“Macbeth in Witches’ Cave,” Thomas Sully, 1840, WikiArt.

Part 5: Mardoll Scorns Norsemen

My mind fractured, life lost and restored,
Dreams upon storming shores, memories
Of climbing island steps, cells and oratory,
Sister Muriel vague thought, dark image in
Reflecting pools. I am Mardoll, Druid seer,
Neither mortal nor divine, twist of magic
Spells calming seas and winds, band of
Norse warriors approach, vexing me again.
Chieftain amongst them asks, “Mother, we
Seek riches of Albion shores, rumors heard
Of wealth, silver coins, treasure waiting,
By sword and spear, plunder we will seize.

Alas! I knew stone churches of which they
Spoke, protecting worshipers of Christ,
Monks praying to silver crosses, accepting
Coins, offerings of food from peasant
Farmers, Druid clans ridiculed, as were
Beliefs and nature deities, sacred strength
Of standing stones, such things seen-felt.
Bones in skull cap I rattled, cast before
Norse warriors, each future telling, like
Curious children, fates and furies charmed,
Blood-lust I conjured more venomous
Than gathered Viking tribes.

“Map for you, I will draw, safe sea passage
Past Shetland Islands. What do you know
Of risk or sacrifice? This god you would
Defame, gave all to save his people, such
Miracles beyond your thinking. Bring each
Of you smooth river stone, in this basket
Place.” Charms and chants, potions and
Bones, bright light of bore down upon
Them, weight and strength of ancient
Ages, delights performed, stones turned
Honeyed bread for Viking warrior’s taking,
Divine wonder-might for their believing.

“Priestess of Bacchus,” John Collier, 1889, WikiArt.

“This is from God of Albion and Ireland,”
I announced. “Feed your families for week.”
Lo! Ungrateful, they mocked me as whore,
For seeing beyond Odin’s mountain peaks.
“Who will lay with me?” Robes to ground
Dropped. “Fulfill your desires, until manly
Pleasures spill, destiny realized in clutched
Claws.” In hundred tongues and lips I spoke,
Voices shrieking from descending dlouds,
Words no Norseman fathomed, except
Truth they feared, set sail to Irish shores,
Be forever cursed on raging seas.

Twist of character and plot, metamorphosis of Sister Muriel as Mardoll, pagan
seer protecting Christian churches on British Isles, she scorns would-be raiding
Norse warriors. Yet, Viking boats will sail south. Thanks for reading.

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