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‘Down the Way of Kings’
The Worm Ouroboros, Chapter 17, The King Flies his Haggard

How the Lady Prezmyra came to the King on an Errand of State, and how She prospered Therein: Wherein is also seen why the King would send the Duke Corsus into Demonland; and how on the Fifteenth Day of July these Lords, Corsus, Laxus, Gro, and Gallandus, sailed with a Fleet from Tenemos

“…ingratitude is a vice most abhorred.”

In the above line the fanciful King of Witchland, a sorcerer so dark his hero enemies are demons, indicts the whole of amnesiac Postmodern America in its degenerate and ungracious repose.

The great and luscious Lady Prezmyra beseeched the king that Demonland is a “weed” that long since should not remain “…untrodden under feet.”

The King, having just partaken of this lady’s more nubile counterpart, Lady Sriva, reminds her, “But war and policy is not for women.”

Having reaffirmed their stations, the conversation takes on more productive narrative toes and the King announces that she shall accompany him on the morning hunt. Awaiting them are his lords and the Lady Sriva, who he lately deflowered, and who is even then being whispered to by the lord wooing her to the effect that he will rape her when he has the opportunity.

The hunt that follows is a brutal affair in which a great boar is sought with the aid of a “haggard” eagle flown from the King’s gauntlet and a pair of hounds, one of whom suffers a terrible wound. The gruesome hunt exposes the King for the elemental predator he is and at once serves as a fine metaphor for the fleet setting sail for Demonland. The superstitious King admits to being vexed by the ringing in his ears of women’s talk.

The chapter ends with a poem about the hunt and two final lines, reading:

“The King held aloft his staff-royal, returning Corsus his salute, and all Garce shouted from the walls.

“In such wise rode Lord Corsus down to the ships with his great army that should bring bale and woe to Demonland.”

Diction of Interest

Merlin: a small dark falcon that hunts small birds, found throughout most of Eurasia and much of North America.

Jesses: short leather straps fastened around each leg of a hawk, usually also having a ring or swivel to which a leash may be attached.

Varvels: A metal ring bearing the owner's name or coat of arms, attached to a hawk's jesses. Used for identifying birds.

Haggard: a hunting bird caught for training as a wild adult

Appanage: a gift of land, an official position, or money given to the younger children of kings and princes to provide for their maintenance.

Langret: a loaded die

Busked: to perform or improvise

Boun: simple past tense and past participle of bind, tied, in bonds: a bound prisoner… under a legal or moral obligation: He is bound by the terms of the contract.

Dwale: deadly nightshade or belladonna.

A Well of Heroes

A Well of Heroes: Two:

Literary Impressions of the Prose and Verse of Robert E. Howard

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