Viking runes are viewed as more than just the letters of an alphabet; they are powerful symbols with potent metaphysical virtues that can be used as a means of communication between the natural and supernatural. Carved into stone or wood, they are used to commemorate events of great importance.
In 1875, the world changed for Icelanders. After years of detrimental Danish rule and then an unusually long freeze that crippled the fishing industry and blocked arrival of vital supplies, the Askja volcano erupted, ruining farmland. Almost one-fifth of the population left the island, and New Iceland, Vestur Islendingar, was established on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, giving a new beginning to the immigrants.