Shadows Sang, Of four men bold, Who sold their souls for blood and gold, Youth and strength to monsters spent, Shadows sang and there were four, Bold and raw, they stalked the hall, Ruled the street and stood so tall, A shadow passed, And they were three,
They roared, they raged, They placed their blame, Three stood guard, As Shrike embraced, The blood and blade, With quickened pace, And two remained, With fearful hearts, Soon picked apart, The Shrike strode past, With blade in hand, And one now stands,
The lights are gone, His courage spent, The Shrike, he knew, Had claimed his friends, With shadow's song, And there were none.
This poem is a popular little bit about the legendary vigilante known as the Shrike. It comes in countless variants, ranging from bawdy drunken chants to songs, but all tend to follow a similar pattern of the vengeful Shrike bringing death to ner-do-wells of some sort or another. Shadows, darkness and blood are common to these sorts of tunes as well as well as overarching themes of overconfidence and hubris. More then one brawl has started by thugs and thieves who take offense at the Shrike's mention at their expense but this is considered an ill-omen if you belong to the criminal world. Better to suffer to the sting of words and jest then a visit from the Shrike. Most agree that such talk is little but foolish superstition... But why risk it? In some quarters, such songs are more then simple poems to share over a mug of beer. When civil strife runs high and those who rule do so cruelly, the poems of the Shrike's Shadow are not simply for leisure: they are a warning.