The Goddess of the Future Fates

The Gods in Asgard seemed to sleep
Or turn their minds away
As Danish widows moan and weep
The Noki dance and sway

They sought to change the fate of men
To help their people win
The Christians they would curse them then
And call their craft a sin

They would not let just one witch live
For they must burn them all
They ask God’s love but can’t forgive
So answer Satan’s call

But Noki by the sea one night
Beneath a waning moon
Sought refuge in that second sight
They see before they swoon

In Bragi’s name through each refrain
They asked Skuld for that sight
Idu the Noki felt the pain
And then screamed out in fright

A bloody ghost of some dead slave
Embraced her as a friend
And he said that he now forgave
Those who had caused his end

“Your kind came here to take this land
You make the orphan slave
Is Danish doom now close at hand?
Noki can you be brave?

You are a part of our land now
And it’s a part of you
Gudrum by now has broke his vow
But Loki will be true!

True to the falsehood that’s his game
Deceit will be deceived
It matters not the names I name
For you’ll not be believed”

He held her hand through vistas grand
And showed her all men’s fate
“A future’s planned here in this land
The Danes may know too late

The Oak, the Ash, the Elm, and Yew
Grow tall on Albion’s isle
And what you view may well come true
Don’t waste your time with guile

The Norns dictate so know your fate
And to your gods be true
Then try some love as well as hate
Then I will lie with you

I’ll come in dreams and show you schemes
Of what kings plan to do
And right until the daylight beams
I’ll spend each night with you

The perfect prophet you will be
Until your dying day
Though you can share your dreams with me
Be wary what you say

For you’ve a curse the very worse
The Seer who is alone
For though you speak in prose or verse
No one will heed your tone”

Idu the Noki had a fit
Her mouth was wet with froth
On waking her hot brow was knit
She was frail as a moth

Though dark and deep she could not weep
The future she could see
But now in silence she must keep
Her tongue from being free

The elder Noki saw some signs
And felt a little grief
But in old age she now resigns
Locked in some disbelief

From thence on Idu slept a lot
And she’d smile in her sleep
As when she talked men called it rot
They now don’t hear her peep

And she and Sild walk through the years
The years that are to come
And Idu often shed some tears
But Idu had turned dumb

She saw the fall of all her Danes
And saw them rise again
She saw them on far distant plains
She saw and she knew when

She saw the things that Morchan saw
All those long years ago
She felt great winds quite cold and raw
And felt the summers glow

She met the Seers of future years
Not all would wear her gag
She shared the hopes, she shared the fears
She had no need to brag

The Norns gave Idu for a wife
To some “man from the sea”
She had a long contented life
For what will be will be

The gods of her place weren’t so dark
The wind, the wave, the tide
Her choices then were few not stark
In her dreams she could hide

Völva

From The Saga of Aelfrede and Gudrum

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Death of the Dux Bellorum at Camlann A.D. 537

When Tennyson wrote his “Mort D’Arthur” he viewed our history very much through the lens of the romantic tradition and used iambic pentameters like Milton and Shakespeare. This is not a natural medium to me and I do not have a romantic attachment to the myths of King Arthur. These seem to have been elaborated after the Conquest by Norman lick-spittles like Geoffrey of Monmouth and his like. It seemed as though they were trying to replace real historical heroes with mythic characters. This I despise.
For this reason I tried to create a version of my own to describe the death of a post Roman leader fighting and losing against the peoples who went on to become part of the English. I prefer the real hero Alfred and his real struggles that he won to this made up creature of some sentimental minstrels to Norman and Angevin Kings and Nobles. They made up lies to suit their lords.

Death of the Dux Bellorum at Camlann A.D. 537

A weary man sat propped against a stone
A massive stone beside a plundered church
A plundered church within a sundered land
Where leaders feud as foreign foes advance
The weary man who dying from his wound
He held his painful side whence seeped his blood.
This Dux Bellorum of a dying land
Had failed his land and lost the last of Hope
With foreigners awaiting his demise
Whose numbers grew, as did their firm resolve
And his life now was wasted in the fight
The futile fight between opposing clans
Of Britons who saw Saxons closing in
Together with the Jutes and Frisians too
And Angles who attacked on land and sea.
The futile fight now hastened on their end
He gazed up at the sky and fading light
This was the twilight of his people’s power
The mutiny of those who served them once
Had driven them far back to west and north
But he had rallied men who seemed well beat
Had rallied them and shown them ways to fight
The crows he’d fed with Jute and Saxon flesh
And Ravens and the Wolves had waxed replete
And now those crows here circled overhead
So now it was his turn to be their food
The fox and badger might well pick his bones.
And through the fading light here loomed a man
A man who had somehow survived this rout
“Who is that who remains alive still now?
How many are the men who yet may live?”
“I’m Bedevere one of your loyal men,
Now there may be a score of us who live
A motley lot not fit now for the fight
They’ve all been brave and fought long in your wars
But all would now go home and face their lot
Their fighting’s done and finished in this feud
They will be overwhelmed now by the foe
And they must choose a servile life – or death!
But in death there’s an end to choice or chance.
As for myself I go now to my home
High in Dumnonia’s hills there to the west
To save all that I can within my land.
Your cause is lost. You wasted it in feud.
I’ll stay with you ‘til death has closed your eyes
And then my oath to you is at an end.
So tell me what was Mordred’s grievous fault
That we fought him instead of foreign foe?
And was he worth those broken shattered men
Who all lie dead amongst their scattered arms?
We all must live with folk we do not like
Not all of us see this as cause for war
Nor do we feud in doors in rage and heat
While cattle raiders plunder all our stock
Though you brought us success – all men know that!
At end you brought us here unto this waste
This waste of men who could have saved our land.”
The dying Dux Bellorum smiled at him
A wry and kindly smile that bore no rage
The time was past for rage and wrath and hate
He choked a little as he tried to speak
The pool of blood wherein he sat spread wide
Though all the world seemed misty now, more dark
And yet his mind was as it always was
Still agile in this bloody dying form
“You must not let the foreign foes gain arms
You say our arms are scattered here about
Go gather them, as they’re no use to us
No ghost nor wraith has ever yet born arms
But future foes who may yet come for you
Would find some use in what’s left here about.
Go toss them in a meare or murky pool
And take my sword and shield and toss them too
I would not have my arms left here harm you
A curse against our folk they soon would be.
Make sure the water’s deep that none might see
Before they rot to rust and are all gone
Take with you to Dumnonia what you would
Your hills may yet secure you from the foes
And you have life and so you yet have Hope
Be gone now let me die alone. I’ve failed.
Your life goes on and I must feed the crows”
And Bedevere and those few men with him
Did as the Dux Bellorum bid them to
They gathered up the arms from all the dead
They gathered them and tossed them in the Brue
And then they went their ways to hearth and home
Where grateful kin had welcomed their return
And in the winter nights they told their tales
Of how they followed that great man of war
Of how they held up an advancing foe
Each year the tales got longer than before
In time they were well woven into myth
The myths that got passed on to future times.
Their foes that rose to rule those lands of theirs
Took on their myths and glorified their deeds.
To glorify their war is folly now
Now that we know so little of those folk
Of how they lived and how their slaves had lived.
A few brave names have come down – legends all
But who’s to know what those folk may have thought?
They lived and that’s as much as we may know.
Whilst they are gone – The sands of time still flow.

dux-bellorum

From Cerdic’s Saga
Copyright T. Morgan 2013