The lights are dim; the mood is tense,

there is so much, so much, so much suspense.

A pot of golden treasure sits waiting to be claimed

by the cunning winner who is not yet named.

Five adversaries sit in silence

patiently playing a finicky game;

the fire of victory in their eyes,

kings, queens, and jacks tied up in their hands

waiting for the prize.

No longer is the surrounding world seen,

it is gone, vanquished behind a carpet of green.

No longer are lifelong plans made,

strategy slashed them with its sharp blade.

But not everything is as it seems

or appears to be.

The mirage, fa├žade, must be kept

if the ruse is to not let up.

The idea so carefully hidden

is the only plan that will ever be.

So quietly he sits,

screaming inside.

No other card-player knows the misery he hides.

The silent wrath that has bequeathed itself to him,

lingers in every illusion he dares dream.

He is no gambler, yet fate has called him to be,

for in his hands lies not only his destiny.

Here, among these hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs

is a crucial key

to unlocking the secrets foreseen.

It is a map like no other.

On its ink-splattered parchment it carries

the location of a myth beyond belief.

Upon a teetering, golden square

in the middle of the mountains of ice and snow,

there was, in all fairness,

a mystery hidden in a warm haven.

It was of intrigue and intricacy

of the highest order.

Glittering silver; specks and flames,

splattered against the river's bank.

Boldly standing where none have stood before,

this mystery stands alone.

The world has never seen it,

for it has never shown itself.

But it grows curious with each passing day

and the notion of staying hidden begins to fade away.

Thus a map was made.

Chips fall on the table; cards are slapped down,

Gold is collected.

In desperation, with nothing else left,

a hand reaches out and places down old parchment.

Eyes widen,

this is it.

The map that leads to a clandestine place far away

has been bet in the poker game being played.

The king and all his court have been gathered.

His hand quavers, but he do not falter.

Shuffling occurs, gold glints, and fate decides.

The map is now his.

Swiftly the night draws to a close,

once dawn has broken his feet begin to fly.

The map reveals its secrets happily

and he find myself on his way without much disbelief.

Across the country, the dragon hears the hunter come,

his ears prick:

So, he muses, it has begun.

For the map, the trusty treasure won with cards

leads down a road not very far

to a hidden trove full of wondrous sights never seen,

the Dragon's cavern.

On one side there stands a man,

prideful, bold, adamant.

He has survived game of cunning and cards

to be where he now stands.

Will the dragon's treasure come to rest in his hands?

Opposing him is the dragon

mighty, clever, skeptical.

Thousands of challengers have come to him,

but none have ever won.

He ponders; will this be the one?

So a battle, a duel, is begun.

Neither the dragon nor the hunter will run,

for if they do they forfeit

a bounty of priceless treasure.

Who do you think has won?