Olaf in his Abbey Tabbard
Sable, an owl displayed and on a chief embattled argent a hammer sable.
Lord Olaf Olafson
By: Eadric Shadowguard of Mansfield
O thou Odin! - one-eyed hanged one, Share thy holy mead cup (1), brim-full. Fighters! Heed the Abbey tales or Drottkvaett (2) rings thru empty rafters.
Not yet gone the age of heroes, Nor yet warrior’s ways lost, no! When within the Abbey halls we drink deeply the raven god’s mead.
In the hall of five-fold hundred Doors (3) sits Olaf, son of Olaf! Blood swan (4) Muninn’s (5) whispers sets this sadness-blunted skald-blade (6) wagging.
Mead halls fill with eagle’s mud (7) but You’ll ne’er hear tales like one told here Of a forest felled by wood and Wolves and ravens fed by feathers!
When the Abbot’s hand he raises, Trees of battle (8) bestir themselves. Let all fear the Hammer standard Borne above the storm of spearpoints (9).
Olaf, riding foam (10), and beard first, Hard he goads the Abbey fighters. “Huginn’s barley (11) calls us scything, Trees of merriment (12) behind us!”
Sullen heat and verdant forest Thru the trees the foeman flicker. Now we weave our war-like fabric (13); Grey the warp (14); the shuttle, sharp steel (15).
Walls of stone o’erlooks the drawbridge, one unfeeling, one hot-blooded (16). Steel-tipped brambles (17) rustle gently Knowing strong shield wind (18) approaching.
Grim-faced fighters, gathered silent Some twice-bearded, grey and silver (19); Some yet saplings (20), no-bark fences (21); wearing shirts the smith has woven (22).
Olaf, keen-eyed, one among them, Egill’s (23) mews-man (24), hawkland (25) steady. Hooded raptors (26) rest at ready, Rest, awaiting Olaf’s bidding.
Storm of grey spears (27) rumble closer. Look! Their blood-fires (28) fill the greensward. Forth they rush our battle shelter (29), Riding waves of Odin’s laughter.
Steel-hard trees of battle (30) hacked down, Forest-hewers (31) march past timber, Shattered, left for worms and weather. Blood swans (32) pick and choose their supper.
Brothers, sisters, bold retainers! Serve the raven’s wine (33) full measure! See the storm clouds gather thicker. Olaf’s strums his one-note lyre (34)!
World tree twig (35), was rent by Odin, Tyr has carved it, Baldr honed it. Norns have woven bowstrings for it. Wolves’ ears prick when ‘ere this string plays!
Olaf’s eyes, they miss no hawk home (36), Dust and shield can make no haven. How he hails on foeman’s helms, as Rumbling thunder (37) spurs his servants (38).
Keen death shafts rend air and armor, Hiss and crack with screams resounding. Armored faceplates grant no fastness, Feathered hunters (39) claw through sockets.
Foeman wading over comrades, Fit for looters, food for ravens. Grim defenders, draped in life’s blood, Far more room to swing as friends fall.
For the final rush they ready; Grinning foeman mock their fallen; Laughter rings and drowns their screaming. Olaf’s mews (40) hold one last servant.
Bell-like, peals a hero’s spirit; Cresting waves hold, crackling fires pause Like the wake of Fenris’ (41) howling, waiting for the horn of Heimdall (42).
Ringing from the thrones of Asgard To the burning fires of Muspell (43), Gods and men await the hero, Apt, and dauntless in the maelstrom.
Battles pause gives foeman notice: Olaf’s wood (44) has formed a forest, bearing leaves of black and silver; Saplings (45) sprung from bloody faceplates.
Nocking now his final eye-hawk (46), Each sees Olaf draw bead on them. Grim Hel’s (47) visage quite unmans them: Trees of battle (48), heart-wood rotted.
Then blood-thirst tastes bitter copper, Urthr’s (49) embrace brooks no defense. Flight but gives them two steps more life. Steel links can’t shield broken spirits.
Raven’s wine (50) seethes out from breached bark. Eyes and hearts and throats spew spirit. Faster now than Huginn’s (51) whispers, Truer more than Muninn’s (52) musings.
Storm abated, battle wind (53) stilled, Banquet’s set and feasters feed well. Settling armor breaks the silence, Olaf holds his last shaft, unruffled.
White-boots John, Caid’s ring-giver (54) Now bring Olaf up before him, bids the bloody host to harken; gives him tokens, royal bounty.
Now John speaks, ”some heroes prevail Wielding mighty wound-flames (55), thrusting Spears of ash; but Olaf alone slays our foes with just one arrow!”
So here ends the eagle’s mud (56), by one grey-bearded, bothersome skald who stands now because bold Olaf stood then, keen-eyed, hawkland (57) steady.
See! Old Abbey warriors nod! They know when the strong shield wind (58) blows, Spirit must do what shafts cannot, In each others hands, safeguarded.
By the Abbey battle-camp fire I will whet and wield my skald blade (59), There until my embers cool, or Til no one remains to listen.
Endnotes: 1. bring forth poetry 2. poetic form 3. Valhalla (540 doors, actually) 4. Raven 5. Memory (Odin’s raven: he who remembers) 6. Tongue 7. Bad poetry 8. Warriors 9. Battle 10. Sea travel 11. Raven food: corpses 12. Stay-at-home fighters 13. War band 14. Unit color 15. Swords 16. Castle walls and shield wall 17. Spears 18. Battle 19. Play on facial hair and axe beards 20. Youths 21. Beardless (women) 22. Mail shirts 23. Best of the archers 24. Keeper of raptors; raptors = arrows; thus, an archer 25. Hand (bow hand) 26. Arrows 27. Battle 28. Swords 29. Shield wall 30. Warriors 31. Warriors 32. Ravens 33. Blood 34. Bow 35. Yggdrasil, holy ash tree that supports the worlds 36. Target 37. Thrumming of bowstring 38. Arrows 39. Arrows 40. Quiver 41. God-wolf who will break free at Ragnarok 42. Horn blown to announce Ragnarok to gods 43. World of fire 44. Arrows 45. Arrows 46. Arrows 47. Goddess of underworld 48. Warriors 49. “Original” Norn, goddess of fate and death 50. Blood 51. Thought (Odin’s raven: he who thinks) 52. Memory (Odin’s raven: he who remembers) 53. Attack, charge 54. King 55. Swords 56. Bad poetry 57. Hand (bow hand) 58. Battle 59. Tongue
- Leave your memories here.