This song from 1975 and the Canadian band RUSH, their third album, Caress of Steel. All three bandmates are credited for the song, but no doubt drummer Neil Peart had primary if not sole responsibility for the lyrics.
I don’t know the finer points of Peart’s writing, chronology, etc.; that said, this song must be one of the first he wrote with such creative flare, spinning off into other lands, mystical spaces, magic and forbidding.
[I. Into the Darkness]
‘As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky,
the three travelers, men of Willowdale,
emerge from the forest shadow.
Fording the River Dawn, they turn south, journeying
into the dark and forbidding lands of the Necromancer
Even now the intensity of his dread power can be felt,
weakening the body and saddening the heart
Ultimately they will become empty, mindless spectres…
stripped of will and soul, only
their thirst for freedom gives them hunger for vengeance…’
Silence shrouds the forest
As the birds announce the dawn
Three trav’llers ford the river
And southward journey on
The road is lined with peril
The air is charged with fear
The shadow of his nearness
Weighs like iron tears
[II. Under the Shadow]
‘Shreds of black cloud loom in overcast skies.
The Necromancer keeps watch with his magic prism eyes.
He views all his lands and is already aware of the three helpless invaders
trapped in his lair…’
Brooding in the tower
Watching o’er his land
Holding ev’ry creature
Helplessly they stand
Gaze into his prisms
Knowing they are near
Lead them to the dungeons
Spectres numb with fear
They bow defeated
[III. Return Of the Prince]
‘Enter the Champion
Prince By-Tor appears to battle for freedom from chains of long years
The spell has been broken…the Dark Lands are bright.
The Wraith of the Necromancer soars
away in the night.’
By-Tor slays his foe
The men are free to run now
From labyrinths below
The Wraith of Necromancer
Shadows through the sky
Another land to darken
With evil prism eye