Dwarven Freiskald


Snorrï, here is your to-do list. Get on with it. Love, Snorrï.

  • Find some beard tonic for Yngvï. Do halflings not grow beards? (find out)
  • Refurbish your pipes, seriously
  • Improve your repertoire! The dwarfish classics are less appreciated outside the mountain. Hall-less philistines.
  • Master playing Life Budding in Salted Earth and Depths of the Mountain
  • Compose a full saga of our clan’s history
  • Collect enough gold to buy into at least a minor title back home
  • Put in an entry for next Skalding Awards (need a couple new comps and some exotic ones to go with the trad ballads)
  • Ooh also enough gold to buy some land way up in Holmyr and put a big feckin statue on it
Of before times
Freiskald Snorrï
Sacred dwarf-lore
Ever hidden
and the afters
sings the rime.
remains hidden,
from outsiders.
Sing now instead,
Of the dwarf-lords
Freiskald Snorrï,
and the dead.
Now we sing of them instead.
Storied Khordim
Mighty City
There dwelt th’ancient
From the well-feared
of the dwarf hold,
Khaz Thurim;
honoured greybeard:
mountain stronghold
Drove the greenskin,
Oðinnsson sent,
forged the city,
Dwarfish history starts with him.
Of our own line
Eldest greymane
Honoured meadfriend,
Of Moradin,
we remember
battlebrand kin
great Soulforger.
His first son, hear,
Trim the skald-pen:
was the first to
Still we hold his versing dear.
Vindálf’s kindred,
Took the mountain,
Built the highthrone
First thane Snorrï,
soon increasing,
axes red.
for his glory
bright-ring giving.
Now the listcount
From the highthrone
of the dwarfkin
on and down:
Snorrï first, who wore the crown,
Then great Durin,
Nár and Náin,
Bifur, Bofur,
Aurvang, Jari,
Althjóf, Dvalin,
Níping, Dain,
Bombur, Nóri,
Thekk and Ðorin,
Nár and Regin,
Fræg and Lóni
King’s advisors,
Án, Onar, and Mjóthvitnir.
Then the curse came,
Birth of sorrows,
Hated deathlings
Dark Khaz Thurim,
slaying many:
ravaged Khordim.
empty city.
Holds the shieldwall,
Dwarfs collapsing,
mountain falls.
Few escaped the baneful hall.
Holmyr’s horsemen
Seeking refuge
Far from holdheim
Tend the kine beds,
find the wand’rers
past Greyfenn.
Snorrï’s kindred
sheepfolds water.
From high station
Thrice of time a
sorting refuse.
Ere the hold’s rehabitation
Rise the city
Now to glory
Snorrï’s kindred
old Khaz Thurim
as formerly.
smiths and weavers,
in high Khordim.
Freiskald Snorrï
Gold, wit, fame led
then by glory,
from th’city
With his ward, th’halfdwarf Yngi,
Bagpipe, mead, and hammer singing.
1 Snorrï repeatedly calls himself ‘Freiskald’, a term which seems to indicate a skald not tied to any one hold or even clan, but able to wander and perform at will.
2 Traditional skaldic origin tales treat Moradin in a number of different ways. Here Snorrï implies a mortal origin for the god – the most well known dwarfish divinity among humans and other races.
3 A number of traditional kennings appear here: greenskin, Orcs goblins etc; Oðinnsson, the dwarfish god Thor. Grey hair and beards imply age – a positive attribute in dwarfish culture. Battlebrand is a weapon, mead (or any alcohol) the great uniter of dwarfs, and is traditionally linked to being brothers in arms. Soulforger is another kenning for Moradin.
4 The name Vindálfðrain seems to conflate either two names or a name and a title. Vindálf seems to be the earliest ancestor of Snorrï’s family.
5 Another important ancestor is Mötsognir, here called the first skald – Snorrï’s name often appears as Mötsognirsson, as a member of his profession (although Kalmar believes his father was given this name).
6 The first Snorrï, a princeling of Khaz Thurim, is the ancestor after whom our poet was named – elevated here to fully royal status. A string of ancestors follows – all have some relevance in Khordimish history, but they are not to be taken as a linear sequence of parents and children – rather these are the standouts. It is to be noted that the rhyme scheme is altered in these stanzas – cf. the alteration of metre towards the poem’s end. Note the almost subtle mention that the last stanza involves ancestors no longer of royal or even princely status, but merely part of the aristocracy.
7 Another obscure event of dwarfish history?
Whatever happened apparently causes Snorrï’s family to flee Khordim far to the north, to Holmyr, where their social status takes a further hit.
8 Being beholden to men, and clearly farmers and other common folk, rankles at Snorrï, named for heroic royal ancestors.
9 Eventually, the family returns to the great dwarfish capital – though the timing of this is unclear and disputed. As befits migrants (it has been at least two centuries), they are now part of the middle class.
10 Snorrï here alludes to the start of his own career, and implies his wanderings as a free-skald are motivated by a desire to recapture his (or his family’s?) lost prestige and wealth.
11 On Yngi’s role in Snorrï’s poetry, particularly in connection with questions of ethnicity, see now Austin.
The entire poem is set to bagpipe music in the best MS.
The instruction: one sustained low drone.


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