The Left Hand Path

I took the wrong road to Veydance
And ... oh, let the angels weep!
Now I am crippled and scarred
And too frightened to go to sleep.

They waited in glee for my coming,
The spirits of mountain and rock,
Smoothed out a way for my foolish feet
The better to make me a mock.

Mist-devils wreathed up from the waters
And shrouded the path behind,
And I ran from their high, thin giggling -
Straight into the trap designed!

A gorge - where the walls rose sheer,
Too high and steep to be scaled,
And the trail ahead ran out in a drop
So deep that my poor heart quailed.

There was nowhere to go so I turned,
And I set my back to the stone,
Drew out my sword and waited -
And knew that I stood alone.

The stars looked down without pity
And I prayed to my gods for grace,
That they might in their infinite mercy
Deliver me from out of this place.

And, little though I deserved it,
An answer was given to me
As white light glowed from my blade
And forced the Hellspawn to flee.

That night I battle with mist-wraiths,
Fought demons and howling ghosts -
My body yet bears the scars
Left there by those dark-born hosts.

But day and deliverance came,
I tore free of their snares at last,
Found the true road to Veydance,
And thought my troubles had passed.

But my sleep is haunted by nightmares,
For although the gods were kind,
They could not wipe out the memories
That claw at my heart and mind.

So I say to my friends and enemies -
For I wish my dreams on no man! -
Take only the straight road to Veydance
And the left path to avoid by a span!

by Dorothy Boyd.

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