“Sick Pilgrim,” Ferdinand Waldmüller, 1859, WikiArt.

Part 2: Mariya, Warrior-Princess

Mountain passes we ascended, narrow paths,
Arm’s-reach wide, above us sheer walls, below
Death loomed, depths cloud-obscured. As
Feared,  elders of our tribes died climbing
Rocky heights, bones, bodies labour-scarred,
Frigid winter-years. Yet, they marched on foot,
Men and women, seeking glimpse of promised
Seas. For now, they found eternal sleep, death
Their place of dreams. Thus, was our  belief,
Precious to all clans. Food, rest round warming
Fires, dreamt images, visions of hereafter,
Bespoke of peace. Troubled toils, disease,
Warring tribes faint memories drifted.

Lo! We trespassed into lands of foreign clans,
Quiet-walking, single-file into hostile realms.
Concealing scent of our bodies, by spear-point,
We held rotting animal hides. Stench wafting
Before us, on dark-forested ridges, untouched
By human kind. Across mountain meadows
We strove, curiosity of sylvan eyes, painted
Faces, tree-depths observing, perplexed by
Who, what we were, hundred strong, bundle-
Carrying, leading sheep and cattle, stinking
Skins our banners. Wind in trees whispered:
“Beware of passing nomadic hoards!”

Place of open grasslands, standing boulders,
Land-bridge sea-disappearing, Maglanda
Addressed our clans. Two groups we split:
One foot walking, other sailing, as mother
Stated: “For survival of the people.” Fire-
Forged as one, clan chieftains, matriarch-
Mother, warrior-princess I became, Mariya, by
Ceremonial decreed. Alas! Expected I was to
Marry, as was mother, warriors of differing
Clans. “We are one people!” mother chided
Me. “You and I seed-filled this night.” Such
Marriage I refused in absence of my father.

“Prehistoric Women,” James Tissot, 1895, WikiArt.

Beyond mountains loved, glacier ice-father,
Dreams he told, white-walls grumble-moving,
Equal prophesy as dreams of hereafter, chaste
Myself kept, chalice forbidden unto men,
Now to marry warrior-stranger. Grasslands
I fled crying, hair unbound-flowing, standing-
Stones down-falling. “Your father, well I knew,”
Male voice soft to ear. “Of marvels true he told,
From flowered fields, he watches over you.”
O! Angered heat, dagger drawn, storm silencing
Errant tongues, I knew he spoke truth. Yet, I
Would neither wed nor bed this night, proper
Courtship this warrior-princess demanded.

This poetic story of historic fiction progresses to edge of ancient
Albion Isles. 
In next part, Mariya will be married and conceived.
Thanks for reading.

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