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BARDSONG The Slayer of the Dragon Polar
by David Ian
05/21/06
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BARDSONG: THE SLAYER OF THE DRAGON POLAR

In the Year of Our Liege
Thirteen Hundred and Six (1)
We marched forth from the gates of Northgaard
And our band was equipp’d
From the strong to the quick
For a mission decreed by the crown

We had scores of sacred wards
And spears and shields and swords
And, lordy, how they blessed them over
We were charged by the king
That to him we should bring
The great head of the Dragon Polar

Well there was Troll-Bane McGee
From the banks of the Leigh
There was Woodworm, and Hogaan the Bard (2)
And a squire named Talrud
Who was scared stiff o’ blood
And a scout that we brought from East Port

Well there was Ogre the Cruel
He was drunk as a rule
And, lordy, was he cross when sober (3)
Two knights and a man
‘Twas the prince of the land (4)
And the Slayer of the Dragon Polar

We had marched seven weeks
When provisions ran out
And our guide lost his way in the fog
And the wind blew so bold
We’d a-died from the cold
Had we not found a cave in the mount

Then the cave erupt and rock’d
O, lordy, what a shock,
We nearly broke and scatter’d
“All knights hold your ground
This is where we’ve been bound”
Cried the Slayer of Dragon Polar

Then sword clashed with claw
And shield and tooth and maw
With deafn’ing roars like thunder
Then the wyrm struck the ground
When the prince’s sword came down
He’s the Slayer of the Dragon Polar (5)


(1) It is disputed as to whether this is the actual date of the event, as the kingdom of Suaar was under heavy invasion from all its neighbors by the close of the year. Much too much was going on politically for there to have been the luxury of mounting an expedition into the Northern Wastes. There are other scholars who view the entirety of the song as metaphorical of Suaar’s warring with it’s neighbors, the Dragon Polar a metaphor for its enemies, etc. and prince Isataar ultimately the vehicle for the the defeat of their enemies and inheriting the crown at this time. While this is attractive on many scholarly levels, there remains the problem that the war did not end at this time, and it is documented that Hogaan the bard, author of this piece, was lost in the course of the wars.

(2) One of the hallmarks of Hogaan the Baar, the composer of this song, is to include himself into the event as if he were part of the party and eye witnessed the account first hand. It is more likely he stayed at court until the party returned and then pumped all involved for details before composing the celebratory song for the royal festivities

(3) It is a popular joke that this character included here was to be depicting a very powerful but disliked baron, who begged off the expedition anyways by “buying off” his place in the party, although his replacement who acquired his position did so under condition of anonymity, not getting credit for any deeds he may have done. This is generally understood why there is disagreement as to who did the actual slaying of the dragon (see NOTE 4 below).

(4) Early versions of the song contains this line instead, “And he stood tall and tan” suggesting that the actual slayer of the Dragon Polar was a mercenary from the Southlands or possibly (or more probably) a Kirian Warrior, martial specialists and often bodyguards or champions under control of the rajahs of South Kir and North Kir also “dark skinned” nations; they are never hired out, but it is custom to gift the services of these fine warriors between royal contemporaries for specific tasks.

It is conjectured that the actual slayer of the Dragon Polar was not the “Prince of the Land”, as this later line claims, but it was tradition that such expeditionary parties and war parties go “in the name of the prince” or some such. It is not likely that prince Isataar actually went on the expedition, though he may have been its patron. Over time it is generally attributed to him that he did, and his fame spread far and wide as to having done the actual deed.

(5) More commonly circulated versions of this song have “grafted” in a refrain, sometimes included in the end, or often chanted in between each verse.

“So hold your tankard high
And to your king stand by
You’ll ne’er behold a brow more nobler
And know that winter’s broke
Crumbles now the icy cloak
All hail to the Slayer of the Dragon Polar”

This, however, is assuredly not from the original composition from Hogaan the Bard, as none of the early manuscripts include this refrain, and Hogaan himself was loath to use such refrains in his work.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The significance of bringing down the Great Dragon Polar, King of the Ice Dragons, is many and varied. This is the only known documentation of the defeat of a so-called “royal” dragon, or greater dragon. It is purported that no longer can be spawned “clever” dragons of that ilk, and it is further supposed that all ice dragons revert to being “dumb brutes” without wit nor wisdom. Scholars of dragon lore disagree as to the total impact upon the death of a dragon king upon its domain. Some say that the area remains void as other dragon kings will still shun the domain, Fire Dragons do not dwell in icy regions, etc. Others say that the other Dragon Kings lay claim to the region and vie for control of it, threaten, bribe or go to war to wrest its entirety or at least control of various regions, which may be disputed at any time in the usual ways.

Certainly without the menace of dragons to the north for the kingdom of Suaar to defend against, almost the entirety of its Northgaard strength could be applied to its wars to the south, east and west. It is assumed that they also received some patronage from either North Kir or South Kir, although no known mercenary armies were actually hired from any of the war rajahs, it is possible that none of the mercenary armies were lent, hired or gifted to any aggressors against Suar. Why they should receive such special favor is not entirely understood, although it is thought that prince Isataar in his exile struck some bargain with the war brokers of the Kirian nations, or perhaps some favor extended by the patron dragon of Suaar.




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