Mercedes Lackey, by way of C.L. Moore
Melody (elsewhere) by Leslie Fish
A spy once rode boldly into Joiry town,
Seeking someone to question at length;
To see how her people fared in Joiry's hand,
And to judge for himself Joiry's strength.
Behind lay a man who would make himself king,
Awaiting the spy's word to go,
So he asked of a guardsman, "Who is Joiry's lord?"
And the man said, amazed, "Don't you know?"
She is Jirel of Joiry, no man is her master,
And well she defends us indeed;
For with her sword above us we fear no mage nor blade,
No injustice nor overlord's greed.
When conquered she rode into Hell for a means
To slay her foes, and free her men.
And when she found her enemy's spirit bound there,
Then to free it she went back again.
When a foul wizard ambushed and slaughtered her guard,
She levelled his keep to the ground,
And then traveled through realms of the fairie and worse,
'Til at last that damned wizard she found.
Once to ransom her men into Hell's Guard she rode;
From that place none had ever returned.
And yet, she came back, Hell's Guard's treasure she'd won,
And in hell here men's captors soon burned.
Once she lay near to death at the hands of our foes,
From her bed she was stolen away;
She'd been taken by Darkness himself as his bride,
And yet Jirel stands with us today.
Much taken aback was the spy at these words,
And he wasted no more time that day.
But saddled his horse and left Joiry at once,
Rode in haste to his master away.
The lord heard his words, and then said,
"They are strange, these words of a guardsman unknown.
And yet he who would rule must not squaner his strength,
So I think I'll leave Joiry alone."