Bardic eminence Victor Billot composes an Ode for the departing SiBri

The Tale of the Headless Horseman

Midnight on the dark road

to the borderlands where nothing stirs.

To the south, Queens Landing,

to the north nothing but barren wastes:

the Bay of Purgatory, that benighted swamp.

Fog drifts in a slow stream

around the ankles of a lonely sentry.

Lo! The sound of hooves.

Hold there, cries the lonely sentry.

Who comes at this forsaken hour?

A clip and a clop; the hooves slow to a stop.

Gadzooks! A fearsome apparition!

A national identity; a headless horseman.

What ho, gurgles the sentry,

in trembling affliction.

What evil omen is this?

Out of a bag the decapitated spectre

drew a luminous talking head:

my name is Simon the Unfortunate,

spake the eerie creature,

and I return to the ancient seat of my fathers.

Many years I played my role in the Great Game

‘tween the House of Red and House of Blue,

and was known for my severely traditional

views in the woke PC sexuality wars.

I led campaigns winter long against

the Red Empress and her Pink Unicorns.

I served my cause long and honourable,

and despite my humble antecedents

rose to drink from the Chalice of Greatness.

But the stars favoured me not:

the treacherous Toad of Mullet

lopped me most severe,

and thus I haunt the land eternally

in this disembodied state.

My loyalty was test’d, but held firm.

I followed Mad Lady Oravida

far into the lost lands of the Polls.

I raised a weary hand to serve

under Baron Luxon

and his oleaginous cliches.

But my heart grows heavy

with the bloody dealings of the Capital;

so, farewell O kinsman, for now

I seek opportunities in the private sector.

But my liege! cried the sentry.

Afore ye go! You leave the Bay of Purgatory

defenceless! All is chaos!

What allies can we call on in such fell times?

Simon the Unfortunate is silent.

His head starts to glow, more warmly,

like a Halloween pumpkin.

Well, they can always ask Winston, he says,

then clip clops off into the dark

with a broad smile on his glowing head

as it is placed back into its sack.

Victor Billot has previously felt moved to compose Odes  for such luminaries as Clarke Gayford, Centurion Andronicus, the Prime Sinister, Brian Tamaki, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, and Garrick Tremain.

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