Part 7: Sister Muriel Becomes Byrna
Guidance of sun-discerning Sólarstein, wind
Wingéd longboats westward pushed across
Norwegian seas, Gunnolf and me, Sister Muriel.
Women and men-warriors on gunnels stood,
Surveying grassy islands, waterfalls ‘neath
Scudding clouds revealed, hearth-homeland
Promise all yearned for – sheep raising, fishing,
Whaling – if unclaimed channel islands found.
Lo! Many were house-barren, no smoke of Irish
Monk settlements, other Norse seeking refuge
From killing hoards. Alas! Strong desire I felt
For Ireland return, church of Inis Fathlinn.
“Ships I cannot spare for your return to Ireland,”
Stated Gunnolf, my earnest request denied.
“Ferrying needed lumber from Norway fiords to
This island site, week lost with nothing of avail.”
Sunward sailing, two of three longboats on east
Horizon disappeared. Clifftop marooned I was,
Gunnolf reneging sworn promises, he cared
Not for right-doing or his sorceress-bride,
Dyrfinna. Undaunted by his foolish ways, yes,
Whilst sister of Christ, Gunnolf realized not my
Ancient Celtic pagan past, blood connection to
Druid twin sister, Betrys, magic marrow-deep.
Prayers of forgiveness, my cross and long gown
Removed, upon clifftops half-naked, from satchel,
I brought amber amulet to my breast, reunion
My lips embraced, soul-swirling moments, trans-
Formed I to Byrna. Thoughts repressed, words
Sworn never spoken aloud, tongue of ancient
Ancestors, curse uttered upon high clifftops:
“Ancient gods of my ancestors, bring pained
Ice-curse upon this island, freeze suffering to
Those refusing promises kept.” Lo! Clouds
Slate dark-hard descended, hailing ice, skin,
Sail tearing, pummeled Gunnolf and his clan.
Alas! I felt change within, rituals of Byrna and
Betrys, enemies who defied us, their limbs left
Crushed and bleeding. Yet, unplanned- unseen
Occurred, power of my curses sea-landed on
Irish island shores. “Byrna is in trouble, on
Faeroe Isles marooned,” Betrys stated to
Dyrfinna, who sensed unraveling of sea and
Cloud. “Gunnolf cares not for me nor promises
He made,” Dyrfinna realized. “Homestead he
Builds upon those northern isles.” Such sisterly
Unions were fire-forged twixt Betrys and Dyrfinna,
Upon Norse longboats north they sailed, rescue
Gunnolf from Byrna on ice-cursed Faeroe Isles.
Bearing body and soul, Sister Muriel returns to pagan religion, and once again becomes, Byrna, ushering an icy curse upon Gunnolf. Why do you think she did this? Does it magically form sea-distant connections with Betrys, her twin sister?
For more on the actual and beautiful Faroe Islands, see this link: