7
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The first one borne, the others belated.
Legions have my intentions debated.
Headdress upholding my endless mission;
I rule either way, death or submission.
Gather your might to face my attrition.

Borne the second, I'm the arm of the first.
Legions have fallen to quench my bloodthirst.
Damage I bring with the swing of my sword.
On no side I fight; no army, no horde.
Of my accord I fight: to fight all accord.

Grass and grain ruined, look on with disgust.
I'll show you fear in a handful of dust.
To bring your suffering I come in haste.
Hard, cold scales watch silently as you waste.
Now greet you the fourth, the wicked, the chased.

Hark and cower at my fearsome approach,
As the mortal realm I dauntless encroach.
Eyed in my wake is the reaper of souls.
Skin corpsely pallid, eyes dark as coals.
Scurry now mortals, and hide in your holes.

Can you identify the four characters and explain their references?

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty poetic! +1 $\endgroup$ – Hackiisan Sep 24 '15 at 18:17
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Is it...

the four apocalyptic horsemen?

Conquest
"I rule either way" is the key phrase. "Intentions debated" refers to the fact that people have the most varied interpretations for the first horseman. Traditionally, the indicating role of Conquest has been assigned to Egypt, which has prominent wartime "headdresses".

War
War is the most common means to achieve conquest. In Revelations, war breaks out on a global scale, thus the free-for-all description of "on no side I fight".

Famine
"Grass and grain ruined" is thr key phrase. Famine is first and foremost a poor crop in agriculture. The "cold, hard scales" refer to the balancing scales of the ancient marketplace, symbolically representing the rapid inflation of food prices during times of famine.

Death
"Reaper of souls" is pretty explicit.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good job! I suppose I would have liked a little more explanation of all my clever clues :P but good solving nonetheless. And thanks for the +1 Here's one back to push you over 1k $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Sep 24 '15 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I didn't include the other explanations because I felt they would be rather obvious once the characters were identified. But if you think some in particular I have missed, feel free to just bring them up and I'll take a crack at it =) $\endgroup$ – Hackiisan Sep 25 '15 at 4:10

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