Wulfric and the Snow Elf, V. IV

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IV. The Snow Elf
(In which Wulfric meets the Snow Elf.)

To his near-death came a Falmer
Bright-eyed maid with braids of winter
Bare and barefoot came a Falmer
Pale spell-maven, white-death dealer

Fought to fight, did he, brave Wulfric
Strove to split limbs’ frosty stingers
Strove to grasp his gelid sword-grip
Fought to clasp with frozen fingers

Kneeling down this bare-skinned Falmer
Spread her palms as if to warm them
Blew her breath on Wulfric’s embers
Soon elf-spells began to charm him

Spoke she once, her name, Eormi
North-son lay now at her mercy
Breathed deep up and down his body
Wicked elf found Wulfric worthy

Now his doom laid down beside him
Her turn-trances woven, growing*
Wulfric’s doom climbed up astride him
False-love forged from lengthy loathing

Falmer flesh burned off the blizzard
Snowmelt steamed, the ground grew sodden
Eormi sighed once and heat-shivered
North-son warmed, the storm forgotten

Wulfric roused and rolled them over,
Felt her flame-skin, faced her fairness
Led by Falmer fingers closer
Heaved himself into the furnace
Translator’s Notes: Many translations usually leave out the last verse, but it is not due to any question of its authenticity.

*Turn-trance may refer to a spell mentioned in a few Second Era works under various names which reverses one’s feelings for a particular subject. Happiness when watching birds fly turns to sadness, excitement during Flower Day turns to lethargy, etc. The strength of the feeling remains the same and the effects are permanent unless another turn-trance is cast upon them. See, for instance, The Witch-King’s Drummer where the minor character Vasteda (or in the modern version, Fasetta) seeks a hag to re-reverse Dhiun’s (Theon’s) love for her, and succeeds at the cost of becoming her apprentice. Or see the Dwynnen Lai where the Sea-Witch uses an enchanted mirror to turn dreugh into loyal and loving servants and is then tricked by the Baron into using them against the Usurper’s fleet.

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