The Witch's Song

The prophesy given to Duncan MacAohd by an unnamed alien witch. It is not known if the original prophesy was in verse or it was just remembered that way. As either all known original records of the prophesy were lost or it was only committed to parchment long after the original event. One of the few surviving sources was a book intended for Donnachaidh Dynasty children and was obviously embellished for propaganda purposes.

Lyrics

This world is but a crossroads to my witch’s eye
so hear ye Duncan of your fate, the rest is left to you.
If xenos speak in falsehoods and witches always lie,
I am both, thus speak false twice so all I say is true.
The sword of the Crusader shall be the way you die,
hoist the banner of the invader and your Dynasty is through!

O’Foolish one, O’Foolish one, your strength you shall exhaust
so cleave unto my warning or all you love is lost.

Lay ye down your burdens and you’ll have nothing to fear
only blood shed is of enemies you’ve crossed.
Sons will see that all are fed and daughters shall brew beer.
you will know peace for two and one half thousand years!

O’Foolish one, O’Foolish one, there is a hidden cost,
that once this time has run it’s course then all you love is lost.

Your enemy shall multiply, a maw hungers for you.
the cauldron roils, blood and bone, flesh of arm and thigh.
wanting for what once was theirs, and make men’s flesh untrue.
Caledon’s rains shall be as blood, in darkness lost souls cry.
When comes the reaping, not all your clan shall die.
When comes the reaping, not all your clan shall die.

O’Foolish one, O’Foolish one your hope’s entombed frost.
For I have seen your future, seen that all you love is lost.

Meaning

First Stanza

The authenticity of the first stanza is the most hotly debated of all three as it is almost always different in each surviving incarnation. In most plays which reference the Witch’s song it includes soliloquies or scene setting.

The fact that the Donnachaidh Dynasty was on its last legs was well known from other records, and given that the Imperium was losing the crusade at the time it’s not inconceivable that the Donnachaidh could have been destroyed. And the part about the banner of the invader is widely interpreted as an adherence to the old ways must be abandoned in order to survive. Where people differ in interpretation is if it was a temporary warning, that the house had not the strength to go on conquering at the time, or a curse that conquering would bring destruction on the Dynasty.

The passage about the Sword of the Crusader could imply a crusader’s life or a specific weapon, there are many stories and legends of weapons wielded by Duncan but most are known to be myth. And as Duncan was known to have been killed by a sniper during the occupation of Caledon, with no mention of any sword.

Second Stanza

The second stanza promises a long peace should the Dynasty stay on Caledon, and foretells its agricultural and alcoholic output. Whether or not this turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophesy or a genuine prediction is still debatable given the state of Caledon after the war, and the organic way in which brewing developed on the planet. The two and one half thousand years was indeed peaceful as the only conflicts that came to Caledon were the ones that the Dynasty provoked by there actions.

The repeated last line in believed to be an embellishment.

Third Stanza

The last section speaks of what is generally considered the Doom that was foretold, this section is considered the most reliable but the most greatly debated. Those who believe the Doom could be averted believed this to be a warning. The passage of enemies multiplying might have been a reference to the Dynasty’s talent for making enemies. But this is contrasted with a hungering Maw, which is widely accepted to be the Maw warp passage.

The Witch's Song

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