The White Hart
by Aster Cantory, Bard of Slipshire
Deep in the woods an Elken did stride,
Always alert for a pure, snow-white hide.
A hart, t’was said, could cure his disgrace,
For his unnatural form he sought to replace.
He, crowned the master of hunters.
In a moss-covered glade he paused for a rest,
Sure his quarry would fall to this test.
His eyelids grew heavy, his willpower weak,
And soon he lay down with the moss to his cheek.
Soft and mild, the forest caressed him.
Out from the twilight a vision did tread,
All alabaster from hoof up to head.
The hunter did rouse, his bow in his fist,
Notching an arrow, his fears he dismissed.
In a breath, the white hart had vanished.
In the stag’s place, D’Orion did stand.
“All who forsake my gift shall be damned.
“May you walk in the wood the rest of your days,
“Living in anguish for such traitorous ways.”
And with purpose His hand He did lift.
The hunter’s heart stilled, and panic was found.
His body was twisted in pain so profound.
His fur blanched all white, his fingers did blend,
Till his hands were but hooves, and on four did he bend.
From Elken to elk his body became.
D’Orion did smile, a look laden with spite.
“You are what you sought: a hart of all white.
“I say you will find not one day of rest,
“‘Till the arrows of hunters find their place in your chest.”
His vengeance now sated, D’Orion was gone.
To you who would travel too deep in the wood,
Take care that you never step more than you should.
For the forest is guarded by spirits of might,
And all shall heed their natural right,
Lest they meet with the wrath of the Elk Lord.