Winter’s Edge – Song of the Red

What is this?

This was a song that I wrote to commemorate an epic adventure event run by the Dungeon Masters that my bard, Velyss (Phoenix), and I believe nearly every other player in the game, participated in during August 2003, on a roleplay MUSH called Winter’s Edge. See My Diary #066 for more context.

Is it particularly good? No, absolutely not. But it was something that I wrote when I was 19 or so and performed in game at a victory banquet or party of some sort, so it’s interesting game lore that I will still put here to memorialize while trying to not analyze it too hard.

It’s largely really interesting to me because I obviously don’t remember the event any more 19 years later, however the name Ipselore did ring a bell once I saw it, and if I am not mistaken every bit of this song was actually built on the lore of either what happened on our adventures or was found out through research during the course of the plotline, so what was meant to be a tacky tavern bardsong that sprang up through in-world rumours and hearsay among the peasants to commemorate the deeds of some heroes as a way to pass down ingame historical events — actually indeed became a case of history being recorded and passed down through a song that I (my bard) wrote. How cool is that!

Song of the Red

Song of the Red
By: Anonymous

Once, long ago, there lived a great mage,
His magic unrivalled in his age.
North and west from Derring he did live,
In a tower at the edge of a cliff.

Once, long ago, there lived a wizard,
He could start a storm, end a blizzard.
However, in his search for knowledge to sate,
He found out something that would change his fate.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Of all you could’ve been, you chose master of undead.
What you could have been, now we will never know,
For the evil you embraced in the end laid you down low.

You see, what he found, was a prophecy of gloom,
Saying how a first-born son would be his doom.
He had been a Duke, but all that he now spurned,
To escape his fate – to profane magicks he turned.

Eyes of light and fingers of fire,
On the boys of the land he took out his ire.
With his magic he raised those of the dead,
Bending them to his thrall, to protect him instead.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Is there a price you would not have paid,
You slaughtered hundreds because you were afraid.
Yet how much more fear and sorrow you made?

Yet at last he went one step too far,
Struck down a little girl, by name of Tulia.
Her crime? Protecting her baby brother,
Biting the mage’s finger, till he melted her.

Still, that did not stop the sister,
Till Ipselore left, fingers a-blister.
Her skeleton had kept biting, fueled by love,
Ipselore defeated. By the little dove.

Tulia could not rest, as much as she’d yearn,
For she knew Ipselore would soon return.
Twenty miles she walked – from dusk till dawn,
Seeking her mother in Derring to warn.

A hue and cry was raised in the town,
When the little girl’s skeleton came around,
Her mom was a Priestess of the Albatross,
The temple cursed him for her terrible loss.

“Ipselore the Red, Ipselore the Red,
All the fear, all the sorrow you create.
For that, you shall be banished from this land,
Unable to touch others with your corrupting hand.”

Yet as strong as the curse they made,
They found out why Ipselore was called the Red.
As the spells hit him, he countered with his own,
Rings of fire burst, the tops of trees were blown.

The land was wrought with charred trees hence,
But the people rejoiced, with song and dance,
For Ipselore the Red was gone,
Evil vanquished, the good had won!

<musical interlude>

The next two years were free of strife,
As peasants rebuilt, and went on with life.
Yet deep in his prison, biding his time,
Ipselore studied, and came into his prime.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
They thought you were gone, thought you were dead.
But while the curse worked, it didn’t work right,
Banished you from the land, but only at night.

To the other world, which he was banished to,
He found a way to bring his spellbook through.
Once done, he could work on his dark arts,
Then returned to put fear back into people’s hearts!

An evil staff of black bone, and attitude to boot,
Quick death he could call, fire he could shoot.
This time, boys, girls, none were spared his eye,
All who tried to stop him, all did naught but die.

The cries of the villagers were heard,
Aid was sent by His Majesty, Pontius XXIIV.
Imperial mages and warriors, brave souls all,
Yet none would hear their screams as they fall.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
They came for you, but you laid them all dead.
As each one fell, it rose to join your cause.
Pray tell, how many lives, you will take for yours?

Now the brother of our girl, a blacksmith’s son,
Ipselore didn’t know, but -he- was the one.
Hidden in the forge when the mage came calling,
The boy was shielded with Tuli’s blessing.

So when the son finally came of age,
The storied tale turned another page.
Armed with a sword of glowing blue,
Ipselore the Red he sought to slew.

The tower by the bluff he could clearly see,
Set into a manor overlooking the sea.
But guardians were set on the main house door,
Winged stone gargoyles, two and four.

Seeing that, the boy skulked away,
Yet knowing that he’d triumph this day.
He scanned the house for yet another way,
To get in, to make Ipselore pay.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Many were the guardians and traps you laid.
Yet young ingenuity bypassed them all,
The boy still managed to get inside your wall.

A chimney of the house, the brave boy found,
Jutting over the cliff, ‘stead of on firm ground.
Grates lined its base, through which air could flow,
And soot could be released, onto the rocks below.

Unscrewing a grate, the boy climbed in,
Not minding the soot, as he clambered within.
Emerging from the stove, his breath bated,
He crept toward where his destiny awaited.

Ipselore was seated, supping on his gruel,
As the boy crept up, vengeance his fuel.
Then there came a moment no finer,
Who knew dinner would outlast the diner?

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Clean through your chest did go the blade.
Did you manage to scream at your fate,
Before your head slumped onto your plate?

The boy escaped, quick as a bee,
Back to his village, a hero to see.
Once again, it seemed, the people were free,
Great joy was brought onto the family.

<musical interlude>

And yet..the story does not end there.
The folk of the town still had much to beware.
Within a week, things were clearly not right,
Terrible noises, in the midst of the night.

Rumors at first, soon a cautious tale,
Of moaning, like one who’s had too much ale.
Moaning outside, spooking even the brave,
Then the first of many found – an empty grave..

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Even when killed, you couldn’t stay dead!
Was it your magic, or was it your hate,
Returned your unrest spirit, in a ghostly state?

The dead were rising all over the land,
Slowly, but surely, by Ipselore’s hand.
Their spirits broken, the townsfolk fled,
Those who did not, ultimately bled.

Though Ipselore did die that day,
His reign of terror didn’t fade away.
Now a ghost, but still with his spells,
He raised an army befitting the Nine Hells.

The people nearby fled with great haste,
As to the countryside the undead laid waste.
Twenty miles around were soon devoid of life,
Dead trees, burning homes, a scene of strife.

Yet despite all the ghost mage’s power,
His spirit was forevermore bound to the tower.
His minions destroyed everything in their wake,
As on the land his revenge did take.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
The ultimate revenge your tortured soul made.
Yet did you crave this, when you still drew breath,
A kingdom to rule – but a kingdom of death?

None dared challenge him, for a long, long time,
Gradually forgotten, both he and his crime.
Yet the people of Derring, they still knew,
For ‘twixt the town and the tower, winds of death blew.

<musical interlude>

For two centuries his evil did reign,
Before goodness returned to the area again.
A party of heroes from the capital town,
Came out west to smite the evil down.

Warriors finer have ne’er been made,
A noble ranger with flaming blade,
A strong half-orc, bravery prevail,
And a local hero, from Derring hail.

The party’s wizards, too, there were three,
A flame, a storm, and a deep blue sea.
Alone each could deal death to thee,
Combined they wrought the elements’ fury.

And then there were four more still,
A lady of the Eye, blessed with strong will,
A harpess of flame, a priestess of the Axe,
And a scout of the Wind, everblowing at their backs.

Ipselore the Red, ohh Ipselore the Red,
Scourge of the land, defiler of the dead,
You finally were about to meet your doom,
For real this time, the Hells would loom.

With spells and blades they forced their way,
Approaching the house through night and day.
They found the boy’s sword, a glistening blue,
To aid them in seeing their noble quest through.

Under spell cover, they scanned the cliff,
Getting into a cellar from underneath.
Sneaking their way up from the bottommost,
They came face to face with a large, angry ghost!

One of the party his spells laid dead,
Three others he did incapacitate.
Yet spells and brawn he was outclassed,
And from this world his spirit passed.

They laid Ipselore to rest for good,
At a shrine of flame in the village stood.
Flames engulfed his corpse, consuming it whole,
Finally lying to rest his tortured soul.

As his magics were defeated that eve,
So finally the land earned its reprieve.
Today a tree blooms in the village square,
A symbol of life and the land’s repair.

Thus ends my tale of Ipselore the Red,
The ghost mage, and his legion of undead.
If there’s one lesson from this to learn,
Evil deeds do heroes breed in turn.

The world will never be short of such,
For goodness can only stand so much.
So in your darkest nights do know,
Good will always smite evil down low!

Document dated: Sep 01 2003.