This poem came from the February 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by rix_scaedu and DW user Chordatesrock. It has been sponsored by rix_scaedu. This poem belongs to the series Path of the Paladins.
Even without the Bright Temple,
sometimes a few of them gather by accident,
the priests and the saints and the paladins
who remain in service to Gailah.
Most of them are old --
Ari has noticed this
as she sits at Shahana's elbow.
They are old, and tired,
and she secretly thinks
that the silvered gold of her mentor's hair
is still beautiful.
Ari cannot blame them for being tired.
These people have seen the war
drag on for decades, and honestly
this part is just the latest in a long trail
of resources leaking slowly away
for very little gain.
It was by no means new
when Gorrein's machinations
struck Gailah from her place,
and the world is showing the wear.
Ari listens to them carefully,
watches the elder knights who stand guard.
She has so much to learn,
and there is no guarantee
that they have a long time to impart it.
She edges a bit closer to Shahana.
There are a few other novices --
less than a third, she thinks,
of the elders have one
when it should be almost all of them.
They are hurting for the loss of the Bright Temple;
they have no place to retire and teach now,
so they can only keep fighting and wandering
until they die in their armor, or find
some hidden place to settle down.
Ari listens to them talk about
the course the war has taken.
Some of this she already knows,
and some of it is new to her.
She knows that there are fewer people;
she has seen the empty fields of weeds
and the hulls of burnt-out houses.
The gods are shifting their alliances, though,
and the world is starting to respond.
This time there is one new novice,
a rusty-haired boy whose bony wrists
stick out the ends of his sleeves.
It may be, Ari muses,
that the snow is still on the ground
but underneath the wet leaves,
snowdrops are starting to sprout.
She begins to wonder
about the course the war will take.