From bright Asgard they breached the sky, ships shining with fire
Among them lithe Laufrauðr daring and determined
Voyaging to distant Vinland planet of a proud people
Bold and blue-feathered called by some the Shriekers.
Forth went Freydis Eriksdottir as her ancestress of old
Seeking her fierce fortune high in the whale-road of heaven
Where black space brings great glory or else gory death
To those who venture out a-viking across eternal emptiness.
Lightly they let down in Vinland on green growing grass
Burned brown by Laufrauðr's rockets that roared a conqueror's call
Over vale and valley and peak daring its denizens to deny
Those who came to contest with fate and fury.
The settlers soon made camp and raised a high hall of heroes
That turned into a town where ladies and littles might live
Growing gardens under guard of wise strong warriors
Behind walls of tall thick wood and gates hung with heavy hinges.
When the Shriekers struck storm-swift the watching warriors were quick
To beat them back and back with licking lasers and lean blades
Until the flood of blue feathers washed over their wildness
And numbed them with numbers beyond coping, beyond counting.
The attackers angled in, appropriating food and fuel and fools slow to run
Leaping away with lavish loot clutched in their curling claws
Leaving settlers to struggle and starve without the wealth of warm supplies
Stolen from the staunch town now reft and ruined behind them.
Then Freydis burst forth, fierce in her desperate defiance
Crying to her cowering kinsmen, "Why flee you from feeble creatures
You could cut down like cattle? Let us women wave weapons --
We'll fight more furiously than you!" Muttering, mighty men gave way.
Angered, Freydis took arms charging the Shriekers' champions
And rallying right and left the wary warriors of her people
But soon she slackened falling behind the fray
Her big belly a burden heavy with the hope of life.
Into the wood she went after them following a trail of fallen feathers
To where Thorbrand's thread of life lay broken on the bitter ground
Struck low by a strange stone volleyed by Vinland's defenders
One of whom lay limp and lax near Thorbrand's fine new knife.
Freydis claimed what they carried -- knife, stone, warriors' weapons all --
And trudged on toward the turf where battle bayed and broke
With red-running fangs of war slavering over the slight forms
Of men and aliens alike all the same in death's solemn grasp.
Seeing her soft round shape some moved away from her anger
Ferociously Freydis followed them shooting and slicing and slaying
Until her bright clothes bore blood rolling like a river's rage
Bodies whacked down like wheat swept aside by a mighty scythe.
Then her blouse fell from her breast revealing her ripe form to those
Shriekers who saw her amongst them and they dropped their dire weapons
Fleeing in fear, floundering farther from a mother's might and main
Lest her legendary weapon-right blight them all for her babe's sake.
Then would the warriors wreak more misery on the Shriekers
But Freydis held back their hands and said, "Stay, let it stop here.
Leave them their length of land and we will work our own.
We take no more than our need so gather up our goods regained."
Slowly they strode to the settlement bearing the rich baggage back
Where the people piled around them gabbling their glee like geese
As Freydis embraced her fond family assuring them of safety and sustenance
Though winter wield its weapons of snow and storm and snarl.
A strong son she bore soon Freystein, fine as his father and mother
The very heir of Vinland loud cries lauding his arrival
While Freydis proudly praised his ten toes and ten fingers
A little miracle of their making fate's future made fast.
* * *
Read about the original Freydís Eiríksdóttir and The Saga of Erik the Red.
Laufrauðr means "leaf-red," courtesy of the Freelang dictionary.
Old Norse poetry makes use of such techniques as alliteration, kennings, and a caesura in the middle of lines.