“Gunnlöð,” Anders Zorn, 1893, WikiArt.

Part 5: Shieldmaiden Ágausta

At sword point Norsemen held us, Betrys
And I, Sister Muriel, beach landing concealed,
Cunning warriors, observing us at distance,
Longboat keel-marks, telltale footprints not
Surf-erased, outer Irish isles, trap for naïve
Fishers, death-sting of flying darts. By nod
Of their leader, our hoods pulled back, cloaks
Feet-falling, twin sisters revealed, one of
Christian faith, other Druid priestess, naked
Bodies surf-standing, chilled by ocean winds.

“This one dagger carrying, necklace of shells,
Bones, and beads,” warrior stated, backhand
Slap to Betrys’ high cheekbones, head ringing,
Undaunted, priestess stood her ground. “The
Other whore-slave at our Norway farmstead.”
Interjecting, I stated, “Stone of greater value
I possess, secrets equal to silver and gold,
Another chained female, traded for passage
To Sheep Isles.” Swords poised for my beach
Gutting. “Halt!” distant female voice said
Aloud, all weapons pointed to the ground.

“Let us hear their offer, shieldmaiden
Stated. “Then do with them as you please,
More ballast we do not need.” Into surf-
Soaked cloak I reached, cloth-wrapped
Clear-stone offered to Norse female, so
Named Ágausta. “Where is sun?” I asked,
Eyes searching sea-cloud cluttered skies
For naught. Eye-height, stone to clouds
Shown, glimmer of light discerned. “Sun
West setting, which direction is north,
On this Irish isle dark-clouded day?”

Long-striding, hair wind-flowing leather
Armor clad, Ágausta sunstone took, above
Head to clouds held, dark eyes discerning
Sun. “Bring food, blankets, build fires,
Arrangement my tribe made at Norway
Fiord farmstead.” Wind and tide against
Us, night we camped, non-trusting peace,
Betrys’ face blue-turning, no apologies
Given. If not for sunstone, sword-death
Pains our fates, life blood surf-flowing.

“Calling of Vikings,” Viktor Vasnetsov, WikiArt

First light, cloaks dried, sunrise to our right,
In longboat north we sailed into cresting
Open seas, voyage of two sisters beginning,
Muriel and Betrys, as visions of Mary and
Brigit foretold. Three-days, nights of good
Headway, Ágausta sunstone kept, bosom
Depths of armor, at steerboard watching,
Tree-lined headlands of fiords, Norse realms
Never seen nor realized, great oars in unison
Water-swept dozen Norsemen home.

Sister Muriel and Betrys are one step closer to their voyage
to Faeroe Islands. Thanks for reading. 

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