There was the irregular tramp of the far from numerous footmen
and the sound of tired horses moving slowly and unsteadily.
Out at the front the young Prince looked about him
and saw the animals were spent, and the men's spirit
was low or gone. And all because he had lost his courage
and run from the place that his fathers had held
under so many Emperors. But the people of any importance
had chosen the tyrant and his mercenaries.
If he had stayed he would have knelt for the sword’s severing kiss.
Better this half invitation from a chieftain out of these mountains
because of old family ties, or so it was said. But at least
the tyrant's mercenaries had given up their pursuit, seemingly.
He found the music of the little river
mixed with the sounds of the marching
and brought him quite close to sleep. Blue and red dragons
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