Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Gwendolyn of Aldburg, Order of Thorbjorn's Hammer, 2018

… Then it was like old times in that echoing hall,
Proud talk and the people happy,
Loud and excited; until soon enough
The crown did pass from one to another;
Kings came and went; Baldric now ruled from that storied place
Golden band upon his brow; beside him sat wolf-wise
Breyla, Queen of the North. And ever at their side,
Bold Gwendolyn, Horse-Lady of Aldburg, stood in defence
Of her Ring-Giver and her oaths. Her mail-shirt glinted,
Hard and hand-linked; the high-gloss iron
Of her armour, no doubt had rung upon the anvil
When the smith stuck with hammer.

Time went by; and thus it was that Gwendolyn was
Called to saddle her mare and ride to the lands where
Winter’s breath was rarely known. The sun dazzled on that
Field of Ravens where her Ring-Giver did battle. So she duly arrived
In her joyous war-graith and gear and stacked her wide shield
Of the toughest hardwood amidst the wall,
Then charged upon the enemy; battle-dress
And weapons clashed. At day's end she collected the spears
Of those retainers of the Middle King she had slain in a seafarer’s stook,
A stand of greyish tapering ash. Over fifty shafts were the proof
Of this hero’s prowess; neither thane nor thrall could stand before her
When her blade stuck like a hammer.

The war-bands returned home. Gwendolyn sat on the benches,
First oarswoman to her thane, Varenko of the Rus. Thus they arrived
Unto to a great feast in the lands of the Bear-Folk, where Baldric spake:
“Be acclaimed for strength, dear Gwendolyn; and
Delight in this weapon from Our armoury; may you prosper with it!
You have won renown: you are known to all men
Far and near, now and forever. So, my lady,
I wish you a lifetime’s luck and blessings
To enjoy this treasure. As it was when that great
Prince Osis reigned, so here each companion is true to the other,
Loyal to lord, loving in spirit.” Gwendolyn raised aloft that storied
Weapon; and bore Thorbjorn’s Hammer.

 Done on this 8th day of September, AS. 53, as we celebrate Feast of the Bear.

Wording by THL Dietrich von Sachsen

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