Saturday, December 6, 2014

For Varakii Varenko Vlkovitch upon being Elevated to the Order of Chivalry

THLaird Colyne Stewart, December AS 49 (2014)

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
There lived a man adept at sword and spear,
A leader of men on the field of War,
Who carried out all deeds to which he swore.
Varenko was this stalwart valiant man,
A founding member of MacLachlan clan,
Trusted to lead the gusars [1] in battle,
Spears to fly and brilliant swords to rattle,
But of this Ktetstvo [2] more was expected,
Much more glory was to be collected.
So to the far-off foreign war he went,
To sleep on hard ground in cold darkened tent,
And in the morning, stand before his troops,
And bravely survey the foe man’s grim groups.

So to win word-fame, glory for the Tsar,
Varenko’s warriors from near and far,
The vlastèla [3], followed him on the field,
With armour bright, sword, dagger, spear and shield,
To face enemies from across the world,
Whose weapons bristled and whose banners furled.
The northfolk met their monstrous fearsome line,
Strived, fought to send them down to hell to dine,
While arrows, darts, fell down from August sky,
And comrades dropped in the dark mud to die,
Bashtinik and voynici [4] who had come
To follow Varenko in grevious scrum.
The scarlet line faltered under the foe,
And determined faces gave way to woe.
Fear strode forth from the enemies’ front rank,
Wielding weighty cudgel and face-plate dank,
The army of the north fell back in fright,
But Varenko met Fear in forthright fight,
And though Fear was a dreadful giant born,
Ktetstvo brave blew on his battle horn,
And weapons clashed and clanged and bit soft flesh,
And giant in his arms tried to enmesh
Brave Varenko, who struck off its dark head,
And left it on the trampled ground quite dead.
But before the army regained its heart,
Doubt waded out and wove its darkest art,
Turning strong souls weak, making stout faint,
Felling the brave without care or restraint.
‘Til Varenko with sword heavy with faith,
Faced his Doubt and slew the dark-hearted wraith.
The army, renewed, surged forth to the fight,
Defeating the foe ‘fore coming of night.

In Ealdormere, in famous Ealdormere,
The vlastèla returned with bloodied spear,
Hailed brave Varenko who stood at their head,
Dripping with sore wounds, the ground turning red,
Varenko, they shouted, won them the day,
Defeating the monsters loose in the frey.
Wise King and Wise Queen, then told him to kneel,
And touched his wide shoulder with royal steel,
Named him a rystar[5], a Peer of the realm,
And put their blessing atop of his helm,
He stands now exemplar of all that’s right,
Guardian against all evil and blight.

Written in the form of a bylina, a traditional East Slavic poetic form.

[1] Light cavalry forces.
[2] A term used for the best warriors in the Novogrod chronicle in the year 1181.
[3] Noble cavalry armed with bows and lances.
[4] Feudal land holders who had to perform military service.
[5] An accepted SCA alternate title for a knight with a Russian persona.

No comments:

Post a Comment