Hæðfeld

Edwin, ring-giver // England’s chosen
Rightwise and holy, // ruling with honor,
Bretwalda christened, // baptized at Eoforic,
No truer a leader // Throughout all Britain.
But Penda of Mercia, // Pagan crown-seeker,
And the Briton Cadwallon, // to battle they rallied.
Their errand was sinful, // ever for blade-sweat.
The Briton sought Edwin // Blood-shed for his wergild,
Payment for exile, // pagan swords gathered.
Before that slaying, // Bernicia’s leader,
The Deceiver, Edwin, //Drove him, Cadwallon,
Unseated from Gwynedd, // Under that conquest.
To Mercian Penda // Meaning to ally.
On saddle-beasts northward // Seeking Edwin,
With Gleaming, mail-shirts // Gathered spear-men.
On Roman roadways, // Raedwald’s wyrd-path,
to Aethelfrith’s earth-pit // with Edwin the victor.
Ready for sword-sweat, // wanting bloodshed,
Pagan and tyrant, // Penda and Cadwallon,
To Hæðfeld with weapons, // hungry for spear-dew.
sparing no kindness, // showing no good-will.
Raven feeders // readied Edwin,
To war-fields gathered, // wound-hoes grasping.
Oathbound fighters, // Edwin’s liegemen,
To Penda’s war-field, // praying for boldness,
Deira’s princes // daring to follow,
Praying and hoping // for Penda’s downfall.
In mailshirts gleaming // mounted pagans,
Britons leading, // battled Edwin.
Osfric was murdered, // Edwin’s firstborn,
Warlike and dreadful, // war-food for the ravens.
In hatred and anger // hunted Edwin.
Penda took Eadfrid, promised shelter.
Oathbreaking Penda // honored nothing.
Fearful leader // fed the ravens
Eadfrid’s bonehouse – // Edwin’s kinsman.
Boldly Deira // Border warded,
Holding boldly // Hæðfeld’s country.
Driven to sword-sleep, // the death-blow by Penda.
And Fairest Edwin // fallen with his liegemen,
His brain-box taken: // the Briton’s war-prize.
Riding through Deira, // they raided the northlands,
Showing no mercy, // sparing no children.
The Briton Cadwallon, // though baptized a Christian,
Heartless and evil, // Hateful and guiltless.
Though pagan in being, // Penda was fairer!
Crumbled by devils, // that kingdom of Edwin’s
Where liegemen and children // lingered safely.
So adored that high-lord, // Edwin their ruler,
Banners of tribute // before him flying.
Beloved by Deira, // Bernicia’s chosen.
The curséd Cadwallon, // kingdom’s raider –
So unlike a ruler, // no Edwin, Bretwalda,
Though taken was Deira, // its tyrant a weakling,
Sowing hatred, // Spreading bloodshed.
Darkness shrouded // Deira after
Edwin the high-king // Eagles sated.
Shameful that Edwin, // saintly martyr,
At Hæðfeld fallen, // hunted for rancor.
Fearless in battle, // faithful till sword’s-rest.

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