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The Song of Bjorn (c. AC 600)

by Geoff Gander

Opening Note:

This work is believed to be a fragment of a larger saga of the rise and fall of the lost realm of Ystmarhavn, in what is now Qeodhar. Although the jarldom fell in AC 389, many of its inhabitants in the northern and eastern settlements kept their traditions alive for several centuries in the face of Alphatian dominance. The purported author of this work, Bjarni Horvaldsson, of the eastern town of Østmark, was one such individual; although his fate is unknown.

Brave and bold stood he on shore 'Gainst the harsh and bitter winds of yore. Holding high his mighty head Calling the doughty souls of clan, Of hearth, of home. Brothers, sisters, cousins all. "Come ye to me, and heed my call. For we march today 'gainst shadows tall."

They had come, great in number. A sinister tide, a mighty thunder Bringing death, ruin, and ill in its wake. They were Kerothar's men, demons all. Without morals, bravery, guile, or wit They came and took what they saw fit. Neither fish nor fowl Neither hammer nor saw, Nor even fabled stories old, None were safe; all were taken. To feed Kerothar's gaping maw.

And in their wake the Alphatians left Nary a freeman, nary a hope. The sun was low in Fair Ystmarhavn's sky, Save for one, undying cry.

Bjorn the mighty roused his men, Raised the standards, in number ten. Ten clans they were, ten who stood 'Gainst Kerothar's men on summer's day, Where the peaks reach south Toward the bay.

"Be bold, my brothers, Fear them not! For we brave few Are true Northmen wrought!" And with a peal they surged forth, High in spirit, those men of worth Did meet the shadows by Bjorn's stead, And did battle 'Ere the sun lay red.

His wounds unnumbered, Pained without release Did Bjorn hunt his quarry 'Til fatal sleep's surcease Was forced 'pon him By foul Alphatian steel And Alphatian will.

His host broken His standard fallen, Bjorn's men did rally But the deed was done.

Ystmarhavn's children would sing no more 'Midst virgin forest, 'pon verdant field; The sea would hear no more The Northman's call, for it did yield.

Hear this now, ye blood of Bjorn. Know the deeds 'ere we were born. Of blood, of fate, of fearsome fire. Alphatian deeds ever dire. Know ye well, ye blood of Bjorn, This, your heritage, do not scorn Your fathers brave Serve ye not the Alphatian knave.

If this ye do then know ye well, 'Pon thunderous clouds, 'pon tidal swell, Shall Bjorn's spirit ever live And by blood-right these lands shall once more Be ours to keep, or ours to give.