The Road to Epoli

The Road to Epoli is an epic albeit unremembered ballad of uncertain origin. The skeleton bard, Rickety Stitch has a great affection for the song, as it may perhaps be tied to his forgotten past. This version of the music was written, arranged, and performed by another bard, one Evin Wolverton.

Verse 1

Upon the road the Stranger strode through fog not from the sea.
O’er windswept haunts and gloomy downs of black and crooked trees.
Staving fright the Stranger sang aloud despite the dark
as wordless will o’ wisps incanted wiles upon his heart.
But though he could not see ahead, he tr0d forth ever on
And nevermore looked back upon the life he’d left behind.
Only marching toward the golden city he must find
Away from home and hearth, his bonny bride and family
Forgotten by the Stranger, on the Road to Epoli
The Road To Epoli, the Dream of Epoli (ep-oh-lee)

Verse 2

At last the Stranger wandered west, past Kril and Lionen (Lee-oh-nen)
Upon which grew the oaken vales and ash-wood Shady Glens.
But where now was the warming hearth, the gold and gilded flame?
And where now were the singing saints of yesteryear’s refrain?
The grey moon cast no light ahead, as dusk entombed his heart.
He stumbled through the darkened crypts of doubt and deep despair
And fell beneath the icy rifts of hope that brought him there.
Alone and cold his burdens dampened all that he might see
Perhaps he was not meant to find the Road to Epoli.
The road to Epoli, The Flame of Epoli.


O, sorry-hearted traveler just lay your head to rest.
The evergreen is fading and the starlight wanes away
Like old stones set in sinking sands so weary are your bones
Look to the Morning-Light on high, look through the shrouded sky!
May starlight guide you home tonight, O starlight guide you home
Though long and far you roam, upon the Road to Epoli.

Verse 3

So lonely was the wayward road, with no one by his side
No other folk to spark the lamp, no friend to kindly guide
The crickets and the sparrow-sprites went still as dusk befell
For lo, there lurked the olden fog… a-rolling from the dells
In fright, the Stranger dropped his pack and everything he owned
He cursed himself for lacking now the footing of the bold
Like griffon-hearted champions of epic stories told.
His birthright was not noble, never sworn by king’s decree
But all who seek find something on the Road to Epoli.
The Road to Epoli, the Heart of Epoli

Verse 4

The Stranger looked unto the seas, beyond the veil of night
Upon which sailed a fleet of ships, aglow with twink’ling light
“Ahoy,” they sang, “our silver ships draw near the Gilded Peaks.”
“Below the bluffs and by the deep, the Golden City sleeps”
Then swirling mists obscured the ships and drowned the sailor’s songs
The fog wove ‘round the snarling crags and slithered up the sand
Like fingers from a ghostly hand, it clawed onto the land
Yet far above the shadowed shore a mighty mountain gleamed
A crown atop the sea along the Road to Epoli
The Road to Epoli, the Light of Epoli

Verse 5

Within the gloom he tarried not, and climbed beyond the shores
The Stranger, shouting, finally found the fabled golden doors
But tarnished was their luster now, o’ergrown with shabby vines
While toppled stone and lichen shrouded everything in sight
And woe to him, the Stranger’s heart, fell faster than the stars!
He looked toward the sky and cried, “Where hath the city gone?”
Then keeled at last to weep amidst that lonely, distant dawn
No spires of the gilded flame, no sparkle by the sea
No fire within the Stranger, on the road to Epoli
The road to Epoli. The Fall of Epoli


In the Dungeon Era, Odes are an unfashionable lyrical construct, as most common folk don’t understand their romantic references to heroes and bygone ages. Goblins have no taste for storytelling, Boggarts find them dull, and Boggles have no sense of things altogether.

 Originally, Odes were written and performed by proud bard folk in kingly courts, where their audience of high-cultured aristocracy would be well-versed in the various histories of their beloved kingdoms. However, fondness for the past has all but vanished as the common folk struggle to make ends meet in a bleak and leaderless world.

For the few that are at least familiar with the Ode, they are synonymous with the name Corbin G. Doohagenberry, who in his time wrote more than a thousand stanzas of heroic strophes, tragic antistrophes, and climactic epodes. The Odes of Doohagenberry are chronicled in a collection of three volumes, aptly named Doohagenberry’s Lyre, for the great bard paired his mighty tales with gentle strumming of a golden lyre said to be etched with enchanted runes that made his every chord thunder.

What fragments of Doohagenberry’s Lyre that still exist are often highly prized amongst the Middle Kingdom’s folk that live nestled within the rolling Hills of Waed, far to the east of the sea. There, songweavers sing to the farmers as they return from the fields on starry nights. Their lute strings sing, their lyrics ring, and their tiny, tired world is made glad.

Merry Ballads

Merry Ballads | Rickety Stitch

Merry Ballads–not to be confused with a traditional ballad–are musical pieces, generally associated with a story or legend, that has no words. Differing from a ditty, chanty, or jam session, Merry Ballads are crafted with a specific, pointed purpose of the heart, and are often hour-long compositions that weave the threads of a narrative with peaks and valleys of tempo, from sonata to fermata, with various arrangements that inspire the listener as if they were spun a tale by a master storyteller.

Besides having no lyrics, Merry Ballads have only one other rule: to tell the story of a great journey and a great hero. For this reason, merry ballads are favorites amongst folk, particularly Faerie folk, or any good-hearted creature. These renditions and traditions of the instrument are widely regarded as the purest form of storytelling, as the notes themselves draw images of dread and ultimate triumph in the hearts and minds of the audience, far more aptly than the poetry of songs, the words of a book, or the stroke of a painter’s brush.