This is the betrothal saga, of Sharn-Mes of the mighty Zaphirs, and Fantasia of Biws & eFSU.
This merry couple known to low and high in Skogsland, keepers of faith and defenders of justice, has this fortnight held a mighty feast.
Indeed, has the mighty warrior Sharn-Mes been stout and proud in his behaviour. Ever since he set his foot on the shore of Skogsland. Has the earth itself granted this warrior a secure foothold. Not once has he stumbled in Holmgang, and never has he stood back when raiding hordes was nearing our shores. This great hero has indeed earned the warmth of our village, and are a merry man to have at the longboat or at the table of feast.
His chosen of love and children, Fantasia, a shield maiden of great renown. She has for long roamed the outskirts of many a village, and defeated many a warrior. Even heroes and kings too quick on the tongue, has this skilled female made pay Holmgang blood fee. She is welcomed in our stronghold, as the bride and chosen of our brother.
May she give many a laugh at the long table and train many a dreng her arts of war.
Now read thy way through the chapters of this tale!
The chosen one of Sharn-Mes arrives at the inner gate of the Zaphirs stronghold planned by the great king Sôlvar ‘BlackOak’ Svartholtr himself. As Sharn-Mes where greatly renowned in the horde of Zaphirs. His chosen one where the first ever not fully a Zaphirs to pass the inner gates of the stronghold.
All Zaphirs in the stronghold was greeting first Sharn-Mes and then Fantasia at the gates. "But where are all my other brothers" said Sharn-Mes. "They are gathering thou many goods in foreign countries" said the Merksmadhir.
Everyone looked on Kaziganthi and he gave a thunder of a laughter "Well they can’t go emptyhanded into the winter. Thus, have I and the other elders agreed on this small gift.". Here broke the Leidang Stallari in "And excuse me for not sailing out to gather thy goods brother. But alas someone must guard the stronghold. And our king is not to trouble with such petty tasks."
"Eh-erhm. Welcome to our stronghold Fantasia, and gather thy wisdom to come with strength.", said BlackOak as Zuljin stepped forward, and recited an old verse from the Zaphirs annals.
Odin our lord!
After the official greeting at the inner gates, they all followed the king to the secret temple of Zaphirs -where Odin himself presides at the waters of Mimer.
The king and his Merksmadhir and Stallari followed him to the holy steps, where Thor and Hyrrokin’s weapons are guarded.
Hugin and Zuljin took placement on the steps of the temple. And the bride and groom strode forward. Climbed the steps, and as they entered the tiles of the temple -it seemed like a whisper escaped Odin's lips. Everyone shivered in awe, because this was a good sign indeed.
Their happiness in extreme was enlightening the temple, so that even the radiance of the king shimmered. Settling for the ceremony, BlackOak started reciting ancient words, form times past civilization in Skogsland. The men and couple to be fell silent as the mighty king continued the rite. Often supplemented by his Stallari and Merksmadhir. This was an ancient rite indeed. Even the mighty lords were so uncommon to the words that it seemed like the spirit of Odin at times guided them.
Odin our lord!
As the ritual went on and on even the birds fell silent and the murmur of the waterfall silenced more and more. The king and the Elders at last finished the prime ritual and after reciting/playing the Hymn of Marriage the 3 stepped down. Thus, levelling the couple the king said formal words of brotherhood to Sharn-Mes and his chosen.
Fantasia, as beautiful as lady can be. Was smiling faintly as Sharn-Mes was a statue of masculine power matching his king in every way. Everyone could hear the loving and father like voice of king BlackOak as he spoke of marriage and brotherhood. And all prepared for the salute to come.
Odin our lord!
After Saying the last words of the rite. All the others except the king kneeled as the couple before Odin and the Zaphirs kissed to forever seal the bond of marriage. As their lips touched the waterfall roared and the birds sang. The earth itself gave an accompanying rumble and the wolves in the woods howled in praise.
The king took the hands of the couple and said -thou are now in witness of Odin and the Zaphirs forever bound in love and joy, in sickness and health, in peace and war, in summer and winter -Praised be thee!
Thus, they were wedded and in respect did BlackOak bend to his knees and prayed Odin to care for their marriage and souls. Sharn-Mes and Fantasia felt that they were blessed and smiled.
All who were there that day are sure... That at that time when BlackOak kneeled, and Sharn-Mes and Fantasia looked in each other’s eyes, all heard Odin bless this marriage.
They say that when Odin spoke, all were filled with joy and merry. Even more than before.
Then the newly wed kissed again. And that precious moment is forever burnt into the hearts of Zaphirs for ever... Fathers will tell about that moment to children for long aeons to come.
Now all Zaphirs arose and stood tall and cheered the newlywed couple! They roared in joy for Sharn-Mes and for Fantasia. Sharn-Mes and Fantasia were truly blessed. They felt the blessing of Odin and they saw their true friends to have joy for them.
They felt that they have a home in the fortress of Zaphirs. Two elders, Kaziganthi and Pilgrim of Zaphirs spoke to them and brought fourth their love and joy for their marriage. All of them were pleased and the king requested all to attend him to the mead hall, so the feast could begin.
As all had stepped out of the temple, BlackOak turned around and made a mighty hail to Odin. "I thank thy for thy time at our stronghold. For the blessing of this merry couple and for being at our side when needed -HAIL ODIN! After this praise, Odin’s face smiled at the Zaphirs. And he turned around and walked with the rest towards the feast hall.
They all followed king BlackOak to dine at the famed tables! After crossing the main yard and ascending the main hallway they all eyed the Mead hall -but ALAS! Swifter then Sleipner BlackOak entered the Zaphirs throne hall and jumped to the dais of his throne and called out. "Sharn-Mes of the Zaphirs. Fantasia bonded to us by marriage. Elders of Zaphirs and noble men enter our throne room and see my gift for the lord and his lass.
All of them were dumbfounded, but entered the throne hall. Where treasures, secrets and artefacts older than the soil of Skogsland are stored. Taking their places, the men entered, and Fantasia stood anxious at her husbands’ side.
BlackOak stood by his throne and waited for all to settle down. "Come here and stand before me Sharn-Mes". Sharn-Mes did as his king bid him. And when he faced his king BlackOak moved faster than the glide of Mjolnir. Grabbed a sword hidden in his bearskin from behind his back and threw it at Sharn-Mes...
They all were shocked! But Sharn-Mes smiled as he caught the sword by its hilt. A flash of light blinded all shortly and BlackOak started to talk.
As Sharn-Mes was holding the sword. BlackOak told of its history.
"This blade are sacred. It came with our forefathers on board the first ship. Its blessed by the Old Ones, and has before fought the shadows of darkness. Its name and origin are no longer recorded. Thus, is it for you to name the blade and wield it with power and cunning.
It comes from our vaults and it was suggested as your gift by Odin himself. It is one of the greatest swords in the world. A brother to LordNam's and mine this mighty blade hunger for justice and is eager for battle.
Now you name it, and wear it with the greatest pride. For it will serve you as thy name it.
Hearing this Sharn-Mes, laid the blade gently down before BlackOak saying: "I am not worth this honour. This blade is worth the Elders and not a mere warrior. Please take this blade where it should be."
As king BlackOak heard this he smiled and said. "No. You are worth all the world and everything. We love you and your wife deeply, this artefact is but a mere gesture an old king can take. It allowed you to wield it. Thus, are thou accepted by the blade and The Zaphirs spirit itself -not favoured by a proud king. Take it and we shall feast.
Sharn-Mes picked up the blade. "Thou must be quested before thy will be named oh ancient soul of Zaphirs. May I wield thy well". As in answer the blade glimpsed and shimmered as on fire.
"To the mead hall!" -Roared the king.
After all the ceremonial stuff the Merksmadhir had to leave to prepare the initiation of new warriors. And he praised the couple many times and said that he was sorry he had other duties to attend. With a glimpse in the eye to his king Kaziganthi, departed to his private chambers.
The others left the royal hall and headed for the mead hall. Where drummers were playing in advance. And thralls had dined for the worthy.
Seeing this mighty display of wealth and nutrition was almost too much for Fantasia. "Thou have a wealthy and proud horde in thy Stronghold king BlackOak. Never in all my travel and raiding has I ever seen such a display of brotherhood, wealth and cunning used skills. Thou are indeed one of the greatest kings."
Well I thank thy. But alas even splendid beyond comprehension by your beauty. This feast had been merrier if not my Elders where so eager to prove themselves in so many ways."
"I miss the happy tunes of Thors voice and the stout tales of LordNam in my ears. At times, even happiness is overshadowed by longing for brothers."
At this point Stallari Pilgrim stepped forth. "My liege, Sharn-Mes and Fantasia. This day has gladdened my hearth so much. Allow me to recite the deeds of Otis to praise Sharn-Mes and lighten our hearts."
BlackOak granted the Stallari to recite this sacred saga even though he knew its length. During the reciting the king roared, "An axe, I need an axe to handle this damn meat". Zuljin threw in his happiness his axe at the king’s meat. But alas the wine has blurred Zuljins aim a bit and instead of hitting the meat the king held, he crushed a huge amount of cups, plates and glasses.
"Ha, ha! if that is the way the Zaphirs clean their dishes -then you all need brides for sure." Laughed Fantasia with sincere jest in her voice. All men roared in laughter and some nearly choked on their ale.
After this. The men were tired and the couple was more intimate than good where and the king proclaimed the feast over.
After this Zuljin fetched the brave Tuuna, that had sacrificed himself and guarded the stronghold.
Tuuna thou have indeed payed a mighty price today. In the light of this my noble warrior thou shalt be captain on the next Strandhögg we do. On this I, will attend myself as thy Merksmadhir.
Tuuna said that he felt honoured by this proclamation. And that the feasting he missed only was the merrier listening to the laughter and sagas at a distance. Odin indeed had blessed this couple.
As the king shook his hand and Zuljin went off to his duty. They all fell silent...........
Except for the silent giggle in the newbuilt house............