Viking sólarsteinn (sunstone) or Iceland Spar, Wikipedia photo.

Part 4: Sólarstein Revealed

Moment of angst, to ocean shores running,
Lure of cresting seas, I, Sister Muriel, called
For Gunnolf as longboat sail raised, “My
Lord, navigate I can from Norway fiords to
Safety of Sheep Isles.” Soaked by crashing
Surf, Norse warriors lifted me aboard. “Is
This dream or real, you visitation of outer
Isles? he asked, odd question, before him
I stood soaked wet, offshore-winds pushing.
“She is witch,” Dyrfinna chided, “She and
Mother Mary. Throw her overboard when
Ireland disappears, death in sea-depths.”

From satchel, I produced sunlight-discerning
Sólarstein. “Rumors are true, magic crystals
Sacred to church,” Gunnolf stated, “knowledge
Self-kept by few.” Eye-light amazed, he held it
To cloud-dimmed sun. “Sister, how did you
Come by this?” I answered not, gift of Father
Blàthan, hermit monk on high-sloped Skellig
Mhór, for his protection, sea silence held,
The when, where, or how, nil important to
Steerboard here and now. Sails wind-stretched,
We wave plowed night and day to Norwegian
Headlands, distant and mist-swept.

Fiord-turned, we great-oar rowed, Dyrfinna’s
Eyes ablaze, doom she sensed, confirmed
By rancid smoke shore-lingering. “Death
Awaits,” she warned, swords from sheaths
Readied, arrows set, bowstrings tight-moaned,
Village burned to ground, animals slaughtered
In pens, children and womenfolk burned in
Rain-smoldering pyres. “Irish!” warriors blurted,
Spitting at such prospects. “I think not,” advised
Gunnolf. “Signs of ancient evil, reasons past
Knowing, resurrected amongst high keels.”

“Funeral of a Viking,” Frank Dicksee, 1893, WikiArt.

Thus it was: five longboats returned, few
Half-empty from warring Irish raids, some
Said curse of Mother Mary, accused me of
Dark witchery. When girl from hiding crying-
Emerged, muddied and bloodstained, fears
Marrow-deep confirmed, axe-wielding,
Armored hoards descended from hilltops,
Arrows shrieking, many killed in footsteps,
Brave returned fight, heavy-blades cleaved,
Left on bloody ground. To me, Sister Muriel,
They asked for prayers, peace of Mother
Mary for anguished hearts, souls of dead.

Their village destroyed, will Gunnolf and his sorceress bride, Dyrfinna, stay
and fight armored hoards or sail to distant sheep islands? For more on Viking sólarstein, see this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunstone_(medieval)

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