread upon the sandy green soils
of Descarthia and spilt the purple blood
of many a monster under the light of its three suns.

Several had he rescued, fair damsels in distress;
and countless evil tyrants he had overthrown.
But, rest he could not, for evil is like the Hydra,
Cut one head off and in it’s place shall scores of them grow.
Mighty Astragoth, son of fiery Kainth,
truly a lion amongst men, limbs like thick branches
on a powerful, large tree, and the strength of many men,
his mane the color of golden corn fields adorning
a ruggedly handsome face, rival to even Sankus, the god of love!
But the most unique feature had he,
a feast for the eyes of every mortal at hand,
were his fingers, but three,
and the same number of toes that dug into the sand.

One early dawn, when the chirping of byrds
had not begun, he made preparations for battle,
for that day, he had his mind on saving the lovely princess Marion
from the clutches of the powerful evil Kariya,
whose five heads spat out deadly poison and fire
as and when they pleased. The hellhound had been plaguing
the good people of Descarthia with its ire.
And it seemed but fair, to end the menace,
that the powerful Astragoth be on hire.

So set out the son of Kainth, making for the castle
where dwelt the terrible tyrant and his slaves,
carrying naught but his silvery slifer, a family heirloom,
which eight men could lift but an inch off the ground,
he bore this burden with ease,
like an ox carrying a gnat on its back felt no strain.
For many a day did he walk, many drops of sweat did he squeeze
from the mighty folds of his brawny limbs, many a man did he deliver from pain,
until he finally caught sight of the tall black spires
of the castle he was destined to cleanse of bane.

Looming ahead, grim and black like a solitary thundercloud in an azure sky,
the citadel of pain, and he looked at it and smiled,
for it was long since his slifer had tasted blood, it called out
in thirst, and he heeded it’s desperate cry, and marched on,
Till he heard a resounding, loud shout,
“Only a fool would venture in these parts, or a hero of much brawn,
what be you, ill-fated traveller, a sacrificial lout?
Stay, you can not but think to pass, come dawn
and you will be my breakfast, without a doubt.”
Searching the horizons for a source to this mysterious voice,
he looked towards his feet at last, and there
he found a tiny beast of heads not one but two, the hide of which
hurt his eyes, such a tasteless shade of green it was.
The critter again screamed, “ Speak, fool, for I am the guardian
of yonder castle and I grow weary of your speechless company.
Be you friend or foe?”

“A foe, indeed, I am to you, a warrior come to conquer.
I will fight thy master, vain little creature,
not worthy of my attentions are thee.”
The boastful varmint was not to be humbled by such words
and it stabbed its steely fangs into his foot.
But pierce his foot they did not, failing to even scratch,
the dentures snapped at their root.
Then raising the slifer high, he put the beast
out of its pathetic misery, slicing it asunder in one stroke.
Each head fell to the ground and spat up
dark grimy gore on the white soil.
On witnessing such violence,
the creature’s comrade, a ten legged chimera,
stole away in silence,
tail held shamefully between legs,
just as jackals run from lions.

And so, our hero sauntered on undisturbed,
for the weaker guards understood well the hierarchy
of power and avoided the path of one so mighty as he.
He kicked down the doors of the fortress,
making his presence on the ramparts known,
for he wanted, once and for all, to finish the dreadful business.
Hitokiri Kariya, hearing the ruckus, made his figure shown.
And Astragoth was for a moment awed, the mighty draken
purple was it, fire streamed from four nostrils and poison gas from four others,
seemed a Goliath to his David, a formidable foe was he.
Bony spikes lined his back, sharp as razors,
with teeth like long daggers, bite he could, through a tree.

Unfazed stood our hero, for fear is like quicksand,
one step into it could lead to death.
Hefting the heavy slifer in one hand,
he shook his head and drew a deep breath.
Then, he let loose the Kainthian blade toward his foe,
saying, “You shall reap as you sow,
now your blood will glut Anthos, the god of war.”
Alas, the slifer swerved from its course, and chopped off
the tail of the monster instead, spewing yellow blood
all over the walls. Astragoth wiped the gore from his face
tracing his war-tested slifer to where it lay,
far from reach. As he lunged for his blade, the fifth head of the beast opened,
revealing a hundred sets of teeth, like a haystack of needles.

Color, color everywhere and not a spot of grey,
the beast spewed rainbows of hues and light,
turning the gloomy castle into a colorful playpen.
And then, many a pony waltzed right
out of his orifice, like a fly from a sleeping man’s mouth.
But all through this flashy, fabulous sight
Astragoth never batted an eyelid, for real men
are never disturbed by such petty frivolities.
So he reached his slifer and wiped it clean of pink slime,
switching it into a triblade, stronger and swifter,
wishing to end the fight of colorful grime.
And with a loud cry that made the foundations of the castle
tremble, he sliced off every head of  the Kariya,
And so, the reign of the Hitokiri, long and tyrannical, came to an end.

The princess, withering away in her lonely tower,
he found and rescued, carrying her out the citadel.
Then, he struck fire with his slifer,
setting it to the castle, making it explode in a storm of red and yellow.
He walked toward the princess, his back to the inferno,
as all heroes do, not even glancing at the flames.
“My hero! How can I ever repay your kindness?
Maybe marry you? Or anything on those lines?”, said the princess, most fair.
But our hero shook his head, refuting this offer most generous,
saying “Princissepa, I am but a humble feminist.
I believe in equal opportunity. So, I say to you,
“Sorry Marion, Your prince is in another castle!”
Now, go forth and find the man of your dreams.”
Thus spake mighty Aragoth, before walking off bravely
into the sunset, as all heroes do.

P.S. This was a lengthy but satisfying piece of writing, just to get you to the punchline. So, dear reader, go forth and rescue the princes you always wanted, forlorn and downcast in their castles.

P.P.S. In case you didn’t get it yet, you’ve been had. Have fun with that wild goose I led you to.


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