The Ballad of Rezyl Azzir
Long ago, in ages past,
Before both walls and City bright,
There lived a man, mountain-strong,
Who burned with unmatched inner light.
Proud he was, and passing brave,
His doughtiness no lie,
But as a Risen, reckless, too -
The curse of those who never die.
Rezyl Azzir, he was called,
His strength known far across the land,
For he was of the chosen few,
Who held great power in their hands.
In time his kind would find a name -
Titans, they’d be called -
But in that age of long-lost tales,
It mattered not at all.
Rezyl watched his people swell,
Watched factions rise and threaten hope,
Then watched his people march to hang
On conflict’s many-braided rope.
Rezyl watched as war began,
Watched war threaten all they’d built,
War would bring the sorry fall
Of a rose that was now doomed to wilt.
Perhaps the Fallen brought relief,
For Rezyl now could fight,
Not against his common man,
But against the coming night.
He welcomed hope, reborn anew,
Welcomed purpose shared by all,
But deep within his ancient bones,
He knew that every age must fall.
He strove for hope as best he could,
Never ceased his valiant fight,
But he thought oft upon their safety,
And on the nearness of the night.
Every eve, as Luna rose,
Rezyl sat alone and stared,
He’d think on writhing Darkness,
And wonder what lurked there.
His legend grew, as legends may,
While Rezyl battled on and on,
With his rifle he slew the foes
Of the City’s new-come dawn.
Inferno, he named his mighty gun,
And it was near as known as he,
For it dealt death to Rezyl’s foes
And kept his people free.
Once, he thought to hunt a Kell,
To his wary Ghost’s dismay,
So he hatched a daring plan
Unheard of, to this day.
He let himself be captured,
Even let himself be slain!
When his killers marveled at their trophy,
Rezyl rose again.
The Kell had him in its four-armed grip,
Raised Rezyl’s conquered body high,
Then Rezyl’s Ghost revived him,
And the Kell’s plans went awry.
Rezyl’s cannon coughed but once,
Sent ether pouring from its throat,
And when the gathered Fallen charged him,
Arc-light washed away their hope.
He often led the pilgrim trains
That sought the City’s hopeful glow,
He saved as many as he could
Saved more than we shall ever know.
He grew weary nonetheless,
Of such small victories,
And often wondered what it would take
To bring the Darkness to its knees.
He never looked but far ahead,
Never dwelt on what he’d done,
For despite the pilgrims’ brave resolve,
He knew that death would someday come.
For strange things lingered in long-lost tales;
Horrors that refused to fade,
Nightmares that he’d never seen,
Monsters that lacked even a name.
And so it was, when Luna rose,
That Rezyl could not help but stare,
Perhaps he gazed upon its scars,
And saw himself reflected there.
At last, Rezyl sought the truth
Of tales he hoped were lies -
Luna called, and Rezyl went
To see the moon with his own eyes.
What he found there left him shaken,
Shafts and burrows gnawed in stone,
He worried that those whispered fears
Now called Luna home.
His Ghost alight, he traveled deep,
Ran past worms and moths and spores
Until he came upon a place
Barred by ancient, curving doors.
Deep within his aged bones,
He felt a presence drawing near,
And heard a whisper - not of glory,
But the keening trill of fear.
Metal screeched, and Rezyl spun,
He saw the ancient doors yawn wide,
A shape resolved within the air,
For something dwelt inside.
From the pit a woman rose,
Tattered rags about her face,
Around her wound a mantle dark,
Wove of cursed lace.
She floated there, beyond the gate,
And fixed him with her stare,
Then she turned and disappeared,
As though offering a dare.
His Ghost was wary, for they’d delved deep,
And now were far from Light,
But Rezyl, as was always true,
Would not give up the fight.
“Stay here,” he told his wary Ghost,
“And should I fall then flee,
For I am but a single man,
And our cause has need of thee.
“Warn the City of what we’ve found,
Tell them Pirates aren’t the worst,
For deep within our moon’s torn flesh,
We’ve found an even darker curse.”
The Titan stood, embraced the night,
Valiantly he crossed the gate,
All around him, Darkness thickened,
As he strode onwards to his fate.
Time stopped - or rather, it stretched on
While Rezyl sought his foe;
That wicked woman, wrapped in night,
That harbinger of woe.
In that place of endless night,
He could but sense the witch,
With bullet-spark he chased her down,
Through caves as black as pitch.
She choked him with her magics dark,
Rezyl shuddered at her call,
He found he could not move an inch -
The demon had him in her thrall.
Inferno was his answer, then,
His mighty rifle roared and spat,
Illuminated with hot lead
That fiend the Dark itself begat.
Up she loomed, that wicked thing,
As though she’d won herself a bet,
As though she’d brought the Titan there,
And now her trap was set.
She laughed, and laughed, and Rezyl flinched,
For every writhing word brought pain,
He felt her screams saw at his bones,
And burrow towards his brain.
She whispered words in Rezyl’s ear,
In the way a lover might;
But promised pain and endless sorrow,
Promised ever-falling night.
“I am Xyor,” hissed the witch,
“She who’ll show you to your grave,
Betrothed, Blessed; my dear, sweet thing,
I’m the storm that you must brave.”
His ears bled crimson at her voice,
As all around him terrors woke,
Fiends that hid beyond the light
And hungered for his hope.
Rezyl tensed, his rifle close,
He’d heard the torture on her tongue,
Felt pain embrace his ancient bones -
And knew he could not run.
From deep within that hellish pit,
A flood of horrors now arose,
Birthed from sorrowed, shadowed night
They chittered as they closed.
Rezyl stood, a wall of might,
Against him crashed the snarling wave,
Inferno broke their crushing strength,
Left countless dead in dusty graves.
Then at last, the trigger clicked,
Inferno gave its final gasp,
And Rezyl fought with fists alone,
And skulls cracked in his grasp.
Around his body talons closed,
So Rezyl spun, then drew -
From his hip he pulled his Rose -
His cannon always saw him through.
He killed and killed, his Rose ablaze,
Around him demons wailed and fell,
All the while the witch did watch,
As though she wove a silent spell.
Then she shrieked, and the flood let up,
At once the chittering was done,
Rezyl stood and caught his breath
For he knew he’d not yet won.
Steps rang out against the night,
A shape approached him from the deep,
A mass of ornate, armored bone,
A nightmare woken from its sleep.
Even doughty Rezyl paused
As it lumbered into view
It carried in its massive claw
A wicked sword to run him through.
Perhaps it had been valiant once,
A hero to its kind,
Perhaps, like Rezyl, it was old,
And to combat was resigned.
He faced the monster, head held high,
And could not stop his grin,
He’d come to find the dark unknown -
Instead it had found him.
Perhaps within, he himself
Had heard a whispered voice
A buried cry that howled ‘good!’
And reveled in his choice.
The creature roared, and Rezyl shot,
His Rose kicked in his palm,
He fanned the hammer, fast and sure,
As the demon witch looked on.
A shield it conjured, black as night,
Blocked the bullets from his Rose,
They fell, harmless, to the stones
That paved the catacomb.
Its magic faltered, the black shield waned,
His foe lifted its sword apace,
Rezyl growled at the sight
Of the doom he’d been reborn to face.
The battle-cry of demon spawn
Echoed in immortal ears,
Rezyl’s challenge rang out bright,
And he charged to meet his fears.
We know not what happened then,
‘Til Rezyl found his wary Ghost,
For of his mortal battle,
Rezyl would not boast.
Rezyl lived, that much is sure,
Survived both witch and wicked knight,
But unknowingly brought with him
The witch’s clawing blight.
He never spoke of her demise,
Never claimed he’d torn her down,
Perhaps within that ancient pit,
Rezyl’s fate was caught and bound.
Inferno’s end remains unknown,
The mighty rifle Darkness stole,
Perhaps the witch still holds it,
And through her pit it now patrols.
It matters not, for we know this:
In that place of grim repose,
Rezyl sat, and without a thought
He tended to his Rose.
Taking spoils from his test,
Rezyl grafted bones to steel,
Until chiton crowned his Rose
And its flower was concealed.
You know just how this story ends,
With a mighty hero left unmourned,
With whispered nightmares brought to life,
With the jagged kiss of thorns.
- Cryptarch Records // Anonymous