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Count Sven Orfhendur
Victorious in Fall Crown Tourney A.S. XLIII




Sea-girt land of glory,
God-watched from Valhalla.
They, sipping bee-sap wine,
sing of this our Kingdom,
where warriors bold reside.
Word-fame heard through Midgard,
tales told in skald-song,
tell well of Caid’s worth.


Whelp of war-dead ruler,
wields strong in wrong-hand,
red blood battle-cleaver;
brazen Sven the mighty.
Heart-great and well honored,
heroically comes he
to stand steel’s trial,
striving for the Kingship.

Kolfinna, Consort:

Tiger taloned fell-knight,
Tyr-fierce on the field.
She-cat hits while smiling,
skilled killer of war-foes,
heaven-lovely Lady,
leader in the mead-hall,
awaits not weak straw-death;
worthy to be Sven’s Queen.

First, Jimena:

Comes now spinning Spaniard,
soaring warrior woman,
far-born of blood-noble,
battle-strikes like Valkyr.
Rings out sword struck oak-round,
sword-thunder slips under,
Jimena doth lay down.
Despair o’ertakes poor Rhys.

Second, Alexander Baird:

Brash comes Lord Baird, fighting,
bearing silver favor,
challenges all comers.
Care finds his fair consort;
Grey Saint Robyn gently
gathers, after Sven’s wrath,
Baird’s torn in twain war-board,
to tow his body home.

Third, Gareth:

Glaring comes Sir Gareth,
gifted, smart war-artist,
and Pelican, thrice-peer;
proud, his loud threat trebles.
Ciar, that Celtic war-drake,
can’t help thinly grinning;
graceful skillfull Gareth,
glorious gory death!

Fourth, Mansur:

Pouncing comes mean Persian,
pure, blessed by his Sure God,
victory’s own vanguard.
Vicious ice-born Norseman,
off-hand Sleet-sharp Sven,
slashes with Thor’s storm-crash.
Mansur’s corpse lays mangled,
mourns forth Mistress Eilidh.

Fifth, Dietrich:

Dire comes dread Ritter,
Dietrich, oft heard word-wright,
twice kin of Kings royal,
crusader made war-swift.
Beloved, his wife bows low,
by his side brings heart-warmth.
When good Sven mere wounds him,
War-Fame is nowise shamed.

Sixth, Jamal:

Saracen comes soaring,
speeds Jamal like eagle,
thus dares he to display,
dragon’s professed fondness.
Bare talons blast quick-strikes -
beak streaks out fast knife-strikes -
lastly sloth doth slow-strike -
slumping, cedes the eagle.

Seventh, Loss to Wilhelm:

Riled comes rash Wilhelm,
ready, sword-braced, grim-faced,
a fearless, brave forge-son,
fire-bright and mighty,
His thrown blows of thunder,
thickly smash into Sven;
Yew-strong and unyeilding,
Jarl Sven falls withal.
Full-well Sven is wounded,
won this one hath Wilhelm;
sable war-birds circle!
Spies he then Kolfinna -
how vast her love, fjord-deep,
hope returning cures him!
Stands forth to fight again,
Freshly bound a-crowning.

Eighth, Mons:

Then, marching comes Sir Mons,
martial, smart, and deadly,
rune-wise is his reason.
Ready to tread blood-paths,
for fair Arianna;
fearsomely he hawk-flies,
raging hard on Sven’s right flank,
relentless Swede succeeds.

Ninth and Final, Returns Herzog Deitrich:

Two boars, blood-enmired,
breech the farthest reaches,
arm-tired and blade-torn,
tested yes, but not dead.
Royal born their birthrights,
both sprung from young lines,
war-trained, will-bent to stand,
where stood their King-Fathers.
Come the foes to combat!
Crashing mighty brash blows,
lurid war-cries loud now,
lancing back, lightning cracks,
Strident screaming sword-sparks,
Whirling Thor-strong wind-bursts,
Ragnarok’s doom rages!
Gleefully the gods watch...
Wolf-Skoll chases Sun’s light,
shining out from storm-rind,
ray-bright new rain-born sky.
Regal Sven stands grinning,
undisputed High Prince:
Peerless, Matchless Fighter;
Wily Sage, Soul-Wise Man;
Worthy of Caid!

Secca de Cantia
...Hlaford Secca of Cantia is an 8thC Jute currently in the service of Æthelbald of Mercia. Squired to Sir Kolfinna, Secca is the Bard Errant for House Valentine and the betrothed of the beauteous Lady Meliora Deverel.


The Dróttkvætt verse form --

Dróttkvætt translates roughly to 'Lordly Verse', or 'King's Verse'. The dróttkvætt stanza has eight lines (sometimes referred to as paired half-lines), each having three "lifts", or strong syllables. As in other types of skaldic verse, each line has one or two alliterations.

The Dróttkvætt, though, has many more restrictions than other verse forms –

  • Each line must have exactly six syllables.
  • Each line must always end in a trochee. (Xx or, STRONG weak)
  • The odd numbered lines have partial rhyme of consonants (which was called skothending) with dissimilar vowels, not necessarily at the beginning of the word.
  • The even lines contained internal rhyme (aðalhending) in the syllables, not necessarily at the end of the word.
  • The even lines must always begin with the same alliteration used in the previous odd line.


According to the Fagrskinna collection of sagas, King Harald III of Norway uttered these lines of dróttkvætt at the Battle of Stamford Bridge:

[Alliteration is Capped & bolded;
odd-lines' "skothending" (internal assonances) is italicised;
even-lines' "aðalhending" (internal rhyme) is underlined.]
Krjúpum Vér fyr Vápna,
Valteigs, brǫkun eigi,
svá bauð Hildr, at Hjaldri,
Haldorð, í bug skjaldar.
Hátt bað Mik, þar's Mœttusk,
Menskorð bera forðum,
Hlakkar íss ok Hausar,
Hjalmstall í gný malma.

"In battle, we do not creep behind a shield before the din of weapons (so said the 'goddess of hawk-land' (a valkyr) true of words.] She who wore the necklace bade me to bear my head high in battle, when the 'battle-ice' (gleaming sword) seeks to shatter skulls."

The bracketed words in the poem ("so said the goddess of hawk-land, true of words") are syntactically separate, but interspersed within the text of the rest of the verse – so they are like a seperate poem told in an elaborate aside.

The elaborate kennings manifested here are also practically necessary in this complex and demanding form, as much to solve metrical difficulties as for the sake of vivid imagery.

[Source: All the above adapted from]

My sample:

[Alliteration is CAPPED & bolded;
odd-lines' "skothending" (internal assonances) is italicised;
even-lines' "aðalhending" (internal rhyme) is underlined.]
Tiger Taloned fell-knight,
Tyr-fierce on the field.
She-cat hits while Smiling,
Skilled killer of war-foes,
heaven-Lovely Lady,
Leader in the mead-hall,
aWaits not Weak straw-death;
Worthy to be Sven's Queen.

There are some instances where I break these rules, most times done intentionally. The biggest flaw is some of my slightly forced trochees (e.g. Svens Queen), some of which don't scan at all.

~~ Secca


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