This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from westrider and jenny_evergreen, then sponsored by janetmiles. It belongs to the Sort Of Heroes series. Unlike the gritty humor of the other poems, this one is a haunting look at the insidious power of Good.
The Myrklord crouched in his tower
of glossy black tourmaline
and gazed at the stone table
with its sculptured map of the world.
One trembling fingertip
touched the ruined mountain
where once a staunch ally had stood.
He turned again to the whisper-sifter,
subtle artifact woven of stygian silk.
He had only to press his palm
against the taut sable veil,
and then he could hear the sword
murmuring its advice into the henchmen's ears.
What made it all the more horrible
was that he knew them both
and would have named them dutiful
if anyone had asked his opinion.
How many times had the Myrklord
gone to visit the Master
and drink duskwine in the Basalt Tower?
Nib had been there, his bland peasant face
always calm as they sent him on this errand or that.
Brod had been there, his stony trollish muscles
making short work of opening the heavy iron gates.
Now they were gone,
run off down the glory road
where only fools and heroes go.
The Basalt Tower was gone too,
crumbled into rubble and carted away by gleaners.
The Myrklord had seen it all in the gloomglass
with which he scried current events.
This left an uncomfortable gap in the balance of power
between good and evil, whose intricate web
kept the world steady and strong.
He could feel it in his head,
missing piece making a worrisome wobble
so like a loose tooth that he kept wanting
to prod it with his tongue.
The Myrklord ran a hand over the roster,
marking his own minions in his mind
and wondering which of them would abandon him,
lured away from his worthy service
by some artifact's shining promises.
This one? That one?
He could only hope not,
and hope was a feeble thing indeed,
laid against the weight of a man's own advantage.
With a sigh, the Myrklord opened his war chest
and the slim leatherbound ledger,
and began figuring how much he could afford
to offer by way of a raise.