Hard to Get

A damsel in distress she’s not, though nights are all besot with her

Affection widely chased more than even gold, frankincense and myrrh

Aged better than Venetian wine, smoother than a fine liqueur

Treat her as the Queen she is: this maiden we call Literature

 

Sought by many, caught by few, to court her is a Fool’s Errand

Exceptions only granted when one’s dedication’s apparent

Gentle, patient one must be; to nothing she can come second

For absolute commitment is the quality of all legends

 

Everybody’s knocking but the owner just turns out the light

Fight to find a way inside and find the lock is far too tight

I smile as I watch them shout and beg her for one night’s invite

Because this pen unlocks the pad where Writing lays her head at night

 

So intimate we’ve grown to be, forever I’ll be in her debt

For it was I who was distressed, and she who saved me from regret

Sincerely now I thank her for becoming my one true duet

Eternity I’d wait for her: this love who was so hard to get

Ask and You Shall Receive

I think you need to understand

That we’re all in this, hand in hand

And that we all stay up at night

Asking if this world is right

Or if its some sick trickster’s joke

And though we all think we are woke

Ask yourself, is this real?

Is this how I’m supposed to feel?

What is it that this life’s about?

I thought I knew, but now I doubt

What does all of this mean to me?

They say I am, but am I free?

My beliefs, and all my dreams

I thought were mine, yet now it seems

That everything is just a lie

A way to cope, an alibi

I understand, I really do

So long and hard I’ve thought it through

Our lives are up to us, you see

We, alone, we hold the key

My once dim light’s become a star

I see things how they really are

What once was so long locked away

Has pierced the dark into the day

Tasks ahead are much more clear

I’ve shed the shade of yesteryear

The dawn; it comes, it’s here at last

And answers everything I’ve asked

Winds of Change

Softly cup my hand to ear

As wind blows whispers that I hear

Sadness, loss, regret they bring

All shadows from my yesteryear

Words escape me, ones I’ve lost

I never knew how much it’d cost

When I thought not to buy a ring

The path I should, I never crossed

Now I’m forced to walk, move on

Time has passed; those moments, gone

And though I wish to have them back

I must stay focused on the dawn

For life is cruel, it won’t concede

Regardless if I pray and plead

And though I may not be on track

Faith in myself is all I need

Things in life, they come and go

And as I lift this small window

I look outside, only to see

That we reap the things we sow

Every action, every word

Is seen, or felt, or tasted, heard

And whether it is you, or me

Life’s purpose always seems so blurred

So, to you, who has a past

Do not let your transgressions last

We’re here, together, throughout our time

And everyone has sins amassed

Live with love, try to arrange

The life you want, an open grange

Do not break rhythm, just to rhyme

And always, ride, the winds of change

Woe is Me

Friday night, bars are closing

I don’t know why I’m here

Feelings hit me deep inside, stepping in this Uber ride

It’s loneliness I fear

Every time, inside my head

I say that she’s the one

Naïveté and ignorance have got me acting with no sense

So why oh why do I keep saying this is pointless and I’m done?

Finally things are going well

But like every other time

The real comes out and causes doubt

I cant stand the paradigm

I don’t think I’m wrong but

You don’t think I’m right why

Can’t we get along and

Not do this every night

I’m tired of the fighting, and

I’m tired of the arguin’

This only causes breakups and

Makes people want to live in sin

I wish more than anything

To find someone who’s struggling

Someone who sees the world like me

Who doesn’t judge and lives freely

A person who embraces flaws

Instead of these unspoken laws

Who’d rather sit and talk with me

Than go out for a shallow drink

Sadness sweeps so subtly

The more I think of you and me

I wish this world was different, see

Filled with love, and yet sadly

It’s superficiality

That guides our actions, you agree?

I beg your pardon, woe is me

This world is just…melancholy

King in all but Name

Put my whistle to the wind, there’s naught another ‘round

Divided is the road I’m on, my choice shall prove profound

“Go left,” says he, “Go right!” says she

The demons, they’ve misled

I ask “which way?”

“That way!” They say

And so I point my sled

Every choice we make is a decision in our head

A string of choices, such is life, that’s all until we’re dead

When these choices come to you, what ever will you say?

Will you take the high road out or will you run away?

Make the choices that they love, My Lord you’re looking great

Undermine the ones they want and soon you will find hate

Treat the people as you would yourself, and you’ll find fame

They’ll sing your praises, call you King, in everything but name

The Old Unknown Aristocrat

Some people get it, most people don’t

Some people will, most people won’t

Some people love, most people hate

Most people: good. Some people: great.

 

Maybe I’m the one who’s been mistaken after all

Maybe all this fighting’s a good reason for a wall

The more I see the more I hear the less I seem to understand

It’s almost like this world is pieced together and events are planned

 

Confusion is the currency they’ve built all of their kingdoms on

White homes do not host their crowns they’re places that they place a pawn

Puppets playing House is what we’re looking and we’re pointing at

And all the while he’s up there, the Old Unknown Aristocrat

 

We don’t even see all of the strings and pieces he commands

But he’s the one who wrote all of the things for which your flag now stands

His name: unknown. His work: unknown. He dodges notoriety

The master of this game knows this is how you mold society

 

Five steps ahead, he always knows which side he has to pick

Its easy when you know the things that make the people tick

This Old Unknown Aristocrat said of Earth, and all its flaws

If I control its money, I care not who makes its laws

Pages

A never-ending story is what all of this appears to be

This book of life we write together seems to me a tragedy

The prologue speaks of hope and faith, introducing you and me

Act One of Three disguises the forthcoming, sad reality

 

Characters, they come and go, most are just supporting cast

Center stage through Chapter Four, by Five they’ve faded to the past

Teaching us that friendships; love, they’re delicate and rarely last

As subtexts teach the die of trust is earned instead of blindly cast

 

A world that works as advertised, that’s what we learn and buy into

Coasting through our story with a smile and five-star review

Thinking that this book’s motif is happiness; our point of view

That plot twists are just fiction meant to entertain; that they aren’t true

 

Life’s first Act is ended by the bookmark of naivete

As Two begins, foreshadowing the darkness written in this play

Sadly, most don’t see the signs; lost among their day-to-day

Not reading what’s between the lines, faith is weakness some might say

 

This is where our story starts to show its face without the mask

The greatest writers realize that pursuing truth’s our only task

Revealing life has always hidden sadness bottled in its flask

It laughs as those who victimize, mocking the “why me?” they ask

 

What follows next I’ll spare for now, for the sake of brevity

Not to mention that this story needs relief and levity

Yet such is life, is it not? And if you want longevity

Its comedy to those who think; for those who feel, a tragedy

 

Now I speak to you directly, sharing what this poem’s about

One moment life can mere whisper, then the next become a shout

To deal with things we all go through, we all must learn to cope with doubt

And if you need to turn a page, just rip the whole damn chapter out

His’trys Writ

The fire raged as Nero played

While Rome was burning bright

And yet the man had not betrayed

As they all say, that night

He was not the man you thought

At least, who bards all say

The truth is far from what they’ve taught

No songs were sung that day

Till second world war’s burns had blazed

In Hamburg, and Dresden

No other fire since had razed

None other was akin

Pliny the Eld, Cassius Di

They’ll give you their account

But Tacitus says no, you see

That’s not what he found out

As the flames turned bread to crumb

He wasn’t even home

The emp’ror was in Antium

Dr’ing the Great Fire of Rome

Remember this; do not forget

When judging others’ sin

His’trys writ in blood and sweat

By only those who win

Editing Sucks (but Marriage is Great)

I’m wedded to Words, yes I’m smitten with love

But like any such marriage, we fight

Sometimes it gets tense, and push comes to shove

As they shout, “Don’t give me your bullshit tonight!”

Of course that’s unfair, Words just don’t understand

Just like any ole husband or wife

Its worked to the bone, this here writing hand

Far too much for that “editing” life

Why can’t Words just listen, do what I say

And tidy things up on their own?

I’m only one man, and its been a long day

Must I do so much work all alone?

As carpal tunnel sets in, Words just lounge and relax

Can’t even say “Good job today, Matt”

Oh its cool Words, I got this, ya’ll just lay on your backs

Like I’m hitched to a fat fucking cat

Hell, I even invent those new friends that you like

“Words Night Out” exists ‘cause of ME

The least you could do is be more sportsmanlike

And help edit occasionally

I mean how hard can it be? Just shuffle your feet!

One step and that loose screw is tight

My spelling is solid, my grammar’s is neat

Its not like it’ll take you all night

But whatever I guess, I know they think I overbear

I truly feel marriage is great

I just get so worried they might have an affair

With that douchebag songwriter I hate

 

 

 

 

 

My Life

The sand, the dirt, the grass, the trees

The sticks, the stones, the light, the breeze

The things this world has made for me

Have warmed my heart and set me free

I look at the stars as I rest on my knee

They twinkle and spark, this light that I see

I gaze at them wondering, what could they be?

As I listen to waves hit the rocks under me

So calm it all is, out here with the leaves

No fear of the world, or it’s warriors and thieves

My mind is at rest, this feeling I’ve sought

A needed reprieve from the torment I’ve thought

The darkness within isn’t something I share

I keep it behind the false mask that I wear

It’s not that I’ve feigned, and not that I’ve lied

I just don’t want to release all the pain that’s inside

I want to be happy

I just want to live

Her death, it has gripped me

And it’s hold will not give

My words carry weight

Of this, I know

But now I see nothing

Through her bedroom’s window

It used to be filled

With her smile, her love

As she watched us all playing

With a ball and a glove

Those days are all gone now

And it hurts me so much

Please take this away, God

Please heal me, your touch

I don’t care if they read this

It’s my only escape

These pages have saved me

From a much harsher fate

I beg you, my Father

If you truly are there

To take this away

And heal my despair

These words that I’m writing

They’re the realest I’ve penned

I beg of you, God

Will I see her again?

Letter to My Lost: 1

My love. My all. Such memories do we share. Memories such as the times we’d awaken to the sun’s shimmering rays darting through the window, on those soft linen sheets as you’d rollover, greeting me with the morning’s first kiss. Memories of your fingers gently gliding, cusping the back of my neck, holding me as if you’d never let go.

I so long for these moments. I cannot help but wonder where you are and what dangers lie ahead. Each day, without exception, I sit gazing out this window at the calm beach and its soothing waves; the soft sound of the salted water drifting to the shore. I think of us, my love, walking along that cool, flawlessly smooth sand with our hands clasped tightly together, enjoying the warm breeze as it passes through us without a care in the world.

The days are proving harder, my love. Each day without you further shatters my soul, as my thoughts are imprisoned by the uncertainty of your welfare. I miss you every waking second of the day, and am greeted by your embrace only in my most deepest of dreams.

Tell me you will be returning soon. I cannot bear the thought of going through this every day. I miss you, my Braden. I hope my letter finds you well.

Please come home to me.

With everlasting love,

Your Lilliana

The Ward & the Bone: 13

“Bites of the Round Bowl!! Please, lend me your ears.”

Standing valiantly on the balcony of Cage Spamalot’s Keep, Grr Barker tells the entire Realm of the quest he will embark on, with no puns intended.

“Realm!” He shouts, “I shall commission my bravest, most chivalrous Bites to accompany me on this epic quest! We will weather the challenges that lie ahead. No obstacle shall stand in our way as we courageously mush our way to the artifact of old; the fabled Excalibone!!”

“HUZZAH!!!!” The Kingdom roars before him. “LONG LIVE GRR BARKER!!!”

“Calm yourselves, constituents,” Barker howls as he raises a paw. “Yes, this quest shall bring much glory to our Kingdom, but we mustn’t forget the severity of the threat which lies to the East! My advisors have informed me that there still remains a Phelyon, by the name of Corgin La Fey, who wishes to reclaim our freed lands!!”

“NAY!!!” The crowd shouts, fully in support of their leader. “You must vanquish her!!”

“Yes!” Barker asserts. “And vanquish we shall!! But first, I must unearth the fabled weapon of old!! For without Excalibone, I might as well be riding into a sea of Jellyfish!”

“But wait, my Liege!” A random peasant shouts from the crowd. “What do jellyfish have to do with this narrative? Alas, they don’t even remotely relate to the topic at hand!”

“Aye,” Grr Barker barks, “your words are true. Jellyfish are not, in fact, related to this quest at all. But alas! We shall recover Excalibone and send Corgin La Fey back into chasm from whence she came!!!!” He howls, awoo’ing at the rising Moon.

“AWOOO!!!!!!” The crowd repeats, even though many of them are not Kaynine. “Tomorrow,” Grr Barker shouts, “our quest shall begin!!”

Hide & Seek

Sweaty brow, aching back, home packed lunch and the sleepless nights

That’s how things were done when people worked, reaching up for higher heights

Dirt and grit, skin and bone, not a moment thrown into the waste

Men would own up to the challenge, no obstacle they wouldn’t face

Things got done, cities built, on the shoulders of their work

They didn’t need a safe space, they built these things from grit and dirt

Now, today, we watch as our children have their feelings hurt

Instead of saying “toughen up”, we tell them “get revenge and throw some dirt”

Paint the people disagreeing as bigots and misogynists

As they yell and cry aloud, raising pickets and their fists

Its sad to me, watching as we become so weak

Many years from now, the stronger will destroy the meek

Its not immoral, its not unjust, to teach your children to be strong

Look out at this harsh, cruel world and tell me that you know I’m wrong

And if you do, then friend, this is the only thing I’ll say to you

I hope you taught them hide and seek, cause hiding’s all they’ll know to do

The Ward & the Bone: 12

“Grr Barker, you’re up early.”

Trotting aimlessly through the hedge maze outside of Cage Spamalot, Master Squirrelin spots the new King on a morning stroll.

“Aye, Master. I found it difficult to slumber this morning. I am used to my princely duties, but now that I have inherited the Bone, I find that the responsibilities weight heavy on my conscience.”

“This is understandable, my Liege.” Squirrelin says as he pats Grr Barker on the back. “Your newfound tasks must cast an unimaginable burden.”

“They do, old friend. They do.” Barker sighs.

“My King, there is something I must share with you. I have spent much time digging through the archives. There is something I believe that must be addressed.”

Intrigued, the young King raises an eyebrow.

“Go on,” he barks.

“Barker, I have known you since you were just a pup. You know that I have always had your best interests at heart. May I speak freely?” Squirrelin asks.

“Of course,” Barker nods.

Stopping their pace, Squirrelin places a hand at the King’s chest. Looking up in surprise at the gesture, Barker turns to the mage to give him his full attention.

“There is much peril brewing in the East.” The old Squirrel says.

“Peril?” Barker asks, caught off guard dog.

“Yes, my liege. Peril. Much of it.”

Squinting his eyes and slowly casting his gaze toward the rolling hills to the East, Grr Barker suddenly wafts his hair back.

“These lands are as secure as ever!” He barks with confidence.

“My liege! You must listen.” Squirrelin pleads. “There is one who remains. One who was not felled during the War of the Realm. She is a Phelyon known as Corgin La Fey. She is mustering a massive army to reclaim what was once theirs!”

Recognizing the sincerity in Master Squirrelin’s plea, Grr Barker’s arrogant smirk fades into a look of concern.

“Are you certain of this, Master?” He asks.

“I am.”

“Hmm.” Barker hums, stroking his beard. “I shall consult my Bites about this. We must purge the Realm of any evil if it does, in fact, remain.”

“It remains, my liege. It assuredly remains. There is more…”

“Oh?” The King Barks.

“Yes.” Squirrelin asserts. “The prophecies have foretold there is but one way to defeat this scourge. You must recover Excalibone! The sword your father wielded during the War of the Realm. It is the only way that this Corgin will be defeated.”

“A quest, you say?” Barker barks.

“A quest!” Master Squirrelin repeats.

“Then it is so!” Barker shouts, head held high. “Myself and my Bites will take on this quest with honor and return balance to the Realm!”

“Excellent!” The magic-wielding rodent exclaims. “Excalibone!”

“It shall be mine!”

 

The Ward & the Bone: 11

“Barker? He is King now?”

Far to the East, Corgin Le Fey and her minions discuss the new events that have transpired throughout the Realm.

“Yes, madam,” a rat-servant screetches, “there has been much change occurring throughout the lands. Grr Barker has ascended to the Bone, and now rules with his Bites of the Round Bowl. Your carefully laid plans to put Toother to rest worked without err, and everything has gone according to your foretelling.”

“Excellent,” the Phelyon sorceress says. “Toother’s campaign almost destroyed my entire family tree. I will take pleasure in clawing the limbs and branches from his own.” She adds, combing her claw over a scroll detailing the Toother Mansbestfrienddragon’s lineage. “He should have known better. You NEVER abandon a Phelyon in a tree! They will always find a way to survive.”

“It is known, my Queen!” the rat-servant says, rolling up the Bestfrienddragon lineage scroll. “Forever Phelyons!”

“Forever Phelyons!” Corgin repeats, leaning out of the stone window so her voice can echo across the land.

“Rat-servant!” She shouts, retreating from the window. “Send a dispatch to Barko Polo. He shall send emissaries to assist me in my conquest!”

“Of course! Barko Polo is an excellent ally to call upon. You are wise to summon him.” The servant obediently replies.

“Yes.” Corgin purrs. “The Realm shall soon be mine. MINE!” She adds, pointing her Phelyon butt up to the ceiling, exposing her backside.

The Bath of the Birds

I sit here in silence, observing the fray

They jump and they fly and they chirp and they play

No notion of others, surroundings are clear

They have no concern for the things that are near

A troupe, all together, just having some fun

Enjoying themselves now that rainfall has come

A friendship? A family? Their dynamic unknown

I’m certain of only one thing that they’ve shown

Simplicity flies in this unit of four

No worries, no stress, no rich and no poor

Their life is just that, a puddle to play

A place to post up and put worries away

And as I observe, these birds look around

They hop and they leap and leave marks on the ground

I can tell that they’re happy, such joy do they feel

As they chirp and they play, I can see it’s so real

They love one another, there’s no question of that

I can tell just by watching, it’s a sobering fact

I can’t help but wonder, as I see these birds play

Why humans can’t see things this simple today

This life wasn’t forged for such fury and fear

We were meant to be loved, all my friends, it’s so clear

Today, make a promise, I beg for your words

Reflect this world’s beauty, like this bath of the birds

The Ward & the Bone: 8

The morning after Grr Barker’s cryptic meeting with The Lady of the Shake, he rises early to greet the new sun. Trotting over to the stone window overlooking his Kingdom, he squints his eyes as the light meets his emerald, green eyes. His thoughts bark the question of whether he is worthy of such a quest, and he internally wonders if he is suited for the job. Before his mind has a chance to answer, he is interrupted by the gravest of news.

“Grr Barker!” A rat-servant hysterically shouts after climbing the many stairs to his Cage. “You must come! Your father has taken ill!”

“My…my father?” Grr Barker asks, immediately concerned.

“Yes! Please, follow!”

Scurrying off into the spiral staircase of the chamber tower, Grr Barker trails the rat-servant across the Castle Cage’s halls until they finally reach his father’s Kingly chambers.

“Father!” Barker howls as he sheds a tear from his glistening green eye, “please tell me you will persevere!”

Weakly lifting his head, Toother Mansbestfrienddragon takes his paw and wraps its around his son’s shaggy neck.

“My beloved Barker…cough cough…y…you must see that our Kingdom r…cough…remains. You must recover that which I have lost. My…my son…you must recover Excalibone!” The King manages to say, before his spirit sadly fades beyond the Veil.

“FATHER!! NO! AWOOOOOOOO!!!!” Grr Barker howls in pain. “How did this happen?!” He asks the surrounding servants and dogtors, suddenly displaying an expression of fury and hatred.

“My liege,” the King’s primary dogtor says, “we believe he was poisoned. His death was far too sudden for this to be a conventional illness.”

“Who is responsible?!” Grr Barker shouts, wanting answers.

“We believe it was the work of Corgin La Fey, my liege!” A tiny rat-servant who has been watching from afar squeals in a high-pitched voice. “There have been rumors that she lives on, and has sworn revenge against the Bone!”

Hearing this, Grr Barker slowly raises his head, looking up at the coat of arms mounted above his father’s chamber.

“She will be ended for this.” He snarls with a deep, sinister growl. “That wicked Phelyon will know my wrath. SERVANTS!” He barks. “Prepare my armor! Tomorrow, we ride!!”

Watching, as always, from the shadows, Squirrelin overhears the new developments. Knowing that the prophecies have now been put into motion, he retreats to his study to research what must be done.

To be continued…

The Ward & the Bone: 7

After the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of the seventh century of the seventh Age, the brave Bite, Toother Mansbestfrienddragon, overcame his enemies. He led a valiant assault upon the entire Realm, ousting the Phelyons and their evil regime. This is common knowledge, and their story is told in halls across all the Land.

However, a far more secretive element of the story exists. An element, should it be widely known, that would open the Kaynine’s new Kingdom to challenge, and contest. This element is the very weapon that enabled Toother to defeat his powerful foes…Excalibone! The fabled blade that contains unspoken magical properties, allowing its wielder to own the battlefield with the mightiest of presences.

Much to the dismay of Toother’s campaign, the legendary Excalibone was lost after the final battle between the Phelyons and Kaynines. Thus, the knowledge of such a powerful artifact was buried, deep, deep, underground by the furious digging of Kaynine paws. The scrolls detailing Excalibone’s last known whereabouts were buried way beneath the Catabones of Cage Spamalot, far out of reach of any who may remember its influence.

Now, the Kaynine’s face their greatest test since the War of the Realm. They must recover the weapon that they so carelessly lost, or helplessly face Corgin La Fey’s reinvigorated armies of the East!

The Ward & the Bone: 6

The evening following their arrival to Cage Spamalot, The Lady of the Shake and her honorable Bites have settled into their guest quarters, much appreciating the fluffy, soft floor beds Grr Barker and his troupe has made available. As is customary, a Grand Feast is held in honor of the regal guests, with minstrels and jesters providing song and entertainment while the nobility discuss matters of state.

“He is Brave Grr Slobin, Brave Grr Slobin!”

Dancing atop an empty table, a small crew of minstrels begins singing the same song they sung as they approached the Cage earlier in the day.

Slightly under the influence, Grr Barker stands and hoists his silver goblet-bowl to request something else.

“Minstrels!” He barks loudly. “Play a song honoring the Kaynine’s who conquered the Kingdom!”

This request catches the attention of the entire court, as the events that led to the Kaynines’ triumph have been long debated amongst the land. Opting to please their host, the minstrels pick a tune that honors Grr Barker’s father, the current King of the Realm.

“Yes! We shall play the tale of Toother Mansbestfriendragon!”

Taking their positions, the minstrels begin singing the ballad that honors Grr Barker’s father and his campaign to liberate the Realm from the Phelyons oppressive rule.

“They came from nowhere, these Kaynines, and when they saw the harsh Phelyons, they drew their bones, and threw their stones, and now the Realm has grown and grown! With treats they came and fed the land, upon the Phelyons sad last stand, the Bites of Round Bowl, then unknown, gave peace by wielding EXCALIBONE!!”

As the melody booms throughout the Hall, Grr Barker leans back, proudly watching the court revel in the victorious song. Noticing a subtle poke in his side, he turns to see what has approached him as the rest focus on the continuing ballad.

“What’s this?” He asks, looking down at the rat-servant who has poked him.

“Please, my liege, The Lady of the Shake beckons you.” The servant says, bowing her head in respect.

Intrigued, Grr Barker leans over to a still-enamored Grr Pantsalot.

“Grr Pants, keep an eye out on the festivities. I must answer this most cryptic of dispatches. I leave you in charge of the festivities.”

“Of course, my Liege.” Grr Pantsalot barks. “I shall oversee the feast with honor.”

Satsified that he’s placed the Feast in a good boy’s hands, Grr Barker exits the chambers as he follows the rat-servant. Making their way through a winding tunnel of underground catabones, they arrive at a secret chamber previously unknown. Waiting patiently is the Lady of the Shake, whom Grr Barker watched walking through his Cage doors just hours before.

“Greetings, Grr Barker.” The Lady says, her soothing voice echoing through the underground halls. “I have learned much about you over the past several months.”

Not knowing what kind of encounter this will be, Grr Barker responds with a neutral tone.

“Is that so, Lady? Pray tell, how have you come upon such knowledge? Our Kingdoms are united, yet separated. How has my liking been passed along to your lands?”

Casually strutting forward, the magnificently beautiful Lady of the Shake walks down from the elevated stone she is standing on.

“Such knowledge has not been obtained conventionally, my dear Prince. It has come to me in a vision, one which overwhelmed me when I shook off the bathwater the other day after I bathed.”

”Tell me of this vision, m’Lady.” Grr Barker says, kneeling.

“I exited the tub, Prince, whereupon a towel was placed upon me. As I dashed into the nearest blanket and comforter to maniacally shed the moisture that plagued my fur, I saw you. I saw you holding the fabled Excalibone, standing tall amidst a ferocious battle. You were fighting the last of the Phelyons who had so desperately launched an assault on your Kingdom!”

Hearing of the Lady’s vision, Grr Barker gasps.

GASP!

“This…this cannot be so!” He barks, taking a step back. “My father ousted the last of the Phelyons! It is known!”

“No, Grr Barker.” The Lady says. “Evil still remains in the Realm, and it is your destiny to destroy it. You must dispatch yourselves and find the fabled Excalibone! There is no other way.”

Knowing The Lady of the Shake never speaks untruth, Grr Barker pauses a moment, and takes a deep breath.

“Yes. I shall find it, m’Lady!” Turning to the rat-servant who led him, he instructs her to scribe a dispatch. I call upon all the Good Boys and Bites of the Round Bowl! Gather! We have a quest!!”

To be continued…

The Ward & the Bone: 4

Days after the Games, the valiant Prince Grr Barker, first in line for the Bone, parades around the halls of Cage Spamalot, the stone castle which the Bites of the Round Bowl call home.

“I suppose you all witnessed my triumphant victory the other day?” The prince howls, his chest puffed out in pride.

“Aye, you were brilliant in the Joust!” His close friend, Grr Pantsalot, barks as he tries to catch his breath.

“Why are you always panting, friend?” Grr Barker asks his companion, placing a paw on his back.

“I cannot say, my Liege.” Grr Pantsalot pants. “I simply feel as if I’m constantly out of breath.”

“I see,” Grr Barker says, turning to face the other Bites of the Round Bowl. “Come, Good Boys!” He shouts. “We shall dine on the finest of soft foods this evening to celebrate my victory! I have arranged the most well-groomed bitches for you all to consort with in my honor! Behold!” He barks, waving his paw toward the centrally located room in the Tower. Laying within are several beautifully groomed, free-of-fleas female Kaynines, waiting for the Bites of the Round Bowl to join them.

“Awoooooo!!!!!!” Grr GoodGallihad howls, unable to contain his excitement. “Come on, boys! Grr Barker has bestowed upon us the finest bitches in the Realm!”

As the group of brave Bites debaucherously make their way into the Chamber of Doggy-Style, one Bite remains behind, lacking the same level of excitement his peers have displayed. Witnessing the events from the Halls, Grr Barker’s own mentor and personal sorcerer, Squirrelin, sees this particular Bite pausing. Carefully approaching him, he inquires what is on the young Bite’s mind.

“Grr Poopsalot, what troubles you?” The magical rodent asks.

With a grave stare, Grr Poopsalot locks eyes with Squirrelin for a moment, only to let his gaze drift to the floor.

“I have been plagued with nightmares as of late, Squirrelin, and I fear for Grr Barker. For weeks, every night as I rotate several hundred times before finding the perfect spot for me to lay myself to rest, I have had terrifying images occupy my thoughts.”

Recognizing the significance of such events, the magic-wielding advisor tries to learn more.

“You must share these visions with me, Grr Poopsalot. It is the only way for me to use my powers; we must see if there is imbalance brewing in the Realm.” Squirrelin asserts, placing his claws on Poopsalot’s forehead.

As the two close their eyes and hang their heads, deep in concentration, the somewhat cavalier Grr Humpsalot shouts at them to join the others.

“Poops!” He barks. “Come, sit and be a good boy! We are celebrating our Lord’s victory, do not be disrespectful!”

Sighing and briefly locking eyes, Grr Poopsalot apologizes to the sorcerer for his duties.

“I am sorry, Squirrelin, but I must join my pack. We shall revisit this conversation another time.”

Obediently jogging toward the Chamber of Doggy Style, Poops reconvenes with his peers and partakes in all the pleasures Cage Spamalot has to offer. Squirrelin, recognizing the possibilities before him, retreats to his kennel to study what this young Bite’s dreams may truly mean.