Morgan B

Hence to the Silver Fields of Ealdenward

[…] And through that night, the wise ones gathered,

long-travelled Sigfri, Ulfish druids, Gifli too,

to speak of Dofran and its glorious folk,

so long hidden from human eyes

and fates foretold, and omens grim

such that Ka-hrahrr gave dread voice:

“Thus speak the seers from ancient days,

the eyeless ones of Ash-staff’s roots,

whose words have passed from mouth to ear,

the end of things, the crash of doom,

when time is ended, worlds broken:

gods devour gods, men devour men,

and beasts devour the cold remains;

when entrails swollen encircle the worlds

and seas spill over deep with blood;

burgs of bones cast shade on mountains.

Total war, a lifetime long,

will rage upon the reddened earth –

til none remain. The skies held still.

No wind, nor hail, nor tempest blown –

the air itself choked of its breath,

and darkness, ever-strangled night,

eternal, endless, evermore –

a gallows for all that ever was.

The wolves of waste shall be well-fed.”

She bowed her head, and silence sunk.

“It need not be,” cried Sigfri loud, at last;

“While wyrd has stopped, it seems, for all,

we can now choose to make our own.”

“Whether now or hence, the end will come,”

Ka-hrahrr replied, “But, fight we shall,

for that is what we live to do,

we children of Ulwarf the King.

The lords prepare, our forces wait.

Go do the same; I’ve rituals due.”

She stood, bone-creaked, stooped, and went.

And Sigfri went out in the dark,

to speak with birds, and sing to earth –

bard-song, bird-song, in a distant tongue,

while Gifli, fearful of the future, wept.

For over seas and land came swift the foes;

the hordes of Skarhall, Fyrfax’s troop;

the Queen, her lord, the living dead;

the Karandir, the Stonetooth band,

the ‘Hounds of Hretha’, men of blood,

and Viltyndr, life-takers, pillagers of every form;

and greatest among them all, well held

in chains of black fire, Brondvang’s fetters –

Skróth Wastelander, the scourge of Gyldland,

the wyrm who brought down Rothgard’s walls,

the breaker of cities, slayer of heroes,

harrier of kings and bane of life;

never had such a fearful host been seen.

The Time of Troubles now arrived,

the doom of the once-golden lands,

the Ylfish fields, Lēoma's pride;

the middle-realms, the gods’ own creations,

would soon be burned and bled in wrath,

all life made waste, the battle-beasts gorged.

And Dofran’s forest glades fell still

where thirteen women, black-robed, sat

in ring around a deathly blaze

and thirteen horses, coal-black, stood,

with eyes of frost at forest’s edge.

There came no chant, no swords held high,

but thirteen threads of silver web

held tight between their bone-white hands,

the pact now made; their work was done.

The weft of fate now moon-lit clear;

the loom, the field of Ealdenward.

And up high in Heofenroost, raven-black Hrefni

wove grim bonds of slaughter.

And in darkest wastes of Westenthorn

goat-headed Hretha cursed their ill-born brood.

  • Author: Morgan B (Offline Offline)
  • Published: July 29th, 2022 21:35
  • Comment from author about the poem: Final passage of Chapter 50 of the Gyldlandsaga, the build-up to the climactic battle in which the destinies of heroes, gods and monsters are written in steel and fire. The prophecy of the grim Ulfish druid is suggested by the vision of the end in the Old Norse Völuspá. The thirteen witch-queens also have their analogue in Old Norse literature, as bringers of doom to heroes.
  • Category: Fantasy
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