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"Scarred by the Battle of Fifty Brothers"

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Fifty earthborn warriors vied
in Gaia's soily afterbirth.

Joined in battle,
     they honed their arms
     and shaped their spirits.
One who schemed
     and whispered,
          "Join your sword
          to my battle plan!"
     found Udaius's blade in his side.
A true Spartoi follows no master.
Cthonius encountered
two brothers on the field,
     one injured,
          begging for death,
     one holding back
          to savor his enemy's pain.
Cthonius beheaded both.
A true Spartoi shows mercy but seeks none.
One who skulked and hid
     behind the rocks,
     biding his time,
     was cut down by Echion.
A true Spartoi runs toward death.
The dragon-hearted fifty
and rendered each other
down to
Cadmus called the survivors to a truce:
     An oath to war-loving Ares,
     An oath to the Cadmaian citadel,
     An oath to the bearer of the rod,
binding themselves and all of their spawn.
We proud Spartoi-spawn still honor our ancestors.
     Their oaths
     Their truce
     Their grudges
     Their scars
         Are ours.
It was Udaius
     who clawed the scar
     into Mighty Echion's cheek
I cannot offer my prayers
     to the unblemished stone face of Udaius.
         Not even now, to save my life.


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