Hrothgar’s Saga

Vikings for all occasions, no tale too looong

Manaraefan Herred

the land, or hold this territory against them; for they had terribly marked each shire in Wessex with fire and devastation. Then king Aethelred began to consult seriously with his council, what they all thought most advisable for defending this land, ere it was utterly undone. Then advised the king and his council for the advantage of all the nation, though they were all loth to do it, that they needs must bribe the enemy with a tribute. King Aethelred then sent to the army, and ordered it to be made known to them, that his desire was, that there should be peace between them, and that tribute and provision should be given them. And they accepted the terms; and they were provisioned throughout England.

             Hrothgar commanded a Great Army that with the Host fought a great battle near Hastingas.  Many came from all about Europe to fight with the Great Army here.  Hrothgar’s son first fought with the Host at this time. 

1007    In this year was the tribute paid to the hostile army; that was, 30,000 pounds. In this year also was Edric appointed eolderman over all the kingdom of the Mercians.  This year went Bishop Elfeah to Rome after his pall Darrach ap Llywelyn joined the High Council of the Host.

 

Hrothgar marries again

 

             Susan of Lytham Convent was joined in marriage with Hrothgar at the beginning of this year.

             The Host maintained their presence in Manu and made their settlement there stronger.  Harald Ulfketilsson and Sara of Liss again held court in the great hall and many of the people of Manu came and paid tribute to the Host.  This year they raided over land leaving their ships safe in harbour.

             Hlinnoss Raefansdotta and Njal the Taller marry and enjoy great feasting with the Manaraefan and other guests.

             The Host captured a strong fort that guarded south Omtune.  The fighting here was over hard ground and the struggle was great but the Host prevailed.  Here was seen a warrior of bizarre dress whose clothes seemed to come from both the sea and hay.  Here Darrach ap Llywelyn instructed the Host in a new way of fighting, all agreed it was a great improvement and they fought that way from then on.

             Styrkar Rattle Snake makes a marriage in Wealas to the man of ashes, Connor Nyr Goch.

 

Torfinn Stormbringer killed

 

             Torfinn Stormbringer was killed in a mounted duel with a Norman Knight. A great many people from all about the country came to honour him at his funeral, he was a Christian of renown but even those not of his faith came and stood in his church which proved not to be big enough for all those present.  His widow held a great feast in his honour and all present agreed that he was well honoured and lived a worthy life.

             Again the Host fought near Hastingas and were there led by Hrothgar, Lief Tyrsson stood close by Hrothgar throughout the battle and together they defeated many attacks made by the Franks.

 

1008   This year bade king Aethelred that men should speedily build ships over all England; that is, a man possessed of three hundred and ten hides to provide one galley or skiff; and a man possessed of eight hides only, to find a helmet and iron coat.

             Hrothgar led a part of the Host to Cressing where he met and defeated the very tiresome eorl Bond.  This eorl Bond had brought his favourite pet with him, a snow white hound which rushed straight to the warriors of the host who immediately captured the beast.  Hrothgar refused to return the animal and this enraged eorl Bond who then foolishly attacked the Host and died with many of his men.  Hrothgar then proceeded to gather tribute from the people of Cressing one of whom tried to deceive Hrothgar as to his wealth by disguising himself as a lowly peasant.

 

The stripping of Thurstan the Shoeless

 

             At Crane Born Thurstan the Shoeless and his band were defeated by the Manaraefan.  Thurstan the Shoeless was knocked to the ground senseless and then stripped of his arms and armour.  When he regained his senses he was greatly annoyed, he ragged long but this only amused the Manaraefan and his own warriors could not look him in the face without a smile!  That night, while feasting in a captured hall, Hrothgar told many tales of valour as he made his way around the hearth, the hearts of his listeners were uplifted by his words.

             The Host went into Mon again this year and did much damage to the place.  They attacked and captured a town with a strong wall and put it to the torch.  Here some of the Host fought while still mounted which did frighten the enemy but did them little harm.

             Yet again the Franks came to Hastingas and were there met by the Host and driven from the land though they vowed to come back again in the next year.

 

1009   This year were the ships ready, that we before spoke about; and there were so many of them as never were in England before, in any king's days, as books tell us. And they were all transported together to Sandwich; that they should lie there, and defend this land against any out-force. But we have not yet had the prosperity and the honour, that the naval armament should be useful to this land, any more than it often before was. It was at this same time, or a little earlier, that Brihtric, brother of eolderman Edric, betrayed Wulnoth, the South-Saxon thane, father of earl Godwin, to king Aethelred; and he went into exile, and enticed  the navy, till he had with him twenty ships; with which he plundered everywhere by the south coast, and wrought every kind of mischief. When it was told the navy that they might easily seize him, if they would look about them, then took Brihtric with him eighty ships; and thought that he should acquire for himself much reputation, by getting Wulnoth into his hands alive or dead.  But, whilst they were proceeding thitherward, there came such a wind against them, as no man remembered before; which beat and tossed the ships, and drove them aground; whereupon Wulnoth soon came, and burned them. When this was known to the remaining ships, where king Aethelred was, how the others fared, it was then as if all were lost. King Aethelred went home, with the aldermen and the nobility; and thus lightly did they forsake the ships; whilst the men that were in them rowed them back to London. Thus lightly did they suffer the labour of all the people to be in vain; nor was the terror lessened, as all England hoped. When this naval expedition was thus ended, then came, soon after Lammas, the formidable army of the enemy, called Thurkill's army, to Sandwich; and soon they bent their march to Canterbury; which city they would quickly have stormed, had they not rather desired peace; and all the men of East-Cantware made peace with the army, and gave them 3,000 pounds for security. The army soon after that went about till they came to the Isle of Wight; and everywhere in Suth Seax, and in Hamtun Scir, and also in Beark Scir, they plundered and burned, as their custom is. Then ordered king Aethelred to summon out all the population, that men might hold firm against them on every side; but nevertheless they marched as they pleased. On one occasion the king had begun his march before them, as they proceeded to their ships, and all the people were ready to fall upon them; but the plan was then frustrated through eolderman Edric, as it ever is still. Then after Martinmas they went back again to Cantware, and chose their winter-quarters on the Thames; obtaining their provisions from East Seaxe, and from the scires that were next, on both sides of the Thames. And oft they fought against the city of London; but glory be to God, that it yet standeth firm: and they ever there met with ill fare. Then after midwinter took they an excursion up through Chiltern, and so to the Ford of the Ox; which city they burned, and plundered on both sides of the Thames to their ships. Being fore-warned that there was an army gathered against them at London, they went over at Staines; and thus were they in motion all the winter, and in spring, appeared again in Cantware, and repaired their ships.

             Hrothgar again entertained all those that attended the feast at Crane Born with stories of mighty deeds and cunning ploys.

 

Of banners at Corfe

 

             Harald Ulfketilsson of Liss led a part of the Host to despoil that Corfe which is in Dorsetscir; Hrothgar bore the Raven Banner of the Manaraefan in two days of fighting and passed it on to the young Ulf Jug Seeker on the third day.  Each day Harald Ulfketilsson led his warriors up a steep hill fighting their way to the top to drive the defenders off; Hrothgar followed closely with the Raven Banner and victory was theirs.  On the third day Ulf Jug Seeker followed Harald Ulfketilsson less closely and the warriors of the Host were overcome and driven off.  Ulf Jug Seeker redeemed himself in combat with a warrior of great renown, a Wend who fought for the Ynlingalish by the name of Corilast.  They fought long and hard and despite being struck in the head Ulf Jug Seeker overcame his foe and slew him.  Sigurd Drum the Un-horsed came to fight but could not find his boots, he searched high and low before returning to his ship for another pair.  Valgard Toebreaker commanded a part of the Host for Harald Ulfketilsson and was helped by Njal the Taller, Bohn Aelfricsson fought with them and was wounded in the face by a spear.  Valgard Toebreaker became enraged at this and did much harm to the foe in vengeance.  Oeif Gudrunsdottir, Mo Swinhosson, Kormak the Carter, Njal Ericsson The Tall, Hori-Hjort, Urracan of the Manaraefan, Bjornhelm the Frail, Ragnar Haraldsson and Dumm of the Manaraefan were also there.

             The Manaraefan then went to Where the Well is in Hamtun Scir and there took the eolderman prisoner and held him for ransom.  Afterwards the Manaraefan joined with the Host at Cridiantun, they fought hard to over throw the people there as they had a new bishop and wanted his wealth.  Hrothgar fought hard there and led a part of the Host.  Darrach ap Llywelyn ap Griffith ap Owain, ap Llewellyn ap Ieuan had charge of the Hosts most skilled and wisest warriors and called them to meet after the battle.  Many issues were discussed and Hrothgar spoke words of wisdom to them all.

             It was to Pang Borne in Bearkscir the Manaraefan went next, here they camped close by the river and drew their water from there.  Hrothgar, Harald Ulfketilsson, Njal the Taller, Hori-Hjort, Eirik Sigurdsson and Bjornhelm the Frail went to Manu with Sara of Liss, Hlinnoss Raefansdotta and Urracan of the Manaraefan and there met with Torsten the Wend.  They joined with Magnus the Lord of the Isles and other warriors of the Host to aid him in his quarrel with the people of Manu.  They took the town of Peel and held it for ten days; from there they ranged out widely and took much booty.  Hrothgar carried Magnus the Lord of the Isles’ banner and was by his side in the hardest fighting never once retreating from any foe.  Here Hrothgar proposed that those warriors of greatest renown should meet and spread their wisdom to the younger warriors of the Host.

 

The Enchanted Wood & the Great Beast of Crane Born

 

              After this the Manaraefan went to Crane Born which is also in Dorsetscir and there drove off the eolderman and his people giving them all the spoils they wanted.  Hrothgar went into a deep and dark place to take out the richest of the wealth of that place, a special and much prized type of enchanted wood that burned hotter, longer and brighter than any other, and there discovered that it was protected by a great beast.  Hrothgar valiantly fought the beast which stood over nine feet tall and was protected by a feathery hide and struck out with a sharp beak and vicious claws.  Hrothgar struck at the mighty beast many times with his sword, the savage creature splintered Hrothgar’s shield into hundreds of pieces, taking his sword in two hands Hrothgar redoubled his attacks but was unable to kill the creature, he did however did drive it off from the treasure.  Some weeks later Hrothgar returned with Torsten the Wend and Bjornhelm the Frail with the intent to carry off more of the treasured wood.  There were two caves at that place and Bjornhelm the Frail to the one to the left.  Hrothgar and Torsten the Wend approached the cave to the right and Torsten the Wend carried a torch to light Hrothgar’s progress through the dark.  Again there was a monster atop the loot and Hrothgar approached carefully, as he did so a knocking sound from behind him caused the beast to open one huge eye.  Hrothgar turned to steady Torsten the Wend’s nerves instructing him to stand with feet astride so as to prevent his knees knocking, when he turned back to the foul thing he was horrified to see it was accompanied by three other equally hideous fiends.  Deciding that speed would be better than force Hrothgar rushed in to snatch away what he could, he made several forays and only when Torsten the Wend’s arms were full did the two retreat from the dangerous adventure.  Bjornhelm the Frail meanwhile had no beast to contend with in the other cave but it was found that the wood there was of an inferior quality. Here too Valgard Toebreaker and Trasea of Hrafnslith were joined in wedlock, Hrothgar performed the ceremony and afterwards a great feast was held.

              Next the Manaraefan went Potterne and there were entertained to a fine feast by the people there who were grateful for the protection the Manaraefan gave them. Hastingas was yet again attacked by the Franks and the Host drove them off, the Manaraefan were prominent in the battle stiffening the line with their presence in all parts of the army.  Here was the first assembly of renowned warriors and Sigurd Drum the Un-horsed, Magnus Thorkelsson and Hrothgar were entitled Warriors of Renown.

 

1010                This year came the aforesaid army, the enemy of the Ynlingalish, after Easter, into East Anglia; and went up at Ipswich, marching continually till they came where they understood Ulfcytel was with his army. This was on the day called the first of the Ascension of our Lord. The East-Angles soon fled. Cambridge Scir stood firm against them. There was slain Athelstan, the king's relative, and Oswy, and his son, and Wulfric, son of Leofwin, and Edwy, brother of Efy, and many other good thanes, and a multitude of the people. Thurkytel Myrehead first began the flight; and the Danes remained masters of the field of slaughter. There were they horsed; and afterwards took possession of East-Anglia, where they plundered and burned three months; and then proceeded further into the wild fens, slaying both men and cattle, and burning throughout the fens. Thetford also they burned, and Cambridge; and afterwards went back southward into the Thames; and the horsemen rode towards the ships. Then went they west-ward into Oxen Scir, and thence to Buckingasham Scir, and so along the Ouse till they came to Bedford, and so forth to Temsford, always burning as they went.

             Withal this the Host went unto three places after Easter for their own spoils, a portion went to Bolsover, another to Bridgham and a third to Corfe in Dorsetscir, the Manaraefan were with the third portion.  Here Hrothgar continued his quest for the enchanted wood.  He found the wood hidden in a deep cave but otherwise undefended; he was able to carry a goodly amount off to his camp.  On his return with the enchanted wood he discovered that he had no axe sharp enough to cut the wood and set off to seek one.  He came across an old man who was called Mart Tynn, unbeknown to Hrothgar the old man was a malevolent wizard.  On learning of Hrothgar’s quest Mart Tynn offered to lend Hrothgar an axe, as he handed it to Hrothgar Mart Tynn uttered mystical words over it, “this be really, really sharp.”  Hrothgar returned to his camp and having chosen a log he raised the axe high above his head and brought it down with all his force on the wood.  But now the devious words of the evil wizard Mart Tynn had their effect, the axe stuck in the wood without cleaving it.  Hrothgar attempted to draw the axe from the wood and as he did so the axe, with a life of its own, flew at his leg cutting it deeply.  Hrothgar threw the cursed instrument from him and called out for aid.  The good wife Oeif Gudrunsdottir saw his plight and came to Hrothgar’s aid, seeing his wound she prayed the Eir, the goddess of healing, using the enchantment “Mea de ick, mea de ick!”  At this could be heard the pounding of feet as Anna, a priestess of Eir came bounding towards them.  Eir gave Anna wings that she might bound over a mighty wall that protected Hrothgar’s camp from great furry beasts.  Quickly Anna studied Hrothgar’s wound and before binding it asked if he preferred his trews to be cut from below or above, Hrothgar stated that he fought as a commando and suggested from below. As Anna bound the wound she muttered mystical words over it, “Am bus lance, am bus lance!” Other people came to help Hrothgar and prepared a bag of necessities for him as they feared he must be taken to a place of healing. Amongst those there was the wizard Mart Tynn who had come to gloat, hearing that Hrothgar might need personal items he cackled to himself. Then, out of the crowd of people, Hrothgar felt a still warm garment thrust into his hand, the pants of Mart Tynn!  Then the night sky was rent by a strange blue lightning, a weird wailing was heard and out of the darkness strode two green clad elves.  They inspected the wound and announced they would take Hrothgar to the goddess Eir’s hall of Aee to be healed.  The elves aided Hrothgar to their green and yellow chariot and accompanied by the priestess Anna they transported him to Aee.  One of the lords of Aee came and probed deep into Hrothgar’s wound and with needle and thread sewed it up.  This lord of Aee gave Hrothgar medicines to see him well, he said the lady Biotik, his Aunt and a great herbalist, had made them specially for him.  Then Magnus the Timid came and he and Anna transported Hrothgar back to the Host.

             At this same place Sigurd Drum the Un-horsed spent much time training the warriors of the Host, so much time did he spend at this task that he was unable to stand with the other warriors of the Host.  Njal Ericsson The Tall also avoided getting his sword wet, the mighty Thor was displeased that such a fine strapping warrior should sit on his hands when others were braving the field of ravens and sent a mighty wind to torment him.  As Njal sat and conversed with women Thor’s wind blew strong and almost took the Manaraefan camp away towards the sea, as it did so a great log crashed down upon Njal Ericsson The Tall’s head knocking him to the ground.  Fortunately Njal Ericsson The Tall had a thick skull and though he was stunned for some time he was able to recover.  Others from the Manaraefan did stand with the Host, Valgard Toebreaker, Olaf Harroldsson, Ulf Jug Seeker, Harald Ulfketilsson, Bjornhelm the Frail, Eirik Sigurdsson and Hori-Hjort all stood without fear.  Bjornhelm the Frail fell and hurt his leg in the battle while grappling closely with a foeman.  Ulf Jug Seeker made a name for himself as trustworthy warrior who could face down the best of the enemy and many great warriors talked at length of his skill.  Ulf Jug Seeker and Hori-Hjort took turns to carry the banner of the Manaraefan for Harald Ulfketilsson who was leading the Manaraefan as Sturaesman for the first time.

Then returned the enemy of the Ynligalish to their ships with their spoil, which they apportioned to the ships. When the king's army should have gone out to meet them as they went up, then went they home; and when they were in the east, then was the army detained in the west; and when they were in the south, then was the army in the north. Then all the privy council were summoned before the king, to consult how they might defend this country. But, whatever was advised, it stood not a month; and at length there was not a chief that would collect an army, but each fled as he could: no shire, moreover, would stand by another.

             After this the Host of Thorgrim Sigurdsson went to Hale, rumours were put about that the people of that place were very fierce and terrible and likely to cause great harm to the Host, some feint hearted souls slipped away from the host to their great shame.  Those bold members of the Host that descended upon Hale took that place by storm and found the defenders no more fierce or terrible than any others in the land of the Ynglingalish.  Hrothgar and Harald Ulfketilsson went to Hale with the Host and there did much damage to the foe, both used their bows to good effect before setting upon the Ynglingalish with spear and sword.  Much booty was taken from the people of Hale and they praised greatly the prowess of the Host.

A strong place of the Ynglingalish was taken by the Host at Beade’s Ford, Hrothgar was foremost of those that fought through the breach in the walls and slew many of the defenders.

             The Manaraefan again protected the people of Potterne and were treated to a fine feast by the head man of that place who styled himself king John. This king John had but a small kingdom also known as the Five Lanes, as he was a most generous host the Manaraefan cared little what he claimed to be.  While conversing with the veteran warriors of the Manaraefan young Ulf Jug Seeker complained that he had not yet made a name for himself. The wise old warriors laughed and said he would in time but that he should be careful what he wished for. That night, while enjoying the feast king John laid on for his guests, Ulf Jug Seeker caught the eyes of a fine wench who bore generously proportioned jugs, filled with fine ale, to the warriors. She sat upon his lap and enticed him away, but the wench’s ale had more claim on Ulf Jug Seeker than her charms and he fell down asleep in a pasture.  Next day Ulf Jug Seeker was told he was to be known as Jug Seeker and the wise old warriors laughed a great deal.

 

Of The Stench of Beasts

 

             The Manaraefan, with the Host, next went to help king Kendealla defend his great abbey from the Franks who had designed to despoil it.  Hrothgar fought close to the king and by cunning moves sent a savage Frank down amongst a pile of ordure, following through with a savage attack of his own Hrothgar unmanned the Frank with a quick thrust of his sword.  Two of this unmanned Frank’s companions then dragged him away through the great pile of dung.  Later king Kendealla was cut down by his enemies and Hrothgar stood before his body defending it bravely as those about him were slain.  Turning to see if king Kendealla had recovered Hrothgar saw that he was no longer where he had fallen; looking about quickly Hrothgar saw the king had been dragged to another place and Hrothgar rushed to the king’s side.  Here he stood until he was knocked senseless by a Frank.  When Hrothgar recovered he found that he lay beside the king in another pile of manure!  Hrothgar, with the stench of beasts about him, then went back with the Host and washed his armour.

             Not long after this Torsten the Wend had a great battle with a dragon which was ridden by an aged wizard.  The huge creature was armoured with golden scales and belched out noxious black fumes rather than the flame of other more noble beasts.  The dragon roved a range of hills near to Torsten the Wend’s home and laid waste to crops and livestock with its constant belching of its odious vapours.  Torsten the Wend set out mounted upon his mighty steed Claude, a fine animal taken from the Franks or Normandy, to do battle with the dragon and the wicked one who rode upon it.  Torsten the Wend came upon his prey as they left their den, a dank cave at the foot of a steep hill.  Torsten the Wend immediately charged the beast while astride his mighty steed and leapt from the saddle to land on the dragons back, he put such a great dent in its armoured hide that the mighty creature reared up and threw Torsten the Wend and its evil rider to the ground.  Uttering a strange incantation “Mirror, indicate, manoeuvre!” the wizard tried to regain control of his beast while desperately holding onto his mounts reins. Torsten the Wend meanwhile rolled under the huge creature and savagely kicked one of the dragon’s legs out from under it.  Now the beast was terrified by this unexpected attack from a foe it could not see, it let out a strange wail, “Paaarp!” It then fled dragging its master away with it, the evil one continued to shout incantations of control, “Clutch, gear, hand-break, accelerate!”  Torsten the Wend, satisfied with his work, picked himself up, remounted Claude and took himself off to practise his martial skills.

             Before the feast-day of St. Andrew came the enemy of the Ynlingalish to Northampton, and soon burned the town, and took as much spoil thereabout as they would; and then returned over the Thames into Wessex, and so by Cannings-marsh, burning all the way. When they had gone as far as they would, then came they by midwinter to their ships.

             At the close of the year the Manaraefan met all together at Crane Born where they feasted and celebrated the year’s victories long into the night with tales of their great and noble deeds.

 

1011     This year sent king Aethelred and his council to the army, and desired peace; promising them both tribute and provisions, on condition that they ceased from plunder. They had now overrun East-Anglia, and East Seaxe, and Mid Seaxe, and Oxen Scir, and Cambridge Scir, and Herutford Scir, and Buckingasham Scir, and Bead’s Ford Scir, and half of Huntingsdone Scir, and much of Omtune Scir; and, to the south of the Thames, all Cantware, and Suth Seax, and Hastingas, and Surrea, and Beark Scir, and Hampton Scir, and much of Wiltun Scir. All these disasters befell the Ynglingalish through bad counsels; that they would not offer tribute in time, or fight with them; but, when they had done most mischief, then entered they into peace and amity with them. And not the less for all this peace, and amity, and tribute, they went everywhere in troops; plundering, and spoiling, and slaying the miserable Ynglingalish. In this year, between the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas, they beset Canterbury, and entered therein through treachery; for Elfmar delivered the city to them, whose life Archbishop Elfeah formerly saved.  And there they seized Archbishop Elfeah, and Elfward the king's steward, and Abbess Leofruna, and Bishop Godwin; and Abbot Elfmar they suffered to go away. And they took therein all the men, and husbands, and wives; and it was impossible for any man to say how many they were; and in the city they continued afterwards as long as they would. And, when they had surveyed all the city, they then returned to their ships, and led the archbishop with them

 

Then was a captive
he who before was
of England head
and Christendom; --
there might be seen

great wretchedness,
where oft before
great bliss was seen,
in the fated city,
whence first to us
came Christendom,
and bliss 'fore God
and 'fore the world.

 

And the archbishop they kept with them until the time when they martyred him.

 

Part 4.  The Royal Cycle

 

             At Easter Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson called his Jarls and warriors to a great feast in the town of Oundle.  Here he stood down and Hrothgar became Konungr.  Many gifts were given and fine words spoken of Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s leadership of the Host.  Hrothgar was welcomed as Konungr with fine gifts and oaths of loyalty.

             After this the Host attacked Tutbury and Corfe where king Edward the Martyr was martyred.  Hrothgar led the portion of the Host that went to Corfe and took that place from king Aethelred’s man eorl Thurstan the Shoeless, it was one of many places that Thurstan the Shoeless lost to Hrothgar and the Host.  The warriors of the Ulfhednar came and drank a great toast with Hrothgar in honour of his elevation to Konungr. Also here a great stink was caused by the ill behaviour of some in the Host that much lessened their honour.

        Next Hrothgar went with a portion of the Host to attack Ruddlan while others of the Host ravaged Chiltern.  At Ruddlan Hrothhgar honoured the warriors of Hrafnslith and bestowed an honour upon their banner.

             Shortly after this Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice died, she had led the Host of Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson in many battles and was greatly respected as a war leader.  A great many people attended Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice’s funeral.

 

Sword fight at Ok’s stock pen

 

             Hrothgar next went raiding around the Irish Sea but calamity struck and he was shipwrecked on Manu with only Darrach ap Llywelyn, Cathbad of Arran, Alfheim Sigurdsson and Wulfgar Olfsson.  No other part of the Host arrived on Manu and they were in great danger of being captured.  Hrothgar suggested that the others hide on a small island near Peel while he talk to the local people and spin them some tale, he would try to persuade them to go to the island in ones and twos, Darrach ap Llywelyn and the others were to spring out and capture or kill anyone who came to the island.  This way they hoped to make themselves feared enough to get a ship and some profit from their predicament.  Hrothgar went into Peel dressed in his finest clothes and spun his tale to just a few people at a time, he made them believe that he was a wealthy merchant whose fine ship was wrecked on the island with a rich cargo.  As each man of Manu, filled with greed, went to the island they were taken or killed by Hrothgar’s companions.  Soon enough there were so few left in Peel that Darrach ap Llywelyn and the others came into town, they rowed across at high tide and strode up the high street towards Ok’s stock pens, as they did so the women and low born fled from them and shut themselves up in their houses.  Hrothgar met them and at Ok’s stock pen and there they challenged the remainder of the towns warriors.  These were five warriors all from one family known as the Clantonr, the fight was short and brutal, three of the Clantonr were killed and two fled.  Only Darrach ap Llywelyn was hurt among Hrothgar’s companions having received a cut to his head and Cathbad of Arranof Arran who had a bit of a cough.

             Hrothgar and his companions found themselves a good ship and left Manu much richer.

             Hrothgar and the Manaraefan again went to Crane Born and had much sport with the people there.  Eolderman Thurstan of Reedpole was unable to prevent them taking what they wanted, he had hired four mercenary warriors to stiffen the resolve of his local levies but when they saw Hrothgar, Torsten the Wend, Lewcr and Hermod one of the mercenaries ran away and the other three quickly fell below the swords of the Manaraefan along with Thurstan of Reedpole’s levies.  Thurstan of Reedpole himself only saved himself by showing a clean pair of heels to the Manaraefan.

 

Standards high and low

 

             Hrothgar next led the Host to Northumbria where they laid waste the land and took much treasure from the priory at Lindesfarne. Here Hrothgar gave the honour of carrying his personal banner, Land Grabber, to warriors he deemed worthy. First to carry his Land Grabber was Leid Svensson of Glasgow, he stood by Hrothgar throughout the battle and did good and brave service, especially when Hrothgar stumbled, he then stood over his lord until Hrothgar was able to regain his feet and called the hearth troop to defend their king.

In the next battle Hrothgar bestowed the honour to Jore Dane of Cwmwd Ial who looked like a fine upstanding warrior, he looked well set up and spoke well of his own deeds.  But appearances are not always what they seem, once the fight started Jore Dane held himself back and Hrothgar several times had to call him back to his duty.  The last time Hrothgar turned to check that Jore Dane was close by him he saw that Land Grabber was held by a youth so young he could not bear armour, angered Hrothgar ordered the callow youth to stay close by him which he did for a while.  When the two armies separated to catch their breath before the final struggle Hrothgar saw that the youth had thrown away Land Grabber and fled!  Hrothgar was furious!  He took up Land Grabber and went in search of one who might be worthy to carry it.  Thorvard Sigurdsson of Northumbria stood close by dressed in mail and carrying a lesser banner, Hrothgar remembered that he had been close to him throughout the fighting and instructed him to set aside the lesser banner and take up Land Grabber.  In the fighting that followed Thorvard Sigurdsson stood close by his lord and did excellent service, Hrothgar was well pleased and praised him highly.

             Tamworth was the next place the feel the presence of the Host.  The Host had heard that a great hoard of Mercian gold was to be found there. Here again Hrothgar looked for fine brave warriors to carry Land Grabber.  The first was Thorgrim Liefricsson of the Manaraefan who fought well at Hrothgar's side though both of them were wounded.  Then Jowan of Ousekjarr had the honour of carrying Land Grabber and he too fought well but was killed by the defenders of Tamworth as he protected his lord from those that would stab him in the back, fortunately one of Hrothgar's hearth troop was able to snatch up Land Grabber before it was taken by the Mercians.  The enemy at Tamworth followed the advice of a young princeling, Knut Guthrothrsson of Valhalla, who said he had a cunning plan.  They stood their ground in two swine arrays with a huge space between, they hoped the Host would move into the space and be crushed between their two forces.  However the Host declined to follow their plan and instead attacked the points of the swine arrays and steadily wore them down, panic set into the Mercians and they tried to straighten their battle line but it was too late for them and a great many were killed.

             Once the town of Tamworth was captured the Host held an Althing and treasure was given out to those that deserved it.

             The Manaraefan again went to the aid of king John of the Five Lanes and the people of Potterne and king John held a great feast in their honour.  There was however one among the people of Potterne who had set a trap for the Manaraefan, he left black tar in their path so that they became sticky.  At the banquet Hrothgar demanded that the perpetrator of this insult, a man called Ron of the Rocket, was punished.  Ron of the Rocket was judged by ordeal, he was set to drink ale from a huge horn and if he failed he would be bound up for the rest of the night and denied food.  Ron of the Rocket made a valiant effort to drain the horn but failed and was duly punished.

 

Scouting out the enemy

 

             Hrothgar took two of the stoutest members of his hearth troop, Torsten the Wend and Magnus the Timid, to spy out the lands of his old foe Thurstan the Shoeless.  They crossed a rickety bridge and entered a land of heath, bog and woods guided by a local peasant called Thorgrim the Cripple.  This Thorgrim the Cripple said the journey to Thurstan the Shoeless’s lands would be short but his concept of distance was different to that of Hrothgar and his warriors.  They marched on and on over hill and down dale for such a great distance that their shields grew heavy in their hands.  Eventually, after a long and arduous journey they reached Thurstan the Shoeless’s land and made camp for the night. Torsten the Wend and Magnus the Timid argued over who was to light the camp fire, each was vying for the honour. Hrothgar told them to light a fire each and then push them together for a single blaze.

             Torsten the Wend set out to hunt and hadn’t been gone long when the quiet of the evening was rent by the cry of the Great Beast of Crane Born.  There was a great crashing sound in the forest and cries of pain and fear but soon Torsten the Wend returned with the corpse of the beast.  He had overcome his fear of the creature and had lopped the head from this one and then ripped out its guts, he planned now to roast parts of it over their camp fire, he hoped therefore to gain strength of limb and heart from the beast.

             Once night fell each in turn set out to spy out for the enemy.  First to go was Magnus the Timid and when he returned he reported that he could not find the foe but that he had come across the camps of strange little goblin like creatures who were dancing and singing about their great bonfires.  Magnus the Timid had become afraid that they might discover him and tear him apart so he retreated back to their camp.  Hrothhgar went next, he took care to give the goblin camps wide berth and came upon a fire with men talking about it.  He stealthily approached the fire until he could hear the words of the enemy but was disappointed to discover that the men there were in the thrall of the goblins.  Hrothgar retreated from the goblin camp and continued to seek out the enemy.

             Hrothgar eventually came upon a camp of Thurstan the Shoeless’s men and approached stealthily, he saw before him the silhouette of a sentry and moved closer intending to slay him.  Hrothgar was close enough to strike his foe and had not yet himself been seen.  He raised up his axe and brought it down with a mighty blow at the sentry’s chest.  Unknown to Hrothgar a second sentry was crouching behind the first and struck at Hrothgar with his weapon.  Hrothgar just managed to jump aside and after exchanging a few insults with the enemy returned to his camp.

             On his return to their camp Hrothgar found that Torsten the Wend was still trying to roast his beast, Magnus the Timid took over that task so that Thorsten could scout out the enemy.  He too found the foe but was unable to approach very close to them, on his return he discovered an enemy scout and chased him off.  By now the beast was roasted and they enjoyed a good meal, they even allowed Thorgrim the Cripple to join them.

Hrothgar, Magnus the Timid and Torsten the Wend liked the look of their camp as a good place to fight the enemy and decided they would await their enemy at there.  They decided they would get a good night’s sleep but awake early to prepare to meet the dawn attack they expected the enemy to make.  This they did but the enemy disappointed them so after a good breakfast of porridge they broke camp and set off to attack the enemy.  As they marched porridge dripped from Magnus the Timid’ helmet for he had not removed his it as he ate, not wishing to leave a trail for their enemies they paused and waited while he cleaned his helmet. They found a secluded place to drop their camp stores and stealthily approached the enemy camp, it was deserted.  They returned to their camp stores and as they did so little goblins shouted insults at the Vikings and challenged them to charge, the brave heroes ignored the impish taunts but cursed them for blasted brownies.  On reaching their stores Magnus the Timid discovered that his cloak was missing, he set to weeping and wailing as his wife had only just made the cloak for him and he greatly feared her wrath!  He was so distraught that he even approached a pair of goblins and asked if they had taken his cloak, the little monsters said they knew not what a cloak was!  Torsten the Wend meanwhile had returned the their overnight camp where he could see Magnus the Timid’ cloak laid out, he returned to the others and they agreed that the enemy had taken the cloak and must be lying in wait for them at their night camp. 

             Hrothgar, Magnus the Timid and Torsten the Wend decide to approach their night camp from a different direction and they came up behind the enemy who were looking to ambush them. These were three of Thurstan the Shoeless’ best men, Torvik Nine-Finger, Horsa of Wessex and Dane Bjornsson. They had taken their enemy by surprise and Torsten the Wend immediately rushed to attack them, so quickly indeed that Hrothgar and Magnus the Timid struggled to join him before he killed all of the enemy. As Magnus the Timid joined Torsten the Wend they realised that Horsa of Wessex was behind them while they faced Torvik Nine-Finger and Dane Bjornsson.  Then Hrothgar came up and started to rain arrows down on Torvik Nine-Finger and Dane Bjornsson, Magnus the Timid immediately turned around and charged Horsa of Wessex, so hard did he charged that he drove Horsa of Wessex into a holly bush where he died a prickly death.  Torvik Nine-Finger and Dane Bjornsson charge towards Torsten the Wend and Hrothgar who shot Torvik Nine-Finger between the legs as he leapt a ditch, stunned he found himself helpless before Torsten the Wend who swiftly cut him down.  Hrothgar meanwhile had had to leap over a bush to avoid the rushing Dane Bjornsson.  Dane Bjornsson now found himself surrounded and quickly succumbed to attacks from Torsten the Wend and Magnus the Timid. This last enemy they took alive, they interrogated Dane Bjornsson and gained much valuable knowledge from him.  The excitement of the fight had been too much for Magnus the Timid and he had to rush into the woods and drop his trousers. On Magnus the Timid’s return they made their way back to their own lands.

 

Saracens

 

             Hrothgar led the Host to Hastingas where they fought an army who had come from the Holy Land where they had been at war with the Saracens.  Many of their weapons and much of their armour had been made by the Saracens and their appearance was strange and much commented upon.  Many came from Normandy with them and there was a great and hard fought battle.  Hori-Hjort carried Hrothgar’s battle standard Land Grabber for the first day of fighting and Nik the Canadane carried Land Grabber the second day.  It was here that Lief Tyrsson tested his strength against a horse, the horse showed itself to be fearless and smashed Lief Tyrsson into the ground much to his surprise.  Hrothgar told Lief Tyrsson to stop playing the fool and fight like the old warrior he was.

             Bjornhelm the Frail fought hard and strode like a great colossus over the raven field smiting to his left and smiting to his right, so great were his strides that his trouser ripped asunder with such a great tearing sound that all about him fell to their knees and prayed in silence fearing that the Battle goddess Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice had returned to punish them for fighting with feint hearts.  Bjornhelm the Frail left the field and when he returned he had on such a large pair of trousers that three men could have stood inside them!  Dressed thus he stood out from the crowd of warriors and again smote all those that came before him.  No longer considered frail after such great deeds he is now known as Bjornhelm Trouser-full.

             After this the Manaraefan went to their hall at Crane Borne where they celebrated the success of the year, Susan of Lytham accompanied Hrothgar and heard for the first time the great tales of his deeds and those of other warriors of the Manaraefan. Bohn Aelfricsson told how he and his steed slew a vicious troll by attacking it with their heads.  Bjornhelm Trouser-full told how he single handedly defeated a whole hoard of enemies at Wareham and Hrothgar told of the low standards of some warriors who should know better how to behave honourably.

 

1012    This year came eolderman Edric, and all the oldest counsellors of England, clerk and laity, to London before Easter, which was then on the ides of April; and there they abode, over Easter, until all the tribute was paid, which was 48,000 pounds. Then on the Saturday was the army much stirred against the bishop; because he would not promise them any fee, and forbade that any man should give anything for him.  They were also much drunken; for there was wine brought them from the south.  Then took they the bishop, and led him to their hustings, on the eve of the Sunday after Easter, which was the thirteenth before the calends of May; and there they then shamefully killed him.  They overwhelmed him with bones and horns of oxen; and one of them smote him with an axe-iron on the head; so that he sunk downwards with the blow; and his holy blood fell on the earth, whilst his sacred soul was sent to the realm of God.  The corpse in the morning was carried to London; and the bishops, Ednoth and Elfhun, and the citizens, received him with all honour, and buried him in St. Paul's minster; where God now showeth this holy martyr's miracles.  When the tribute was paid, and the peace-oaths were sworn, then dispersed the army as widely as it was before collected.  Then submitted to the king five and forty of the ships of the enemy; and promised him, that they would defend this land, and he should feed and clothe them.

             This year Ulf-eirik Henricksson died in his bed.

 

A Dark Prophesy

 

             Hrothgar went to Halgerd Eiricsdotta’s sted and there held a great feast for his chief advisors.  At about this time Hrothgar had a great new longship built, it had many oars and was swift and sleek, and it was painted white and sparkled upon the sea like a floating gem.  Not long after this he went with a great part of the Host to Fillongley where they were prepared for the coming campaign season by Darrach ap Llywelyn.  While here Hrothgar sent out small bands of the Host to ravage the lands about, one of these bands was from the Herred Hwicce and had Boon the Hun amongst its number.  They returned from their task early as Boon the Hun had been sorely wounded. Hrothgar then joined them and they returned to their task. This band with Hrothgar came upon a group of Mercians and engaged them in fierce combat, one of the Mercians shot an arrow at Hrothgar and this drove him into a berserk rage.  Hrothgar cut his way through the enemy slaying all who stood in his path and fell upon the hapless archer, he ripped the man’s helmet from his head and beat him to death with it.  After defeating two more bands of Mercians Hrothgar and Hwicce returned with much valuable loot amongst which was a fine tryscle, this was taken by Darrach ap Llywelyn and tempered in the fires of Coventry before being split in two.  Hrothgar and Boon the Hun shared the tryscle each wearing half, as this was done an old woman appeared in the camp of the Host and declared that if ever that which was split asunder was re-joined then a child would be born in the West that would bring doom to the Host.

             Hrothgar held the great thing for his Jarls and Sturaesmen after which there was a great feast.  At this feast a treacherous Thegn tried to assassinate Hrothgar but his hearth troop were alert to the danger and quickly overcame the deluded attacker.  Sometime after this one of the Herreds of the Host fell into disunity and broke apart, their Jarl left the Host while the warriors remained loyal to Hrothgar. Much effort was made to prevent the dissolution of the Herred but to no avail.

             The Host then divided to raid about the country and gather strength and wealth before coming together to torment the king of the Yngligalish.  Hrothgar went alone to scout the enemy at Tawd Vale and there he found no one, a great storm had put fear in their hearts and they stayed in the comfort of their halls.

 

Hugh Nose Breaker

 

             At about this time Hrothgar’s cousin Hugh the Chesty came out of Normandy and went to the north of Wealas.  There he was met by a host of the Wealsh led by Caddwgn, there was much confusion because Caddwgn and Hugh the Chesty both spoke Ynglingalish badly and had no other language in common. Hugh the Chesty was determined to take land from the Wealsh and they fought long and hard.  Hugh the Chesty called out insults to the Wealsh which confused their minds and led them to make mistakes; by this means Hugh the Chesty was able to take the town of Denbigh from the Wealsh.  When Caddwgn tried to retake Denbigh Hugh the Chesty drove them off with further insults to his lineage. Many of the Wealsh had their noses put out by Hu Hugh the Chesty and they now call him Hugh Nose Breaker.

 

The Great Flood

 

             The Host then descended upon Kelmarsh which is in North Hamptonscir.  There they intended to meet with a great force of the Ynglingalish and inflict a great defeat upon them, but as they waited their enemy a great storm came up and all about them were floods.  Many of the Host were washed away by the rising waters and it was only with great difficulty that they were rescued.  Alun of Cwmwd Ial made great efforts to rescue his fellows manfully riding his great steed Ground Wanderer through water and mud to drag people to safety, it was said of him that he is a great mud crusher and some now call him by the name Alun Mud Crusher.  The flood was so great that the dead rose from their graves and wandered about the land causing great trepidation amongst all who saw them.  There were also reports of ugly nymphs shooting arrows at people causing them to feel great emotions.

             Hugh Nose Breaker went further into Wealas and confronted Caddwgn at Amlwch.  There he had the better of the Wealsh and drove them into their fortified camp where he intended to burn them. Before Hugh Nose Breaker could carry out his plan a Viking fleet landed an army which attacked Hugh Nose Breaker’s warriors.  Now outnumbered Hugh Nose Breaker thought it best to return to Normandy.

             Hrothgar then led a force of veteran warriors into Cumbria. Among them were Svein Melrakki Haraldsson, Lief Tyrsson, Darrach ap Llywelyn and Erling Rigsson.  The younger Warriors of the force seemed to be shy of meeting the enemy and often it was Hrothgar, Darrach ap Llywelyn and Svein Melrakki Haraldsson who would have to start any fight while Leif and Erling Rigsson steadied the remainder.  Hrothgar came into the habit of grouping his oldest warriors together and they put the young ones to shame by their confident demeanour and fierce attacks upon the Cumbrians.  In one battle Hrothgar, Svein Melrakki Haraldsson and Darrach set out to attack a small party of Cumbrian scouts. Hrothgar and Svein Melrakki Haraldsson charged the scouts but Darrach, oblivious of their presence mistook the main force of Cumbrians for the scouts and attacked them single handed, the Cumbrians were much taken aback by this berserk Wealshman and cowered before him. Thorvard Sigurdsson proved himself by slaying a champion of the Cumbrians’ with swift strokes of his sword and was the bravest of the young warriors always driving the enemy back. Hrothgar’s old warriors slaughtered many Cumbrians and lay waste their land taking away much booty.

 

The Silver Horde

 

After this Hrothgar received a call for help from the people of Holy Island, they were beset by pirates and brigands and asked Hrothgar to come and free them from this menace.  Hrothgar sought out only the most experienced warriors to go with him feeling that quality was needed more than numbers. He first went to Red Orm the Aged who was preparing to sail abroad and asked him to fight by his side one more time before he left the land for ever. Next he called upon Lief Tyrsson who was tending his home stead at Dub Linn and told him to stop playing games and come for a great fight. Then off to Hrafns Dale where Od Haroldsson was arguing with young warriors, Hrothgar told him to come and show these inexperienced children what a veteran warrior could do.  It was then to the stead of Njal the Archer who was polishing his trophies and bragging of his skill to all who would listen, Hrothgar told him too to show rather than tell. They then crossed the great spine of the country to the home of Njal Siggurdsson, Njal was deep in his cups and lamenting the loss of Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice and they took him away with him. Then was the turn of Orm Longarm who was teaching children to count rocks! It was the turn of Ceolwin of Dunholm next, she was sweeping out her home and Hrothgar told her to hand her broom to her daughter and take up her spear again.  Ulf the Dauntless was found complaining that everything was not as it had been, that it was better in his day, Hrothgar told him to join the veteran band of warriors and show the young what he could do.  Erling Rigsson was the last, he was found in a monastery writing books and preying!  They dragged him out and thrust a sword in his hand, when they did so the old fire returned to his eyes and he threw aside his monk’s ways but retained the habit.

             The Silver Horde was now assembled and prepared themselves for battle, Lief Tyrsson said he had an embrocation that he suggested the Horde use to give themselves extra strength for battle but when he looked for it he discovered that Njal Siggurdsson had drunk it! They then crossed over to Holy Island, there they met the pirates and brigands and fought long and hard. Some of the Silver Horde were wounded including Hrothgar but none of their enemies were able to stand before them.  The Horde pressed forward steadily and carefully cut down their younger enemies until only they stood upon the field.  The enemy had assumed that the old were also frail; they also thought that Erling Rigsson was harmless in his monk’s habit and took no notice of him until he embedded his weapon in them. Njal the Archer shot very few arrows and the enemy thought him timid until they understood that he never missed. Njal Siggurdsson, Orm Longarm and Red Orm the Aged used their spears to seek out their foes hearts and with quick thrusts sent many reeling back. Lief Tyrsson confused many of the bandits with his left arm strokes, Ulf the Dauntless too fought left handed as he had was still recovering from a wound to his right arm, the remainder held a firm line and warded off many blows with their shields. Ulf the Dauntless fought a mad young warrior who swung about wildly with two swords, Ulf the Dauntless struck the berserk twice but such was his mad state that he was unaware of the wounds and ran off and attacked Hrothgar. Hrothgar also hit this berserk before he ran off again. Though some of their enemies ran away the Horde pursued at a walk and caught their foes as they tired or were cut off in a part of the island. Finally only a single enemy stood before them, a disreputable fellow from Wealas wearing blue trousers in an attempt to disguise himself as a Dane.  The Horde surrounded him, none spoke for they were without breath so Hrothgar strode up and set about him, it was this blue trousered Wealshman that wounded Hrothgar but he was sorely hurt himself and Ulf the Dauntless made the first blow upon him as he fell before the remainder of the Silver Horde. The local people were overjoyed at their release from oppression and greatly praised the Horde. After this the Silver Horde dispersed to their homes and searched for their own embrocation.

 

Hardy Warriors

 

Next Hrothgar called the Host to attack the people of Bol’s Town, a place high in the hills of the north.  In their fastness the people of Bol’s Town thought themselves safe from the Host and took little thought for their safety and flaunted their wealth.  When the word to gather went out a great storm came upon the land and rain fell for seven days without cease and then after a day of fair weather for another seven days.  Only the hardiest warriors answered the call of Hrothgar, many stayed by their hearths and drank warm ale.  Undaunted Hrothgar took these hardy warriors up into the hills of the north and defeated the people of Bol’s Town.  Even though wind and rain drove into their faces Hrothgar and his hardy band fought with great ferocity and took much booty from Bol’s Town, being few in number there was more for each man than was usually the case when the spoils were divided.  Here Utred of Hwicce and Thorvard Sigurdsson of Northumbria carried Hrothgar’s standard and each fought well.

 

The Great Black Slug

 

             Hrothgar led the Host to Hastingas where a great battle was fought against the Franks, the ground was very wet and soft after much rain had fallen, the warriors fought in deep mud. The Franks were unused to fighting in such conditions and the Host drove them from the land quicker than was usual.

             The strange weather of the year caused beasts and strange creatures to attack people both in the country and in their dwellings.  Susan of Lytham came with Hrothgar to Hastingas and there she was set upon by a great black slug which was so huge it was able to overpower her hound.  Hrothgar called his side man Torsten the Wend to help him defend Susan of Lytham from the creature; together they assaulted the vile beast and cut at it with their sharp swords.  At first their blows seemed to have no effect but then Hrothgar put his entire strength into one mighty blow which sent the monster away.

 

1013    The year after that Archbishop Elfeah was martyred, the king appointed Lifing to the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.  And in the same year, before the month August, came king Swein Forkbeard with his fleet to Sandwich; and very soon went about East-Anglia into the Humber-mouth, and so upward along the Trent, until he came to Gainsborough.  Then soon submitted to him earl Utred, and all the Northumbrians, and all the people of Lindsey, and afterwards the people of the Five Boroughs, and soon after all the army to the north of Watling-street; and hostages were given him from each shire.  When he understood that all the people were subject to him, then ordered he that his army should have provision and horses; and he then went southward with his main army, committing his ships and the hostages to his son Knute.  And after he came over Watling-street, they wrought the greatest mischief that any army could do. Then he went to Oxford; and the population soon submitted, and gave hostages; thence to Winchester, where they did the same.  Thence went they eastward to London; and many of the party sunk in the Thames, because they kept not to any bridge.  When he came to the city, the population would not submit; but held their ground in full fight against him, because therein was king Aethelred, and Thurkill with him. Then went king Swein Forkbeard thence to Wallingford; and so over Thames westward to Bath, where he abode with his army.  Thither came Eolderman Ethelmar, and all the western thanes with him, and all submitted to Swein Forkbeard, and gave hostages.  When he had thus settled all, then went he northward to his ships; and all the population fully received him, and considered him full king.  The population of London also after this submitted to him, and gave hostages; because they dreaded that he would undo them. Then bade Swein Forkbeard full tribute and forage for his army during the winter; and Thurkill bade the same for the army that lay at Greenwich: besides this, they plundered as oft as they would.  And when this nation could neither resist in the south nor in the north, king Aethelred abode some while with the fleet that lay in the Thames; and the lady went afterwards over sea to her brother Richard, accompanied by Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough.  The king sent Bishop Elfun with the athelings, Edward and Alfred, over sea; that he might instruct them.  Then went the king from the fleet, about midwinter, to the Isle of Wight; and there abode for the season; after which he went over sea to Richard, with whom he abode till the time when Swein Forkbeard died.  Whilst the lady was with her brother beyond sea, Elfsy, Abbot of Peterborough, who was there with her, went to the abbey called Boneval, where St. Florentine's body lay; and there found a miserable place, a miserable abbot, and miserable monks: because they had been plundered. There he bought of the abbot, and of the monks, the body of St. Florentine, all but the head, for 500 pounds; which, on his return home, he offered to Christ and St. Peter.

             Hrothgar again went to Halgerd Eiricsdotta’s sted and had council with his chief advisors.  Soon after he led a portion of the host to Jorvik where many suffered with the effects of the cold. Before Hrothgar mustered his warriors at Jorvik Erling Rigsson collapsed in great pain and had to be carried off to his bed. After this Hrothgar held a council of his Jarls and a great feast for the people of the Landskab.  Here, having drunk much, Ulfric of Hrafnslith went to relieve himself at a nearby bog where he was attacked a great white beast whose hide was hard as a glazed pot.  This monster spewed bog water upon Ulfric of Hrafnslith but he valiantly fought the monster until it lay in pieces at his feet.  Learning of his deed Hrothgar declared that he should be known as Ulfric Bog Slayer.

             Jarl Konal Ospakr Ulfrekson called the Host to the Vale of the Tawd to prepare them for the coming campaign season and here Darrach ap Llywelyn became Konungr Hrothgar’s champion.  While the warriors of the Host slept Hrothgar, Thorvard Sigurdsson and Dane Bjornsson went out at night to spy on the Ynglingalish.  Each set off in a different direction; Hrothgar found an Ynglingalish warrior camped in the forest not far from the Host and new this warrior to be spying on his warriors.  Stealthily Hrothgar slipped into his enemy’s camp and disposed of the spy.  Next day when returning to the camp of the Host Hrothgar came upon two more Ynglingalish spies and he immediately attacked and killed them.

 

Freki’s Recce

 

Hrothgar joined Jarl Freki and other warriors of the Host and went out to see the lay of the land.  They came upon a band of warriors who had taken a position across a bridge and were noisily challenging Jarl Freki’s band to attack them.  Hrothgar walked straight up to them and attacked the first enemy warrior and called on Jarl Freki’s band to cease chattering and hit their foes!  Hrothgar then stepped back and made his way along the bank of the stream and then leapt across straight into the face of one of the enemy warriors and swiftly slew him, more of Jarl Freki’s band joined him and the enemy were swiftly overcome. After this victory they continued to explore the land about them until they came upon another band of the enemy blocking their path, some of these stood upon a bridge over a swift flowing river and seemed to have the intent of falling on the flank of Jarl Freki’s band if they attacked those defending the road.  Hrothgar was wearing his mighty black boots and waded in them across the river; he came up behind the enemy and was confronted by one wearing a saucepan hat and wielding a mighty axe.  Saucepan man knocked Hrothgar’s spear from his hand but he quickly drew his sword and slew the strangely dressed warrior, he then moved up behind the enemy and slew another three of them.  As they were about to return to camp Jore Dane of Cwmwd Ial had an encounter with a bush which laid him low with a savage swipe across his face.

                          The Host then descended upon Corfe Castle where the sainted king Edmund the Martyr was martyred.  Here they took a strong place from the people of Dorsetscir and defended it against all attempts to recover it until they decided to leave.  The Ynligalish fought hard to recover their strong place and had the better of the fighting until Hrothgar ordered all those with bows to concentrate their attacks on one part of the enemy army.  The rain of arrows so overwhelmed the enemy that they were then swiftly defeated.

 

Bowled Over
 

    Next the Host divided into three parts their strength was so great, one part led by Jarl Njal Siggurdsson went to Harewood near Jorvik and there fought hard against many different enemies and greatly impressed their foes and took much silver from the Yngalish people there.  Another part went into Wealas and captured the burgh of Ruddlan and they were led by Jarl Cadwgan Ap Iorwerth.  Hrothgar went with the third part to Sarum in Wiltonscir and here they again captured a strong place of the Ynlingalish and rebuffed all attacks by them to retake the place.  Jarl Harald Ulfketilsson ordered the Host for Hrothgar here and the Manaraefan were prominent in the battle line.  Hrothgar was challenged by an Yngalish warrior to knock over one of three javelins that he had stuck into the ground and stood before no doubt trying to tempt Hrothgar into a trap.  Hrothgar accepted the challenge but avoided the trap by hurling a rock so hard that he bowled over the middle javelin, Hrothgar called out “Howzat!” and all who witnessed the act applauded including the warrior who had set the challenge.  The warriors of Hwicce were at Sarum but were struck down by watery bowels and were unable to fight for as long as the rest of the Host.

After this Hrothgar joined Jarl Shagy Shaginsson to ravage the Wirral for a while before joining Jarl Cadwgan Ap Iorwerth in North Wealas.

The Host next gathered near the marsh of Kels where they met many Yngalish lords and their liege men.  These lords had come together in a great alliance to face the Host but they were much dismayed at the strength of the Host when they came upon them.  There was a fierce battle as the Yngalish ied to drive the Host from the hill upon which they had taken their stand.  The battle was hard, some of the Yngalish rode at the Host so strong was their desire to drive thoe Host off but their horses were too timid and fled or threw their riders.  The Yngalish tried to defeat the Host with an arrow storm but nothing could dismay the Host who held their ground for as long as was required.

 

Vinland

 

Soon after this Hrothgar went with Susan of Lytham to visit that part of the Host which had settled in Vinland.  Here they found the land to be wide and green but the roads were infested with iron trolls that made travel difficult.  Hrothgar first visited Snarfi Kalafrostri who had fine lands but was reluctant to honour his Konungr unless they were more closely related.  Hrothgar and Snarfi Kalafrostri agreed that a marriage between Hrothgar’s foster son Bjorn and Snarfi’s niece Una Ragnvaldsdottir would settle the matter and so it was arranged. The wedding was held quickly but a mad man from the village called Od tried to snatch a sword from Hrothgar that had been presented as a wedding gift, Hrothgar saw him approach and with a single kick sent him reeling back to his place.

After the wedding Hrothgar set of with his loyal Vinland warriors to visit Kvarri Svart Elf but was waylaid by Snarfi Kalafrostri and his new son in law Bjorn.   They had come to some wicked agreement and planned to kill Hrothgar. Hrothgar stood in the centre of his force with Grimnir Bernardsson to one side and Sverrir Hellhound on the other.  Floki Skallasmitter and Dagaz Kolson stood close too and many more warriors beside.  After exchanging words of parley Snarfi Kalafrostri and Bjorn hid behind their men and directed them to attack from there. Hrothgar led the first attack and he and his loyal warriors smashed into the traitors and drove them back until they were hard up against a cliff, only then did they find the strength to force Hrothgars force back.  Both sides grew weary of the fight and held another parley but neither Snarfi Kalafrostri nor Bjorn would concede to Hrothgar.  The traitors tried to break Hrothgar’s force with a swine array but Hrothgar rallied his brave warriors and called on them to hold the enemy back, the swine array drove Hrothgar and his warriors back no more than two steps then they pushed their attackers back.  With their lords skulking behind them the traitors warriors broke and became disordered, Hrothgar dashed forward and made great slaughter amongst them, Grimnir Bernardsson and Sverrir Hellhound dashed after Hrothgar as they had sworn to stand by him and together they carved the heart out of Snarfi Kalafrostri’s and Bjorn’s force.

Bjorn and Snarfi Kalafrostri were dragged before Hrothgar to receive his judgement.  Hrothgar declared that Bjorn was no longer of his family and ordered that his head be struck off, Snarfi Kalafrostri he had blinded and released as a warning to others who might plan treachery.

Hrothgar then came to the lands of Jarl Snorri Skallason who had the governance of Vilnand as Hrothgars sworn man.  Here Hrothgar rewarded many of the Vinlanders for their good service and gave Snorri Skallason the title of Hertog and a fine banner for the part of the Host he led in that far off land.  Floki Skallasmitter and Kvarri Svart Elf here received their banners as Jarls of their Herreds.  After that Hrothgar dispensed justice to the people of Vinland who brought many cases before him and all said that their Konungr was fair and just. There was a thief who had been brought before Hrothgar for judgment and after he had been disposed of Ansgar Stormborn brought a boy of nine years before Hrothgar who was names Boaz.  Ansgar Stormborn reported that when the hue and cry was called to apprehend the thief it was the boy Boaz who had detained the thief long enough for warriors of more mature years to take him into custody, Boaz had shown great courage to face a man twice his size.  Ansgar Stormborn asked Hrothgar to present Boaz with a reward for his bravery, this Hrothgar did and commended his courage.

Next Hrothgar led his Vinland warriors to the lands of Kjarri the Short who Snorri Skallason had reported was late with his taxes.  Hrothgar stood before Kjarri the Short’s stead and called on him to pay his debt or face the consequences.  Kjarri the Short came out of his stead and drew up his warriors and defied Hrothgar, he said Iclanders had come and would stand by him, Hrothgar said he would take tax from the Iclanders too as they had paid none for many years.  Having been defied Hrothgar led the first attack on the Kjarri who stood in the centre of his shield array.  At first Kjarri the Short had the better of the fight and Hrothgar felt many blows on his iron coat, but then his men rallied as Dagaz Kolson took up Hrothgar’s banner and with Grimnir Bernardsson, Sverrir Hellhound, Jarl Floki Skallasmitter and Ansgar Stormborn he drove off Kjarri’s men.  Kjarri the Short then led a swine array at Hrothgar’s force but Hrothgar’s warriors had shown they knew how to hold such an attack and again did not break. Kjarri the Short had set himself at the head of his swine array and was crushed between the two forces then raised up so that his feet could not touch the ground. The fighting was fierce but when Ansgar Stormborn slew Kjarri the Short his men lost heart and fled back to Kjarri the Short’s stead, only the Icelanders stood their ground and they were all slain. Ansgar Stormborn is now known as the Jarl Slayer.

Hrothgar then returned to Snorri Skallason’s stead and again there were many iron trolls on the roads but he and Susan of Lytham made their way safely. Before leaving Vinland Hrothgar and Susan of Lytham received many fine gifts from the people there.

On returning to Ynglingaland Hrothgar led another raid on Lindesfarne and the country there about, much was taken from the people of Northumbria by the Host and here again was seen the Silver Horde though this time their numbers were less as some had succumbed to wounds or age.

 

Confusion of Gods

 

             Hrothgar, Jarl Darrach ap Llywelyn and Bjornhelm Trouser-full were approached by some people of the north and asked if they would fight with them against Norwegian raiders.  Hrothgar agreed as he did not wish to have the Norwegians taking spoils from lands he saw as his. The three of them fought hard for these people and Hrothgar slew the last of the Norwegians, having done so he called out to Odin as he was wont to do.  Darrach ap Lylywelyn tried to stop Hrothgar but too late, Hrothgar wondered why no one else was calling on the Lord of War and looked around at the blank faces of his erstwhile comrades, Darrach ap Llywelyn wispered that they were all worshipers of Christ Hrothgar cleared his throat and called upon Christ to bless their victory!

 

A Hard Fought Marriage

 

After this the Host went into Scotland and ravaged the west coast. Jarl Darrach ap Llywelyn had been saying for some time that he would take a new wife and that he had thought that Blodwyn Merch Iuean ap Iuean would make a good match. But Darrach ap Llywelyn was much with the Host and found little time to pursue a suit. Blodwyn's father Iuean of Bad Hams was not daunted by this and set out in pursuit of the host with his daughter and many other relatives, Iuean came upon the Host as they were camped near the town of Largs, here he challenged Darrach ap Llywelyn to settle the matter of marriage to Blodwyn.  There was much negotiation between Iuean of Bad Hams and Od Haroldsson who spoke for Darrach ap Llywelyn when the bride price and dowerey were decided, eventually it was settled that Darrach ap Llywelyn and Blodwyn should wed on the next day.  Soon after the parties had gone there separate ways a band if Scots attacked Iuean's family and carried off Blodwyn and her chief maid, Dehter. On hearing of the capture of his bride to be Darrach ap Llywelyncalled his friends together and set off to rescue his betrothed.  Those that accompanied Darrach were Hrothgar, Jarl Lief Tyrsson, Jarl Freki, Finn Kettilsson, pencenedl Bleddyn ap Madoch, Jarl pennaeth Cadwgan Ap Iorwerth ap Moredith, pencenedl Iago ap Eomer ap Emrys, Grimnir No Toes Liefsson, Allum ap Llywarch, Jarl Njal Siggurdsson, Jarl Goose, and David ap Rhodry.  They came upon the Scots just as it began to rain, Darrach ap Llywelyn demanded that Blodwyn and her maid be released but Ospakr, who was the leader of these Scots, refused to give up his prize. Hrothgar shouted at Darrach ap Llywelyn that there was no sense in talking and that they should rush the Scots and kill them all in revenge for the insult done to him and the Host. Darrach ap Llywelyn saw that Hrothgar was right and he led his twelve courageous friends in a charge on Ospakr's Scots. As they charged over the wet grass Darrach ap Llywelyn stumbled and fell before the foe, Hrothgar leaped over him and smashed into the villanous Scots along with the rest if Darrach ap Llywelyn's brave band. Ospakr's Scots were driven back and some were killed, but just as it looked as if the noble band would overcome the dishonourable bride thieves more of Ospakr's men arrived and attacked the rescuers from behind. Hrothgar, Lief Tyrsson and two others turned and faced the new foe and half of them were quickly killed before the others joined their companions.  Now Ospakr, seeing his men were being out fought, but himself being of a mighty frame, challenged the much shorter Darrach ap Llywelyn to single combat.  Darrach ap Llywelyn accepted the challenge and proceeded to punish Ospakr for his misjudgement! Once Ospakr understood he was going to die at the hands of Darrach ap Llywelyn he called his warriors to help him, in the fight that followed Hrothgar attacked a giant Scot who was defending the prisoners, this man succeeded in giving Hrothgar a slight wound, the only effect of this was to drive Hrothgar to such frenzy if attacks that the Scot found it impossible to defend himself and he was soon felled by Hrothgar. None of the Scots were allowed to survive the insult they had inflicted upon Darrach ap Llywelyn and the Host, all were slain and Blodwyn and her maid Dehter were brought away safely.

On returning to the Host Hrothgar conducted the ceremony of marrige for Darrach ap Llywelyn and Blodwyn Merch Iuean ap Iuean and also for Mar Sigbjornsson and Simbel Sigbjornsfrostri after which there was a great feast.  At the feast there was much merriment, dancing and good ale, Susan of Lytham showed her skill at tumbling much the the amazement of Jarl Gyrth Albrechtsson.

The Host then met and deafeated an army of Scots at Largs.  The Scots stood before the Host and demanded that they leave their land but did no more to effect that end, the Host would not leave and attacked the Scots three times and drove them away. Ormsheim, the Herred of Jarl Njal Siggurdsson, fought well here and showed that they were willing and able to fight anywhere. There were also two of the Host from Vinland whom Hertog Snorri Skallason had recommended to Hrothgar as fine upstanding warriors. They were Karr Hudersson and Bryn Tiggier of Austerled, each received a fine gift from Hrothgar.

 

The Wrong Mushrooms

 

After this Darrach ap Llywelyn and Blodwyn Merch Iuean ap Iuean set off for their home with others of the Host who were keen to see them safely settled.  They came across a man who said he was from the place if silence, they asked him what was the best rout home and he directed them to pass through a forest nearby, here all the party became lost and separated from each other, eventually they each found themselves in a mysterious grove where a strange priest blessed the union of Darrach ap Llywelyn and Blodwyn a second time. After this they were able to find their way out of the forest where they came upon Hrothgar, Bjornhelm Trouser-full and Jarl Shagy Shaginsson who had just killed a small band of Scots brigands who were preying on honest travellers.  They found a peasant near by and he told them that Darrach ap Llywelyn and his party had been passing through the Secret Forest, a place shunned by the people of that land. Hrothgar questioned Darrach ap Llywelyn as to why he had led his people into such a strange and dangerous place, Darrach ap Llywelyn's answers made no sense, it was as if his mind had been befuddled after consuming the wrong mushrooms!

 

Little Monsters

 

Hrothgar went to Potterne where he expected to meet the Manaraefan and help king John who was again beset by troubles. Hrothgar made camp and awaited the arrival of the Manaraefan, and waited and waited. He could see king John's enemies gathering and began to grow concerned that the Manaraefan had become lost and could not find their way to the appointed place. Hrothgar lit a great fire and threw green Tecst tree wood upon it so as to make much smoke in the hope the Manaraefan would see it and come to the place he was at.  The enemy were growing stronger and more confident as they realised Hrothgar was alone but just as they were about to take advantage and attack Hrothgar the Manaraefan rode up to the meeting place. Sigurd Drum the Un-horsed, Eirik Sigurdsson, Ash and Jon Sølvsmie led by Hrothgar attacked king John's enemies vigorously and drove them from the field.  Having dealt with king John's human foes it became apparent that other troubles also afflicted the little king, his lands were plagued by a swarm of little monsters who went about attacking honest folk mercilessly. Hrothgar led the Manaraefan, now joined by Torsten the Wend, Kormak the Carter and Dagfiend Scoffa, to deal with these little monsters but one among them, Hublard became separated from the rest and was set upon by a hoard of the little monsters. Hublardknew he could not face them alone and fled for his life, he was almost back with the Manaraefan and they were encouraging him to run faster when he stumbled and fell, the little monsters swarmed over him and he was seen no more! The remainder of the Manaraefan were able to rid the land of the little monsters but there was one called Feebs that was particularly vicious and jumped and down on Njal the Taller just as he joined the fight along with Mort, only with the help of Hrothgar was he able to get the creature off him and fight on.

King John provided a fine banquet for the Manaraefan to celebrate their victory over his enemies and the plague of little monsters, but here again there was trouble as Ron of the Rocket was there and had been up to his old tricks. Hrothgar and Cormac seized Ron of the Rocket and locked him in the stocks.

 

A Great Many Engelisc

 

After this Hrothgar led the Host to Wantage and there they fought a great many of the Engelisc, there were so many of the Engelisc that each of the Host had to fight two or three of them together. The Host took a strong position atop a hill and let the Engelisc come up at them, the fight was long and hard and when the Engelisc began to tire the Host pushed them down the hill and killed a great many if them. Thorgrim Leifricsson was Hrothgar's standard bearer at Wantage and fought close by his side and such was his eagerness to defend his King that he knocked Hrothgar's sword from his hand!  The day after the battle was St Jude's day and a great storm swept over the country and many houses lost their roofs.

 

Mead Brother

 

The time for fighting was at an end and as was his wont Hrothgar set out alone to spy out the land of his foes disguised as a lowly warrior. There was much rain in this season but Hrothgar was a skilled traveller and explorer, he was able to survive in the wilderness where others would be found wanting. Skilled though he was Hrothgar became disoriented in a deep and dark forest and moved in a great circle, he only realised his error when he came upon one of his own campsites a second time.  Hrothgar took the best from this as he now had a good understanding of the ground he was on and was then able to find the camp of his foe.  He came upon the camp when it was unoccupied with a cold fire; there was however much equipment there and he took away his enemy’s shield in the hope of gaining some advantage should they meet in combat.  Hrothgar then returned to his camp and as he approached he became aware that the enemy was close by.  Hrothgar stealthily approached and discovered his foe hiding behind a tree, Hrothgar struck out with his spear but his foe jumped aside just in time and called out that he had brought good mead and wished only to parley.  Hrothgar agreed to share his fire with his foe, whose name was Dane Bjornson, in exchange for some mead.  They sat by the fire and exchanged stories until the mead was gone then Bjorn returned to his camp.

    With the dawn Hrothgar quickly set out to find Dane in his camp but when he came upon it it had been abandoned.  Hrothgar then returned to his campsite in case Dane was seeking him out but Dane was not there.  Hrothgar now went to an open space where he stood and waited until Dane appeared. They fought hard and Hrothgar was wounded and forced to withdraw, before he did so he told Dane where he could find his shield and thanked him for the mead saying also that if they met again he would greet Dane Bjornson as his mead brother and there would be peace between them.

 

1014    This year King Swein Forkbeard  ended his days at Candlemas, the third day before the nones of February; and the same year Elfwy, Bishop of York, was consecrated in London, on the festival of St. Juliana. The fleet all chose Knute for king; whereupon advised all the counsellors of England, clergy and laity, that they should send after King Aethelred; saying, that no sovereign was dearer to them than their natural lord, if he would govern them better than he did before. Then sent the king hither his son Edward and Alfred, with his messengers; who had orders to greet all his people, saying that he would be their faithful lord, would better each of those things that they disliked, and that each of the things should be forgiven which had been either done or said against him; provided they all unanimously, without treachery, turned to him. Then was full friendship established, in word and in deed and in compact, on either side. And every Danish king they proclaimed an outlaw for ever from England. Then came King Aethelred home, in Lent, to his own people; and he was gladly received by them all. Meanwhile, after the death of Swein, sat Knute with his army in Gainsborough until Easter; and it was agreed between him and the people of Lindsey, that they should supply him with horses, and afterwards go out all together and plunder. But King Aethelred with his full force came to Lindsey before they were ready; and they plundered and burned, and slew all the men that they could reach. Knute, the son of Swein, went out with his fleet (so were the wretched people deluded by him), and proceeded southward until he came to Sandwich. There he landed the hostages that were given to his father, and cut off their hands and ears and their noses. Besides all these evils, the king ordered a tribute to the army that lay at Greenwich, of 21,000 pounds. This year, on the eve of St. Michael's day, came the great sea-flood, which spread wide over this land, and ran so far up as it never did before, overwhelming many towns, and an innumerable multitude of people.

While the Yngligalish and Danes struggled together Hrothgar held council with his trusted advisers, they met at Halgerdsstead and planned how they would take advantage of the confusion in the land. It was at this time that Jarl Steinkel Lennardson became one of Hrothgar’s councillors, he had previously served in such a role for Konungr Hrafn the Red Hrothgar then called the Jarls of the Host to meet and plan the year’s campaign and to listen to their advice after which there was held a great feast and many gifts given. The Host then gathered at Snottingasham where they trained and prepared for war.

 

Troll Hunt

 

While at Snottingasham Darrach ap Llywelyn wandered about the bounds of the camp and came to a nearby bog to where he planned to relieve himself and study the Tome of Minutes, before relief came to him he found troll scat. He went straight to the Host so as to raise the alarm and came upon Svein Melrakki Haraldssonwho he asked to help with a troll hunt, Svein Melrakki Haraldsson stated that it was not convenient for him to help and that Darrach ap Llywelynwas the troll slayer and should do his duty alone! Darrach then comes upon Lief Tyrsson who agrees to valiantly guard the bog far away from danger and stop anyone else from getting attacked by any trolls.

Darrach ap Llywelyn then sets off and follows the twisting paths through the bog and goes around a yew bend to in quest for the troll. After much splashing about Darrach discovered a brown bog troll, a creature of such filth and stench that only those lacking the sense of smell could stand before it.  On seeing Darrach the bog beast blasted Darrach with a huge eruption from its neathers but Darrach had no sense if smell, he drew his sword and advanced on the hideous turtle headed monster and with a mighty blow he struck the troll, the sword cut through the creature like knife through butter, the creature fell back into the bog and Darrach, flushed with success at his, cried out to the gods. Then to his horror the bog troll rose up quickly like muck sliding from a digging implement and attacked Darrach throwing huge amounts of scat at him.  Dodging the foul missiles Darrach again struck the troll which again fell back into the bog, flushed again with success Darrach cried out to his gods. Darrach was again horror struck at the sight of the creature rising up again, this time it vomited a foul stream of bile at him. Taking his sword in both hands Darrach attacked again, with a mighty blow he struck the troll and it again fell back into the bog. Flushed with success Darrach cried out to any gods who would hear him and prepared to meet another attack! This time however as the troll fell into the bog Darrach threw the Tome of Minutes at the troll, this mighty tome weighed the creature down and it was no longer able to rise.

As Jarl Darrach ap Llywelyn emerged from the bog Lief Tyrsson caught the scent of brown bog troll and fled for his life. Darrach returned to the Host to be greeted not as a hero but as an unclean creature whose stench wafted over all who came close to him they drove them from his presence until he could cleanse himself.  The sword Darrach used againts the brown bog troll is now known as Pooh Stick and though Darrch rid himself of the stink of troll Pooh Stick still holds the smell, each time Darrach draws Pooh Stick his foes breath in the scent of troll and tremble before him.

After this a part of the Host went to Clontarf in Ireland and there fought in a great battle to decide who should be king in Ireland.  At first the Host had a hard time as they were attacked by foreigners running madly about with long thin spears, some of the enemy went berserk and ran behind the Host tapping the warriors with their weapons as trying to as one would if attempting to gain the attention of a child! The Host lost five out of six fights with these people until they remembered how they used to fight the army of Bjorn Styrbjornsson, once they did they defeated the enemy in five attacks out of six.

 

Arrow Storm

 

Hrothgar went to Corfe with the Manaraefan and others of the Host.  Here he fought against the Yngligalish with his bow and caused great concern amongst them, many were slain and the Yngligalish tried hard to cut Hrothgar down, one of their chief men shouted encouragement at a young warrior to take Hrothgar down, Hrothgar changed his aim and shot this chief in his backside! Though the Ynglingalish came close to harming Hrothgar they failed, they also tried many tricks and stratagems to negate Hrothgar's skill with his bow.  Hrothgar had tricks of his own and had some warriors raise him up on a shield so that he could shoot over the heads of his own warriors and strike down the Yngligalish leaders who were skulking safe behind their own shieldwall. The Ynglingalish grew desperate to inflict harm on Hrothgar and set some of their best warriors on him but each one found Hrothgar's arrows to be sharp and true. Three warriors chased Hrothgar but he set arrow to bow as he ran and turned and shot each in turn before returning to the main battle.  The Ynglingalish archers then tried to shoot Hrothgar with a great arrow storm and many an arrow came close, the Ynglingalish were so desperate to get at Hrothgar that they persuaded a famous old retired archer to pick up his bow again. 

 

Another Troll Hunt

 

Darrach ap Llywelyn, Gunnar and Mor mab Doniert lead brave or foolish warriors to hunt the Troll King of Corfe, this creature was taking a toll on the people about Corfe and even though the people of that place opposed Hrothgar and the Host Hrothgar ordered Darrach to rid the people of this evil menace. The troll was hiding with his minions in an ancient ruin that the people feared to approach. As the brave band entered the ruins naked elves tormented them, throwing insults and missile before running off.  Strange old men set puzzles for the band so that they may find and overcome the Troll King, where these old men came from none could say, but Gunnar, who proved to be wise in the lore of Asgard, suspected they were being helped by the gods. The noble band were attacked by trollets, some were hurt and knocked senseless but Darrach thought they were more effective warriors when they didn’t think so hard! They defeated all attacks until they came upon the Troll Guard. Thanks to Gunnar’s knowledge they had learnt from one of the mysterious old men that swords would not hurt the Troll Guard, only axes and spears; that inspired two of the four spearmen to go off to fight elves confirming Darrach’s opinion as to their sense! The troll King could only be hurt by spears but despite the shortage of that weapon they eventually killed him. The Troll King started to rise again until they remembered to cut off its head.

Hrothgar then went into Wealas with a part if the Host and set about the people there taking much plunder. Here he learnt of a holy book that told of the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan, the Host had captured four monks who were on a pilgrimage to Ruddlan Abbey from Shrewsbury, they were led by a pious monk named brother Jerome. Brother Jerome had with him a copy of the Holy Book of Ruddlan and which told the tale of St Maddog and how he had slain the Troll of Ruddlan with a might spear.  Hrothgar summoned the Troll Slayer Darrach ap Llywelyn before him, Hrothgar was much exercised as since Darrach had been appointed Troll Slayer of the Host more of the beasts had been seen in the land than ever before. Hrothgar commanded brother Jerome to read from the Holy Book of Ruddlan and supported by his brother monks he did so. He told how St Maddog slew the troll and he told how great of size was the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan, once the tale was told Hrothgar ordered Darrach to find the spear that he might use it to rid the land of the foul beasts.  Darrach swiftly agreed to raise a brave band of warriors and set out on the quest Hrothgar had set him, he announced to the Host that those that were brave enough to accompany him should meet him at the gates of the Burgh of Ruddlan.  Darrach was there at the appointed time but a great dark cloud had settled on the land and huge sheets of rain fell from the sky, Darrach found that he was alone, none had come out to help him in his quest. Disconsulate at this Darrach went instead to the Burgh Tavern and drank through the night.

While the Host was camped near the Burgh of Ruddlan the Wealsh attacked them early one morning and drove a herd of cattle towards their camp hoping to sow confusion amongst them and thereby gain an advantage. Fortunately many in the camp had been kept awake by the snoring of Jarl Steinkel Lennardson and an alert sentry saw the enemy and their cattle approaching and raised the alarm. Those unable to sleep quickly rushed to the defence of the camp and drove off the enemy and their beasts.

 

The Old Man of the Forest

 

Soon after this news came from the east that Red Orm the Aged,  who had returned there, had been in a mighty battle with a Trellis Troll. This creature is like a troll of the west but with a covering of vines and other green plants.  This a Trellis Troll had stollen away the child of the Old Man of the Forest and Red Orm, being of a sentimental disposition, decided he would set out to rescue it. Armed with his spear and trusty sword Seckaterre he cut his way through the dense forest in search of troll and child.  The forests of the east are home to many strange creatures and many if them are large, there is a giant cat with black stripes along its body and a huge mouth, it can bight a man in half in one go. There is a huge walking rock creature that jets water at its enemies befor impaling them on huge horns. Red Orm managed to avoid these monsters and eventually cane upon the lair of the Trellis Troll, he set about the creature with Seckaterre and cut away much of the plant covering of the beast. The creature fought back throwing Red Orm to the ground, when he got back up Red Orm launched himself into the beast and took hold of its vine covering so that it could no longer knock him down. Red Orm struck the monster many times and such was his berserk frenzy that as he made the final blow to kill the creature he cut deeply into his own arm with Seckaterre, he let go the beast and fell away from it as it died before him. Sorely wounded but victorious Red Orm rescued the child of the Old Man of the Forrest and returned it to its home. These words if Red Orm's adventure were conveyed to the Host in a book faced with gold!

 

Why Darrach ap Llywelyn Couldn’t Keep Up

 

Hrothgar led the Host to the Marsh of Kels where they set upon an Ynglingalish army with such fierceness that the enemy stood rooted to the spot and could hardly return the blows of the Host.  Hrothgar drew the Host up atop a hill and when the Ynglingalish appeared below led the Host in many rapid charges down upon the foe.  The force of Hrothgar’s attacks was such that many of those he faced were bowled over before he thrust his spear into them as they lay prostrate upon the ground. Darrach ap Llewelyn was with the Host but had trouble keeping up with even old veterans like Hrothgar as he was suffering after struggling for a whole day with a Burger Troll. While traveling to join the Host Darrach attempted to cross a bridge but a Burger Troll had its lair there. The troll set upon Darrach, first it weakened him with its vile body odour then it hurled gobbets of flesh torn from cattle at Darrach with such force that some went into his mouth and he was forced to swallow it. Darrach drew his sword and valiantly charged the beast; the creature retaliated by squirting red and yellow bile at him. Darrach slipped in the bile and fell into a mound of bread loaves that was all that was left after a baker had attempted to cross the bridge; Darrach also swallowed some of this bread. Rising Darrach attacked the troll only to be forced back as the monster breathed out at him, the creatures breath smelt so strongly of onions that Darrach's eyes watered and he could see very little. Darrach refused to be defeated and struggled on against the beast, he swallowed much meat and bread but his sword Pooh Stick made many cuts upon the beasts hide until it was so weakened it fled back to its lair.

The Host was next seen at Lindesfarne, here they made their camp while they ranged about Northumbria wreaking much destruction and taking a great deal of booty. In battle with the Northumbrians Hrothgar called on the Silver Horde to again teach the Northumbrians to respect old warriors, here Ceolwin of Dunholm was Hrothgar's standard bearer. After the battle Hrothgar rewarded some of the Host for their loyal service. Having done that Hrothgar was approached by Prior Cynweard who told him that there sea trolls were nearby and asked Hrothgar if he could deal with them.  Hrothgar called Darrach ap Llywelyn before him and charged him with leading a band of troll hunters to free the Prior and his people of the troll menace. Right quickly Darrach obeyed and gathered brave warriors to his side, these were Lief Tyrson,  Ulf the Dauntless, Freydis Aedikollr of Ormsheim, Albert Riddam of Y'Draig, Bjorn Bjornson of Y'Draig, Sven Kovgaard of Y'Draig and Sigurd Grevlingvinr Bjornsson.

Singing Troll Seekers

 

Darrach ap Llwelyn led this brave band of warriors from the camp of the Host in quest for the feared sea trolls. They had not been traveling long when they were stopped on the road by a group of monks, these monks were very ugly and lumbering, and when they spoke they did so in a manner that showed them to be very stupid, especially for monks. It soon became apparent that the monks did not want Darrach and his followers to seek out the sea trolls and when they tried to proceed the monks attacked them. The attack was very fierce and they soon realized that these were no ordinary monks; indeed they had the taint of troll about them! The fight was hard and confused and Darach was knocked senseless to the ground before his warriors defeated the troll kin monks. One of the Monks was captured alive and Lief Tyrsson interrogated him, the monk would not speak so Lief twisted the monk’s nose until he told Lief what he wanted to know, finished with the monk Lief ordered the others to kill him. They were about to set off again when Ulf the Dauntless remembered Darrach and revived him from his swoon, though now conscious Darrach was greatly confused