“Indian Brave,” Charles M. Russell, 1898, WikiArt.

Part 3: Elder Mother, Saana

Arrows tree striking, Norse warriors shields
Raised, protecting Sigrith on exposed Labrador
Shore. Except these attention getting arrows
Hit harmless distance away. “We know you,”
Aboriginal warrior said to sword-raised Norse.
“Your daughter safe, with holy mother, far-seer
Of our tribes,” he explained with hand gestures,
Native sign language known along far-north
Mountainous coasts. Yet, suspicions reigned,
Smelly Norse leather armor offending keen
Noses of tree-watching clans.

“Name is Wa’to-nuk,” Labradorian warrior stated
With open hand, uneasy peace, vexing beach
Parley, one mistaken word or misdeed resulting
In bloodshed. Yet, if Sigrith could see, speak
With her daughter, dagger sheathed, looked
Past shadows of mistrust, beyond another race,
Accepted ochre painted faces, skins, feathers,
Beads, peered into Wa’to-nuk’s eyes, noble
Heart, fathom woeful events. Lingering Norse
Footsteps bespoke of murderous mood, these
Warriors no better than Helluland scrælings.*

“Earth does not belong to us, child,” began
Elder mother to Brædyn, seated in smoky lodge,
Drum tapping, sing-song chanting. “Nor do
Pathless seas or time. We are transient beings.”
“Mother, your name?” asked Brædyn. “Saana,”
Mother replied with toothless smile. “Sacred
Name given upon my spiritual awakening, Holy
One’s divine threshold.” Whether mumbling or
Chanting, Brædyn could not tell, except agéd
Saana, began eyes-closed rocking, by hands,
ushering, inhaling upward-spiraling smoke.

“Spirit of the Summit,” Frederic Leighton, WikiArt.

“Amongst Holy Breather I am,” announced
Saana, face light-radiant, years lifted from
Timeworn frame. “First message, then few
Questions you may ask,” she advised Brædyn.
“Through shaman, Ancient Ones guide Arctic
And maritime peoples, ensure survival in
Harsh lands, prepare for inevitable. Such is
Who we are, what we do, Holy Breather of
Life.” Saana air gasped. “Fates brought you
To us, Brædyn. Norse, indigenous tribes
Are destined for dark-ruinous decades.”

* Term used by Greenlandic Norse for proto-Inuit populations, presumably
in Baffin Island or so-called “Helluland.” For more, see this link.

What forces could unite disparate peoples, bellicose Norse and indigenous
tribes of circa 1000 A.D. Greenland-Labrador? Thanks for reading.

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