Broccus Gnashtooth and the Fall of the Meglonian Empire
( Author’s Note: Herewith be the sequel to The Horrendous Misfortunes of Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra, posted earlier on this site. As that verse tale was enjoyed by some readers here, I thought I would post this second part of the history of hydras and the land of Mung. It may be wise to read the first verse tale first, if you have not already done so, to understand the references to it in its sequel, but that is up to the reader, who may find it convenient to not read either of them. )
O, great Meglo Manekneehack,
ruler of worlds that never crack,
pondered his toe nail with Sultanic gaze,
asked his wise ones to unroll his empire map,
to point out lands he had not yet invaded,
plundered hard and treasure raided,
to feed the lion on his lap.
“All lands are yours, great Meglo,
ruler of the Meglonian Empire,
chieftain of marauding berserks,
who for you set thrones on fire,”
said Cirraburnze, his chief spokesman seer.
“All except one, this now hear,
let this truth your ears unbung,
I speak of the land of Mung.”
“Outrage. Outrage,” fumigated Meglo.
“Why is this land not mine?
Of all the stars that branch the sky,
am I not the brightest one to shine?”
“Certainly, certainly. Verily, verily, it is so,
O, great and mammoth tusk hard, Meglo,”
said Cirraburnze, the lamp of truth
he had to dim,
lest he was tortured grim,
for thinking that Meglo’s war bands
invaded other lands, not him.
“The land of Mung is well defended,
so our spies return to tell,
not so much by swordsmen or mounted archers,
who can shoot an arrow well,
but by a most outlandish monstrous beast,
Tumdrukar, the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra,
his full name. Crafty, to win any game,
from him brave men flee with none to blame.
A bargain with King Dimduck,
the ruler of the land of Mung, he has made,
that allows him yet to live
in his mountain cavern’s rocky shade.
He has vowed on King Mung’s sword,
to serve him well as his lord,
to defend his throne and crown,
as long as his knights do not ride out
to hunt him down,
for his deed of abducting Princess Arna,
some seasons gone,
a tale now stale as a forgotten scone,
as her enchanter, kept her captive in his cave,
until rescued by Sir Boarswine,
now honoured he as wise and brave,
while the princess can do naught but smile,
well wedded now to Prince Frostfile,
seldom now, it is said,
do they leave their married bed.
And sure enough,
since the king and the hydra made this pact,
no host has challenged Mung Castle’s walls,
for dread of the hydra’s threatening thunder calls.”
Meglo turned pale, even to think of such a beast,
deflated, like a cob, in need of yeast.
“Abduct a princess, did he? That shows guile,”
said Meglo, with a sly, cold serpent smile.
“But he will not stop invading plots, devised by me.
All land will be mine, dry above the sea.
My chief champion, Broccus Gnashtooth,
bring to my throne,
he who defeated Amag Dungheep,
war lord of chariot men,
with the battle skills of his bear like hands,
and bald ape head, alone.
He will drag this beast caged to me,
his six heads will serve my army,
become welded in my heraldry.
Then I will invade the land of Mung,
add to my ladder its final rung,
so I can invade the halls of gods,
play with them like peas, unshelled from pods.
At the mighty name of Meglo,
all will kneel low or feel the lash of woe.”
And so it was that Broccus Gnashtooth,
more like black mountain bear than man, in truth,
rode out of Emperor Meglo’s palace court,
armed with scimitar, shield and mace,
mounted on Stungbottom, his herculean steed,
black as thunder struck stone,
at an aggressive, plundering pace,
rode he to the land of Mung,
to capture and tame the hydra,
as he had been taught,
valiant was he, and solitary, alone.
To the cave of Tumdrukar,
the Six Headed Opalescent Hydra, he came,
blew his boar horn, bawled his name,
challenged him, most mightily,
to meet him in combat,
to see who the winner would be.
Tumdrukar, having six heads,
each one with a brain, was no fool.
With his twelve dark orange,
rust red flamed eyes, he peered,
out from his cave mouth shelter,
at his would be slayer,
who looked to him heathen,
bear like, cold and cruel.
“Go away, human hog,” he hissed at him,
like a black bog where serpents swim.
“You disturb my nap.
I am too wise to fall into any formulaic trap.”
“I call you coward then,
for not meeting me in fair combat,”
bawled Broccus Gnashtooth.
“Are you less than a newt, some kind of bat?”
Tumdrukar, his anger roused,
to hear such unheroic, insulting words,
where he housed with wild beasts and birds,
prodded one head outside his cave mouth,
to scare Broccus, who stepped back, pale,
for such a monstrous being he had never seen,
and he had travelled far, east, west, north and south.
“O, most hideous thing, ” Broccus cried,
whose favourite meal was sardines with eggs,
poached, boiled or fried.
“You must yield, return with me to my emperor king,
the great Meglo. To his tune your six heads will sing.
Then he will invade the land of Mung.
Bow your heads to me, while the day’s yet young.”
Tumdrukar craftily decided, after all,
to emerge fully from his cave,
his would be capturer to appal.
Broccus stepped further back, in fright indeed,
to be shadowed by such a monstrous beast,
and wondered where now his path would lead.
“First, let me tell you my life’s tale,
to sorrow your mind, break your heart,
I promise, it will not fail,”
Tumdrukar slyly said,
lashed by one tongue in one lone head.
Then he began the telling of his life’s tale,
one of such long, lamentable woe
that Broccus wept to hear it,
never before had words moved him so.
“Cease, I cannot take more.
I feel now like a lobster,
washed wet upon the shore,”
he groaned, tears on cheek and beard,
a crumbling sight, pitiful, weird.
“I wish now to comfort you,
O, strange friendless freak.
I choke inside, can hardly speak.
Now I stand, your stout friend, not foe,
for never have I heard such words of woe.”
“But in my tale, I have not gone beyond my infancy.
Let me complete my saga,
the most pitiful in all of hydra history,”
said Tumdrukar, impressed by his own tale telling gift
that could mountains move, behemoths shift.
“No, no more. See how you have made me whine.
With you as forever friend, I wish to dine,”
said Broccus, the lines in his battle knotted brow,
he felt untwine.
“I wish now to be your friend and servant man.
Let us discuss our future plan.
And I vow to help you defend your cave,
and the land of Mung, where you dwell,
as now seems right, bongs in my mind, like a bell,
and by my oath, I will serve you well,
the best I can.”
Tumdrukar pleasantly agreed.
And the first task he set for Broccus,
his new friend indeed,
was to help him among the yellow reed,
gather buttercups and blue berries
on which he liked to feed.
As for Meglo Manekneehack,
furious was he when Broccus did not come back
with the monstrous hydra on a lead,
to help his war plan, as agreed.
And when history turned a dusty page,
he died of failing heart and ailing age,
and his empire was divided back into many lands,
ruled by kings and queens,
so the Earth map looked more like,
in browns and greens,
what the present cartographer now understands.
The moral of this tale is offered free,
an emperor is one that should not be,
and only one brain you need that truth to see.