Within the Ancient Forest
1. In Exordium
[Music by J. De Ron]
A pool of water, crystal clear and shimmering, beneath the light of
an ancient moon. The water's cold tranquillity, majestic and
refined in stillness and in clime, disturbed in brief by the passage
of a lone vessel; the boat in carriage of the solitary one; the
cloaked youth of sad temper and sorry virtue.
In time, and not before time, beneath the overhang of tired
branches, the vessel gains the embankment, the youth alighting on
the shore. He wraps the cloak for warmth against the asperity of
the night, and upon his gloved wrist the falcon waits until the light
of dawn reveals that which is unseen, of the landscape of the land.
As the boat moves off unnoticed, beneath a tree he reclines to lie
and I know this story well, as one should, of he that is I.
2. Song Of The Ancient
[Music by J. De Ron and A. Tompkins]
The song I perceive as I wander through the woods through the
dim light of dawn, lilts as it?s carried on soft shifting winds
through the stillness of this early morn.
"Upon the hill, east of the woods, the old man stood rapt in
thought; gazing, contemplative and lost in himself. His old hands,
fingers long and thin, but rugged, grasped the wooden staff. It
was familiar in his hand; crooked yet strong. How many times?
How often had he before this stood on this very place, lost within
himself; rapt in reflection? A light breeze swelled about him
ruffling his hair and wisps of beard, grey with age and wisdom of
years. He had seen much, experienced much and known friends
in the Hidden Lands. But that was before; before the Fall.
Glancing downward, a sea of activity, the forest teeming with life
and lives. But lives are merely a doorway wherethrough can be
expressed the nature of the Ancient; the one who abides within
the Hidden Lands. The old man thinks 'I am become not what
was intended but through intent am become.' And so, in servitude
to human heart, he made forfeit that which was his; the intangible
for the tangible, the imperishable for the mortal."
By now I am intoxicated by the surreality of the tale, viewing
myself in the old man, and at last it dawns and I realise the very
nature of mankind, and of myself, and I lay down to cry.
"In his youth, the Old man wielded the Garensword, but not now.
And yet, the legend holds that one day, Man shall wield the
two-edged blade once more to the conquest of nations and
strongholds and powers beyond this realm."
I raise my eyes as the song comes to an end and a stranger
approaches as though she's a friend. Extending her hand I accept
it and rise. Standing, she looks into my eyes. "De-nyl, we have a
long way to go. There is so much, too much, that I have to show
"If the truth is what you seek, it is only with the Ancient whose
face is never seen. He remains within the Hidden Lands and may
only be reached with the Garensword in hand. Let us depart from
I was relieved to learn that I would not be alone in my quest. For
that day, Destiny became my guide. I released my falcon, the bird
soaring high and free above the forest canopy. And yet there
remained within my heart the lingering memory of that tragic Fall;
the wretched nature of mankind and of myself. Am I who I think I
am? Am I even alive?
3. I Am Not Alive
[Music by A. Tompkins and J. De Ron]
I am not alive, though they say I am. Such is the grave
inconsequence of man; liar that I am, I am not alive at all, not
alive at all, no. I am not alive.
Countless years have I spent in my quest, or so it would seem, at
the will of my mentor's request for truth, for the meaning, for life.
But what of this day? What of my own existence? How can I
pray to that which I cannot perceive?
Destiny would have that I blindly follow with no thought of my
own. But when I contemplate tomorrow my heart is turning to
stone. Why am I never satisfied? Why do I live with constant
pain? Is life just passing time till I die and thence never to rise
The sun is gone bringing the dark, the darkness heralds in the
night. I cannot sleep, my eyes are wide, it's the longest night of
my life. I've been denied, my life is gone, where is my breath, I
must have died. My hour is come, my tears are dry within my
eyes, life is denied. I'm cold, I'm dying, I'm cold, I am dying.
In my wretchedness, I recall the words my Teacher spoke to me,
"It won't suffice merely to exist my young friend. To be alive is
not to live, you must have life."
"The fact that it is your utmost desire to behold both truth and life,
whilst you live in ongoing uncertainty and the everpresence of
death, would suggest that this state which you find yourself in is
not of your own demeanour; suggests that you once had
contentment and life from whence you've been enticed away.
You will not find it
within yourself for there lies corruption and death. And there's no
use in searching outside yourself for that, I'm afraid, is just nature.
Reason alone cannot suffice. You must search in the great
beyond, involve the Hidden Lands in your reckoning. You must
search in the great beyond, acknowledge the Ancient in His
beckoning. For there are greater
things behind the sky than in the entirety of creation. There are
greater things behind the sky than in all that you survey."
The spirits cry, they want me now but I resist, I will not die. I
need the truth, such is my quest, I will not rest until I find the light.
4. The Grave, My Soul
[Music by A. Tompkins and J. De Ron]
In the distance, my falcon flies, circling above a clearing in the
forest. Suddenly, I hear its cries as it falls to the ground to its
death. Leaving Destiny, I rush in the direction of its final cry. I
enter the clearing and stop in sudden horror as I view an
unnatural spectacle of ancient fallen trees.
This is a fossilised forest, silent and calm, with no sign of
movement save for the stain of my form. The spell of age has
woven its evil intent upon this hallowed ground as beneath the
grey clouds the forest was rent. Moving slowly, in deliberation
and respect for the dead, I am revulsed by the scene played out
before me. How these giants have fallen. Their majesty, their
power, and all that they were are as dust to the soil and returned
to the earth. I know not why.
I plead with Destiny for an answer as she arrives and she explains
it thus; "It pays tribute to the accursed rains for of all that was,
little remains. These grey flowers you see are but a poor
reflection of what's left of humanity. They spoke the laws of old
yet chose to disoblige the Ancient, holding such decrees in
contempt by their works. The bane of mankind is that all that he
is until the day that he dies is a pawn that's expected to live by the
lies of tradition. The human condition, it seems, is to reduce all to
I wander amongst the fallen trunks as though drawn, and find my
fallen friend, my falcon forlorn. Lifeless, I hold his body hoping in
some way he's free. Whilst clutching him, I notice something, now
what can this be?
Embedded in chalcedony within an aged oak is the semblance of
an ancient warrior sword. To suggest that this had aught to do
with the legend was a dream but to ignore the possibility I could
not afford. I grabbed a nearby rock and began to smash away
the quartz as crystal shards, they flew and cut into my flesh. The
golden sword hilt exposed, I pulled with all my might as it was
loosed at last from its chalcedonic grave. And I held the sword
aloft for all the land to see and I was filled with power beyond my
Destiny, with a smile, approaches saying, "The Garensword holds
the power to bequeath life as well as death" as I watch my falcon
take wing to wind and soar high above the forest once again.
Following the bird, leaving the clearing behind us, we enter into
the forest and instantly I am startled. The sword has affected my
sight, enabled me to see things which I have never noticed before.
There are thousands of graves amongst the trees; a cemetery for
the living. Headstones with no names, overrun with wild grey
5. Gone Is My Former Resolve
[Music by A. Tompkins and C. Burton]
The dead who crave not life, I know not why they lie there
floating. They lie devoid of thought, bereft of life and drown in
Sometimes they scream as life is deprived of them. Life is no
dream and death holds no final end. We all must die.
Hacking away with the sword at the earth, at the mounds of soil,
I try to recover the dead but get naught for my toil. The corpses
lie around me in various states of decay and no matter how hard I
try I can't bring life to their day. Even by touch of the sword they
refuse to awaken. And I know they seek life not. And I know
they like to rot forever. Even their lives were of no worth if in
their eyes they hate the truth even if it sets them free. Now is not
the time to revive.
I run with naught in mind but to leave that hateful place behind. I
enter darkened earth where De-syr has waited for me from the
day of my birth. I cross the bridge of grace along a well worn
path to satiate my flesh within the one they call De-syr.
Sorrow, my contemplating. Loving hours passed, I spent my life
anticipating sorrow. Thy cold embracing felt like love back then
but now I know that I was tasting sorrow.
6. Of My Darkest Hour
[Music by A. Tompkins, C. Burton and J. Sherlock]
Lassitude overwhelming me, my consideration to relent once
more strengthened with time. But the pervasiveness of the
promise, "Thou shalt not be enticed beyond thy strength to
withstand," held firm and true in my heart; the foundation of truth,
beaten and lashed and covered over by the waves of uncertainty,
yet still unmoved and untouched.
"Stay with me," implored De-syr.
These, the final moments of my darkest hour serve to reinforce
my confidence in power. I overcome temptation but the dragon
threatens "For thine is the hour but mine is the day."
I fought long to leave the dark side for life is a moment and death
Far from the sky my soul is calling. Far from the sky my tear
drops falling. Vilified faces everywhere are turning their gazes
from the air. They relinquish their hearts without a care as they're
turning their faces. Far from the sky; my thoughts are waning. Far
from the sky my life is draining. Ever the nightfall kills the sun and
the stars are seducing everyone. They clamber to heed the
mindless ones as ever the night falls far.
7. Darkness Dies
[Music by J. De Ron]
Distant voices begin to sing, "Now the fire's burning, let the fire
spread so those who think they live will realise that they are dead.
Over eons, over centuries, it has taken many names for the Spirit
of the Ancient is the fire within the flames. Let mankind burn with
the fire of the Spirit."
Following the golden path towards the burning Tree I pause
before I enter within the castle walls. As darkness dies the light of
truth is revealed.
I genuflect to worship at the throne of life.
"I have followed your quest with great interest" said the King as I
raise my eyes to meet his. "Many have stood where you stand
and many will stand there in latter days."
The Firetree, the tree that burns whilst it is never consumed. The
Firetree on which a man died to bring life to mankind. Who was
he, that man that died? Who was he? "That man was God."
I came before the throne seeking truth and life but, as everything
in my life begins to fall into place, I learn from the King that in
death there is life; to die to one's self is the truth of salvation and
The King addressed me once more saying "Once you were yours
but now you are mine. You have my permission to die. Go now
and die to yourself."
And with that, in obedience to the King, I stepped into the pool
of water, shedding my old garments and moving further into the
depths as the water engulfed me. That day, I entered into a new
life and, in the presence of the almighty King, was born again.
Produced by Andrew Tompkins with Paramaecium. Recorded and mixed at Toybox
Studios, Melbourne. Mastered by Don Bartley at Studios 301, Sydney.
All lyrics written by Andrew Tompkins
Lyrics in plain text format