“Peasant Children,” Vladimir Makovsky, 1890, WikiArt

Part 2: Gerduris Reveals Curse

Splash of cold sea-spray, I rode with stout
Norse seafarers, steerboard-man kept keen
Horizon eye, first faint line of mountain peaks,
Few glances at me, Sister Muriel, accustomed
To North Sea waves, Faroe Islands and Iceland
I had sailed, no fast-sailing Viking ship, pushed
Hard to sea-limits amongst whitecaps rolling,
Gale winds rigging howling, into jaws of dark
Spells, unaccustomed to high seas, by my
Prayers, clutching Christ’s cross and rosary
Beads, specter retreated to spruce forest lair,
Tangles where grey wolves feared to prowl.

Hovering under ship-tent, I stated to Albrikt,
“Darkness was amongst us.” “Aye, knows you
Sail with us, non-sleeping eyes, name we daren’t
Speak.” Vellum unrolled, I pointed to faded-ink
Name: Cernunnos. Heads nodding in scorn, they
Spat into sloshing water, rock-ballast hold. Thus,
We sailed, until protected headland, broad-firth
Of this clan, to their lord I would submit, families
Shore-waiting, room provided with fire burning.
At smoky mead-hall met their chieftain, face well
Known, Albrikt at high-chair. Lo! Slaughtered
Calf feast spit-roasting, plenty-pouring ale.

With tribe elders I met, keen eyes and minds,
Account related, high mountain meadow they
Discovered, rocky shoulder, flowing stream,
Stone ruins children found, skeletons and
Swords, runic inscriptions on bronze, vellum,
Preserved for lost decades. Sheep they brought
For grazing, one-room shepherd hut, more
Than this runes forbade. Norse villagers grazed
Livestock, built stone cottages, fences, health
Restored to all who sipped from clear streams,
Dwelt in sunlight Celtic-charméd hills.

“Gunnlöð,” Anders Zorn, 1893, WikiArt.

Hearing this, I found no strife, building upon
Blessed pasturelands, until night, awake-startled
From bed, shieldmaiden, dagger drawn, cause of
Curse Gerduris whispered. With single arrow,
Albrikt killed white deer, forest goddess on
Cloven foot, her protected realm, meat fire
Roasted, drunken feast upon meadow slopes.
Alas! Curse unleashed upon womenfolk and
Beasts, wombs barren, milkless teats, young
Starvation died, village thrust into perpetual
Winter. Half-truths! He who caused dark spells,
Through Christ’s cross, sought undoing.

Drawn deeper into ancient Celtic spells, Sister Muriel and Gerduris will
approach crazed crone, her charms to dispel curse Albrikt brought.

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