Temple of the Reaching Moon

The Ballad of Wind-in-Trees

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by Malk Williams

Once, in Prax there dwelt a nomad,
Fierce in battle, strong in arm,
Bright of eye and proud of bearing,
Honour clear and spirit calm.
Rider of the Sable Nation,
Terror of his enemies,
Cattle raider! Chaos smiter!
And his name was Wind-in-Trees.

All his life he lived with honour,
Followed Waha’s teachings true,
And with the Storm Buck at his back
He slaughtered Chaos, gorp and broo.
Loyal first to kith and kinsman,
Thence to clan and tribe of Prax,
Finally to other plains-folk
‘Gainst outsiders’ base attacks.

For though he raided bison tribes
(Who raided sables in return)
Likewise llama and Impala,
All their ways were Waha-learned.
Waha sheltered all the plainsfolk,
As Eiritha gave them food,
As Daka-Fal their spirits guided,
And as the Storm Bull fired their blood.

All his days then, Wind-in-Trees did
Live the life a great khan should:
Riding! Raiding! Fighting! Feasting!
And he saw that life was good.
Long ago those days seem now though,
Dancing to the desert’s tune,
The days before the Empire came,
The time before the Reaching Moon.

Moonbroth! May that name be curséd
By each mouth that tells its tale!
Place where perfidy triumphant
Caused the desert’s strength to fail.
That, the second time they tell of
Sables turning coat to send
Into the jaws of death and slaughter
Those that they had once called Friend

As the khans put forth their armies,
Then did Wind-in-Trees with pride,
Next to Bison and Impala
Ride to battle by their side.
There they met the Lunar army,
Red-winged Demon at the fore,
Many a death-damned, soul-struck nomad
Fell before its gaping maw.

Even so they could perhaps have
Rallied yet, and won the day,
But that Sable khans changed tack
To shift the tide a different way.
Whether fuelled by greed or fear
Or the weird of crescent moon,
Crescent hornéd sables calling,
They fought then for the Goddess’ Rune.

Wind-in-Trees was split in spirit,
As the khans their orders gave,
Heard the Red Moon’s call within him,
Swelling like an ocean wave.
Louder yet though cried his honour,
O’er the Moon’s compelling din,
Till Storm Buck’s Chaos-killing fury
Tore him from his wayward kin.

With his axe he cleft the crescent
Horns from off his sable’s brow,
Nevermore to bear the symbol
Carried by the Lunars now.
And with the desert storm within him
Wind-in-Trees defied his clan,
Kin-slayer then did he become as
Sables died beneath his hand.

Thus did Wind-in-Trees life end,
With Moonbroth’s other gallant dead,
Cut down by his former kinsmen,
Staining Moonbroth’s sands with red.
The Crimson Bat devoured his body,
But his soul by then was gone,
Gathered safely by the Storm Buck,
‘Gainst Chaos now he still fights on.

And Wind-in-Trees is now remembered
Only by a meagre few,
Scorned and spurned by fellow sables,
Whose Lunar-loving kin he slew.
And his name is only honoured
By the tribes he used to raid,
For Bison and Impala saw him
Fall to the Red Moon’s curving blade.

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