“Portrait of an Old Woman,” Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt.

Part 3: Curse of Crazed Crone

Kick in small of back by Gerduris, fire out
In cold darkness roused. “We must leave!”
Whispered she. “Change into these clothes,
No longer are you Muriel, but my sister,
Ketiley, your robes burned or buried. Bring
Vellum roll.” Two hooded figures, clothing
Bundled, we escaped into black Norse night,
Safety of winding mountain paths. Albrikt’s
Devious plan, Gerduris revealed, blame me
For Celtic curse. Hovel of crazed crone, we
Arrived at first light, offerings of bread and
Honey, we awaited first stirrings, recognition.

“Two sisters aflight,” crone observed, face
Searching, then turned her gaze to smoky fire,
Savage realms the sane cannot see. Realized
She was deceived, “Who are you, child?” she
Asked, my name given, my robes, cross of
Christ shown. Rumors of new god, witch-
Storm ensued, strange tongues ranting, her
Mind was raked upon fiery coals. “You think
Yourself equal to me?” blurted she, Gerduris’
Elbow in my side, I dropped to penitent knees,
“Mother, forgive me. Think not that of your
Servant. Your sighted wisdom we seek.”

Thus, sordid tale crone told, goddess deer
Albrikt arrow-killed carried single fawn, in
Maternal sack, devoured by pack of hungry
Hunting dogs, such villainy, double murder,
Malignant curse hillside crept. Three of us to
Celtic tomb we strove, overlooking verdant
Pasturelands, vellum unrolled, prayers and
Chants for crimes atoned, ancient god evoked,
Not appeasing but unleashing, horned deity,
Cernunnos. Crone dagger took, cut across
Palm, blood dripped on bones of dead, sword
And shield, skeletons from death awakened.

“Vikings Tomb,” Nicholas Roerich, 1908, WikiArt.

“They are beyond our control,” crone advised,
Army of dozen skeletons arose, armed with
Arrowed bows, they sought Albrikt to his doom,
Pregnant wife and children, all of his abode.
Gleaming eyes, bony soldiers knew not pain
Nor fear, marched day and night until their
Deeds were done, winding mountain paths,
Slipped through forest tangles to Norse village
Broad firth edge. There, they waited for dusk,
Ancient forces grown and groaned, arrival of
Horned Celtic tribal leader, trumpet echo-
Sounded, death march would begin.

Reminiscent of  sword-and-sandal “Jason and the Argonauts,”
this Celtic version
will have more harrowing Norse outcome.
Until next time, 
thanks for reading.  

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