Honour and Duty

Mercy and Might bore two righteous sons,
Honour and Duty were twins – close from birth,
Copied their mother before they could walk,
Followed their father before they could run.

But quickly a schism set in.
For Honour would serve for prestige and acclaim,
While Duty internalised much of the same,
And took his own pride in the deeds and the valour.

Both knew what it meant to be true,
With a grandiose debt to be paid,
They rendered their rates to the sick and the poor,
And by brawn, they ended their reckless abuse.

With each new quest and task thus complete,
Honour would bask in the praise and delight,
As Duty’s retreat – ceded the night,
Off to sharpen his imperfect ways.

Finally stood at the peak of the mount,
With blade in hand and cuirass held on firm,
Confronted their ultimate foe: a fiend;
Ghastliest of all, the demon of drought.

The battle was fierce as the demon attacked,
They channelled their father who lent them his power,
So fought on they did, hour after hour.
Remembering mother, when wanting to falter.

They parried and struck through the nights and the days,
Until exhausted – the last blow was true.
Begging for quarter, the demon did plead,
If only they be allowed to part ways.

Parading him first, they thought to accept,
Where Honour noticed the mood of the crowd,
Baying for blood that the deal disallowed,
But Duty had noticed it too.

Honour acceded with a swing of his blade,
Though he was stopped just short of the mark,
Duty, still tied by the weight of his word,
Demanded the killing be stayed.

Honour knew he could not best him alone,
So appealed to the crowd to give in,
Although they relented on this single whim,
The fated result was well known to both.

Honour would stay – be made hero of men,
While Duty would leave – build a hall on the mount,
And train with any who might follow his path,
To leave Honour; the champion of all who remained.

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