The Epic of Hakka, First Canto

Image: "Ophelia among the Flowers" by Odilon Redon

The Epic of Hakka, First Canto

By Mitchell Phelps, set in Kobold Press's "Midgard"

Hakka dreamt the long dream

The Dream that sleeps in all hearts

And awaits the mouth of living’s stream

Until body and soul are apart.

White fire, burns the soul

High fire, ending endless toil

Couldn’t resist the pull

Hakka’s only true foil.

Then the councilors came to bear

They spoke as though a loud war-horn

They said “Hakka, daughter so fair,

Hear the tales of the lost and worn.”

The Warrior-king that once sat mighty

Says, sitting now in forevermore,

“I once owned mountains lightly

And fought only to bring blood and gore.”

“Now I sit atop the fire

My throne drenched in suffering

Some for them, and of some I tire

Let me teach you Dark Old Ways enduring...”


Hakka awoke from her unconsciousness in a groggy haze like she hasn’t had for a long time. The she-orc appeared to be on a table in a basement, and her lungs creaked and ached like air was a foreign matter to them.

“Hakka!” cried Eagungad, kissing his wife. “Thank all the gods you made it!” the old orc had tears on his face, his nose and eyes red like beet. Clerics surrounded them, and accepted payment from Eagungad as they packed their things. “These guys--” he gestured to the oddly dressed clergy “They kept telling me that they were having trouble -- and I thought… Well, I was terrified.” Eagugnad said abashedly. Usually Hakka does not appreciate fear. But today, in this place perhaps, she simply did not know how to feel. She said nothing, a perfectly blank expression on her.

“Hakka?” Eagungad asked after her. Silence rolled with the impact of a coming storm for multitudes of moments before Hakka opened her mouth.

“Where are we, love?” Hakka said without expression, as was her way, in a croaking, tired voice.

“This is a pantheistic monastery or something in Zobeck, under a bar… They were the only ones who would take you when you came back to us.” Eagungad sniffled and explained.

Something clicked in Hakka’s mind. “Eagungad…” She felt her body discovering dreadful scarring. “Did I… was I…” 

Eagungad, ever eager to help, finished this thought for her: ”Yeah, dear, you died out there. Well, almost. It took these guys all they had to keep you here.” The intensity of this took away Hakka’s words, and her lungs and heart throbbed in a panic as though she were starving of it, a hunger built up into a flood of sudden emotion. Stunned, Hakka was silent. “Let’s take you out of this dark room, dear -- and find the Boys and Loralhob!”

Hakka obliged, eager to return to her children. Together they clambered up old stairs into a fine main foyeur, bedecked of mahogany and smelling of older generations. “You’re distant, Hakka…” Eagugnad gently, carefully interrogated “Do -- do you remember anything from when you were out?”

Hesitantly, Hakka lied to her beloved. “No, love. It was like I was asleep.” and Eagungad believed this.