Vikings for all occasions, no tale too looong
but his comrades were not aware of this as he often confused them and knowing he was the most experienced troll hunter amongst them continued to follow his advice.
The noble troll hunters proceeded on until they came to the coast; here they had to decide which way to proceed, should they turn to their left or their right. Nearby they saw an old man mending his nets and accosted him. They sought advice from the old sea dog as to what their path should be, the old fellow, as is common with his sort, decided to set them a riddle to see that they were worthy of good advice. The old man said they must turn in the direction of Tyr's hand but none in the band was wise in the lore of the gods! They discussed the riddle for some time until they decided to turn left which fortunately was the correct direction. As they left the old man watched them go and shook his head sadly fearing that they would come to a sad end.
Next they came upon a group of merpeople who sang them songs and tempted them to swim in the sea, Darrach began shouting that they were sirens and that they must sing to protect themselves from being drawn to their deaths in the sea. Ulf then sang a bawdy ballad and the others joined in, the merpeople did not like the quality of the singing and attacked the songsters. Still singing the tuneful band fought and slew all the merpeople and hurled their corpses into the sea.
Having disposed of the menace of the musical merpeople they then climbed a steep and rocky path until they were high above the waves; there the balladeers came upon a ragged old man chained to a rock. This old man spoke in broken bits of riddles and claimed he was a powerful sorcerer with a great many bits of useful magic that could help them in their quest if only they could break the chain into bits. Once they had freed the riddler he gave them a very small spear and told them that it was the best thing to break bits off trolls. When they set off to continue their search for the sea trolls the old man asked if he could come along for a bit and none said no so he followed behind.
After a long march the troll seekers came upon a gully that led down to the sea, as they made their way into the gully they were hailed by a pair of dwarfs who seemed disinclined to allow them to proceed. The singing troll seekers tried to reason with the dwarfs and then threatened them by pointing out that they outnumbered the dwarfs four to one at which point more dwarfs arrived. The dwarfs said they would give way to Darrach and his men if they would pay for safe passage, Sigurd Grevlingvinr Bjornsson offered them the mad old man as a slave but they declined. Now the mad old man intervened with bits if advice and offered the dwarfs bits of gold, this they accepted but only for the mad man’s passage. Neither side would give way and a hard fight began, some sort of magic prevented the brave band from hurting the dwarfs with their spears but axes and swords hurt them mightily. the old man continued to offer Darrach bits of advice but several of the brave party were wounded before they overcame the dwarfs.
As the troll seekers left the bodies of the dwarfs cooling they came upon an unconscious man, Freydis revived him with cool water. It turned out that this was a sailor who had been aboard a ship that was taking the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan from the Priory of Lindesfarne to a safe place away from the Host on the orders of Prior Cynweard! This might of struck Darrach and the others as odd, hadn't Cynweard asked for help from Konungr Hrothgar? But they had been traveling for done time and several of them were wounded, they thought nothing of this or much else for that matter! The sailor went on to say that his ship had been attacked and sunk by trolls. Freydis asked where his ship was, the sailor said it was sunk in the sea. Bjorn asked which way they should go, the sailor suggested that it was usual to go down to the sea so maybe they should go that way.
Having got that information the group of grave warriors abandoned the sailor where he was and set of down to the sea. As they approached the shore they met three sea trolls coming up towards them, Darrach led the charge straight at the trolls and quickly received a wound, though feint and confused he continued to encourage his warriors and shouted advice as they fought. Darrach told his warriors that only axes could hurt trolls so they threw away their spears, then Darrach said only knives would hurt trolls so they discarded their swords and axes! Soon all the brave troll seekers were struck down, they were woken some hours later by a shepherd who told them he had seen the trolls rushing off with a great spear, they had been lucky that the trolls had been in a hurry or they may all have been killed. Dejectedly they returned to the Host to lick their wounds and face the wrath of Hrothgar.
Hrothgar was too busy planning his next battle to deal with the failure of his troll hunters. He led the Host against the Northumbrians in another great battle where Hrafn Rikrsongr was his standard bearer. Rikrsongr was a skald and Sturaesman Ulfric of the Lethrals challenged him to compose a song in Hrothgar's honour.
Death of Konungr Thorgrim Sigmunsson
On the 12th day of August this year Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson passed away and was greatly missed by the Host. Soon after there was a great gathering of the Host to honour Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson at his funeral.
After this Hrothgar ordered the host to gather at Huntlees in Staffordscir and there make their camp deep in the woods so that they would have a secure place from which to raid the land there about. While making his own way there Hrothgar was beset with difficulties, shortly after leaving home his horse became lame and he was forced to return for another. On the recommencement of his journey a great storm further delayed him as well causing harm amongst the rest if the Host.
Enemies in the woods
As Hrothgar came close the the place of gathering it grew dark and he thought it prudent to approach stealthily. This was a wise decision as the enemies of the Host had sent out spies to find them, Hrothgar came upon a small camp of the enemy close by the Host, he killed one of their sentries before making off to the Host's camp. Once there he sent out Jarl Frekiand Jarl Darrach ap Llwelyn, each with a small band if warriors, to seek out more of the enemy that may be lurking in the woods. Both were successful, Jarl Freki’s band came upon the enemy as they were breaking camp and taking them by surprise quickly overcame them. Jarl Darrach ap Llwelynand his men met a group of the enemy in an open field and in a stand up fight slew them all without suffering any loss to themselves. They returned to camp and on reporting to Hrothgar he asked them what they had learned from the enemy before they killed them, there was much shuffling of feet before they both admitted they did not interrogate any prisoners!
A short while later Darrach came to Hrothgar and informed him that he had heard there were trolls nearby and requested that he be allowed to take a band of warriors to hunt down the creatures. Hrothgar said he could but that he had better be successful this time. Darrach called to his side Jarl Lief Tyrsson, Boon the Hun, Halfdan Armbreaker, Andor the Magyar, Jarl Gunnar, Jarl Steinkel Lennardsonand Knut Guthrothrsson.
Destruction of Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick
The brave troll hunters set out from the camp of the Host and after a short journey they came upon a village, they decided that they should see if the villagers knew of any trolls there about. On entering the village they were met by some well set up fellows who asked their business in Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick and who then agreed to take Darrach and his men to their headman. Darrach asked the headman about trolls but there was some confusion as the headman could not understand Darrach's speech and grew angry until he refused to talk to Darrach. Gunnar then took over the negotiations and the headman said he would send them to a volve who lived nearby and may know of such things as trolls provided he was paid. Gunnar flew into a rage and ordered the men of the village put to the sword! Boon the Hun struck the first blow by shooting down a stout fellow standing beside the headman. Swiftly the troll hunters cut down every man they could find until Darrach, who had been sulking, realised what was happening and put a stop to the killing in time to save the headman. At this an old crone came up and offered to lead the troll hunters onto the road they must take to find the volve. Darrach decided he had better lead his desperate band from the village before any more were killed and accepted the old crone's help. When they were a short distance from Buerkhallethorpehamthwaitwick they looked back and saw that the place was aflame and the women and children were fleeing into the countryside with what few pathetic possessions they were able to rescue from the flames, the headman stood on the road looking after the brave and noble band.
Turning away from the destruction they had wrought the troll hunters followed the road as indicated by the old crone until they came upon a shepherd sat upon a fallen tree. They greeted him cordially them Andor the Magyar rushed up and held a knife to the shepherds throat, Darrach quickly ordered Andor to leave the shepherd unharmed. They then questioned the man, his name was Ned, and asked if he knew the whereabouts of the volve, he said he did and that she liked flowers as a gift. After a while they persuaded Ned the shepherd to show them where the volve lived, he led them to the foot of a steep hill and pointed to an ancient oak at its summit saying that was where she was to be found. Now six of these warriors had seen a great many summers pass and grew very weary if the climb, only two, Andor the Magyar and Knut Guthrothrssonwere young men with the flush of youth still upon them. Having climbed half way up the hill they grew tired and stopped the rest, then they shouted up the hill to the volve calling her to come down, she refused and suggested they were weak and cowardly. It was decided amongst the brave band that the two youths should go up to speak with the volve while the old warriors rested and awaited their return. Then Knut Guthrothrsson said that while he was happy to climb the hill he knew little of lore and suggested that Gunnar, as the Lore Master among them, should also climb the hill, the two youths could help him if he grew tired. Spurred by the call to duty and the implied slight to his strength Gunnar accompanied the youths up the hill.
On reaching the oak tree they met the volve, she wore a red dress and her hair was twined with twigs, leaves and flowers. She greeted the three warmly and offered them drink and fruit as reward for completing the arduous climb. They talked for some time and Gunnar told the volve that they were seeking trolls that they had heard were here about. The volve agreed that there were indeed trolls in the woods to the east and that they were in the thrall of Thrym the Frost Giant and that they could be found if the hunters followed the sign if the father, mother and son. More she would not say and Gunnar had to puzzle long and hard to decipher her meaning. Before the three descended the volve gave Knut Guthrothrssona stone and told him to give it to the noisy one, by this she meant Lief who had been shouting up the hill the whole time, she said it would restore his courage.
Once Gunnar, Knut Guthrothrsson and Andor the Magyarreturned and told their story the troll hunters set of east. They followed a road in that direction until they saw a man running towards them, this man was scarred and calling for help. It seemed he was with a group of travellers who had been attacked by bandits, the troll hunters could see that the bandits blocked their rout so decided they would attack them and strode boldly forward. Except Steinkel Lennardsonthat is, he was bold enough but his years were holding him back many paces from his fellows. The rest of the troll hunters drove into the bandits they could see and quickly forced them back killing several, those that tried to flee were shot down by Boon the Hun. Just then some bandits that had been hiding leapt out to attack the brave band in the rear, it was now that Stainkel arrived and in turn attacked these bandits in their rear! Halfdan Armbreaker turned and with mighty blows chopped the arms of one of the bandits. Having dealt with the bandits they found that they had rescued four women, a young maiden called Becca Swoonworthy, her matronly guardian Alorna Tanglehair and their two maid servants Dorothy and Dotty. The young Becca Swoonworthy was in a swoon and seemed to adopt that state as soon as she got excited, she also found the older members of the troll hunting band strangely attractive, only those men who might soon leave her a widow appealed to her! The matron Alorna Tanglehair was very insistent that the rescuers should protect them and take them the safety. Not wishing to be distracted from their task and seeing that these were noble women who couldn't be killed or abandoned without consequence they decided to take the women along with them on their quest.
Mad Dog Friar John
They had not travelled much further before they came upon a friar, as soon as the friar saw them he barked and rushed up to them and threw a stick to the ground at their feet, "Throw stick, throw stick" he said. The band were confused but Lief picked up the stick and threw it, the friar ran after the stick and retrieved it, he threw it at their feet again. Gunnar shouted at the friar who then calmed down, he told them he was Friar John of the order of St Maddog and that he had been lost in the woods for a long time. Every now and again they had to throw the friars stick for him to fetch or he would not answer their questions. Then the friar saw the matron Alorna Tanglehair, he rushed up to her and like a dog mounted her leg! The matron screamed and the maiden Becca Swoonworthy swooned, the maids, Dorothy and Dotty, tried to slap the friar but only the command "Down boy!" would get Friar John to desist. With more stick throwing, attempted leg mounting and dog like micturition they eventually learnt that Friar John could smell out the location of the trolls, so they added the friar to their band and continued their journey.
As they continued their journey Stenkel again fell behind, he was heard saying to himself that if he was running things there would be someone in hiding in the woods to attack them from behind so that's why he hung back! As a consequence of this he was the first to be trampled underfoot by the hoard of dwarfs that burst out of hiding from behind them. There were a great many dwarfs and they just ran over the troll hunters striking them as they did. Every one of the troll hunters was knocked senseless but the dwarfs did not harm the women or the friar who now tended their wounds, all except the maiden Becca Swoonworthy that is, she had swooned away again. Dazed and battered they continued their search.
After a long while they came upon a tree that had fallen across the road, as they went round it they were stopped by a strange creature dressed in rags that seemed half man and half woman and was incredibly ugly, as soon as the maiden Becca Swoonworthy saw it she swooned away. Sometimes this creature spoke with a man's voice, at other times a woman's voice. The man seemed angry that the troll hunters were there and ordered them away, the woman spoke as if she were held captive and begged to be freed, man and woman argued and fought with one another as well as begging or berating the troll hunters. The woman said her beauty slept within the man and again begged to be free, Lief said he thought that a kiss would free the woman but refused to kiss the creature as it was hideous with bits of flesh falling from it. Then Darrach boldly took up the challenge and kissed the creature on the lips as it was speaking with its woman's voice, it collapsed to the ground and told them to follow the signs of the father, mother and son and with the last of its strength pointed to the first sign. Here Friar John tried to leave the troll hunters but not before offering to reward them, Darrach said the only reward he required was for the Friar John to look after the women!
The Holy Spear of Ruddlan Found
The doughty band of troll hunters followed the signs and came upon the spawn of trolls known as trollets, these are vicious creatures and can be dangerous but are much easier to kill than full grown trolls. The hunters set too and began felling the monsters with savage thrusts of their spears until all but one was dead. The women followed behind with just the Friar John for protection and each time they came across the body of a trollet the maiden Becca Swoonworthy swooned. Gunnar and Halfdan Armbreaker were in the thick of the fight and alone killed most of the trollets. The last of the troll spawn fled before the slayers and they made haste to pursue it, quickly the creature left behind the old slayers, only Andor the Magyarand Knut Guthrothrsson could keep up, they were able to report to the others that the trollet had run to its sire and dam and that there was a third large troll with them. While pursuing the trollet Lief Tyrsson fell into a ditch and had to be helped out. As soon as all the troll hunters were assembled at the troll lair they attacked, the fight was hard as the trolls were as big as large men but very fast and nimble, they could only be hurt by spears driven hard into them. Leif and Steinkel Lennardson were wounded in the fight but the troll hunters were successful. When they searched the lair they discovered that the trolls had both parts of the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan and had joined them together, there were signs of frost damage to the plants around the spear but this did not interest them much as they were overjoyed to have recovered the holy relic. Friar John praised the Lord for their success.
They then returned to the camp of the Host, the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan was such a mighty weapon that two of them had to carry it between them. On reaching the camp they found that it was almost empty, Hrothgar told them that there was a mighty wind brewing in the east and it was bringing a cold rain. A volve had come to the camp to warn the Host that the troll slayers had not killed what she called Frost Trolls in time, they had performed some magic taught them by Thrym and now a great storm was to descend on the woods of Huntlees. Hrothgar stayed to make sure all the Host got away safely until only he and Darrach remained, as Troll Slayer to Konungr Hrothgar Darrach said he would stay and see if any trolls came with the storm while Hrothgar set off after the Host. Darrach remaind at his post for many hours until a Storm Troll came with a great wind and rain. Darrach was protected by the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan but all about him the Storm Troll wreacked havoc.
Hrothgar got away from Huntlees before the worst of the storm arrived and set off north, after many hours travelling he stopped for rest and refreshment. As he prepared his food from between a double archway of an ancient ruin came two creatures, they appeared to be boxes with arms, legs and a head. Hrothgar had never seen the like before and not knowing what to expect he prepared himself for a fight, shield held tight in his left hand and spear firmly in his right. As they came closer Hrothgar decided they were some breed of troll, perhaps brought by the magical storm, and as soon as he could he thrust at the nearest one with his spear, his spear became stuck as the troll had encased its body in a stout wooden box. Leaving his spear in the boxed troll Hrothgar rushed to his horse to take up his axe, he just made it before the terrified beast fled. Hrothgar now set to dancing about the trolls so that he only faced one at a time and hacked away at the boxes until both trolls were unarmoured, even so their hides were tough enough to deflect his now blunt axe. Hrothgar retrieved his spear and with that was able to slay these box trolls.
After this Hrothgar and the Host went to Wantage where they did great harm to the Ynglingalish there and then held a thing before going on to Hastingas. At that place a great many of their rivals had gathered to oppose the Host but even together they could not match the strength of the Host and were defeated again.
1015 This year was the great council at Oxford; where Alderman Edric betrayed Sigferth and Morcar, the eldest thanes belonging to the Seven Towns. He allured them into his bower, where they were shamefully slain. Then the king took all their possessions, and ordered the widow of Sigferth to be secured, and brought within Malmsbury. After a little interval, Edmund Etheling went and seized her, against the king's will, and had her to wife. Then, before the Nativity of St. Mary, went the etheling west-north into the Five Towns, and soon plundered all the property of Sigferth and Morcar; and all the people submitted to him. At the same time came King Knute to Sandwich, and went soon all about Kent into Wessex, until he came to the mouth of the Frome; and then plundered in Dorset, and in Wiltshire, and in Somerset. King Aethelred, meanwhile, lay sick at Corsham; and Alderman Edric collected an army there, and Edmund the etheling in the north. When they came together, the alderman designed to betray Edmund the etheling, but he could not; whereupon they separated without an engagement, and sheered off from their enemies. Alderman Edric then seduced forty ships from the king, and submitted to Knute. The West-Saxons also submitted, and gave hostages, and horsed the army. And he continued there until midwinter.
Hrothgar held council at Halgerdsstead at the new year to make plans for the coming year, it was arranged that he and others of his council should meet with Queen Emily and her councillors to discuss the state of the armies then in Ynglingaland, there was much discord amongst the armies and many warriors were slipping away, only the Host was holding its strength. Hrothgar and his councillors met with Queen Emily at the place of Rest and expected hard negotiations but Queen Emily was quick to appoint Hrothgar and the Host to take charge of the defence of her lands and to rebuild her armies.
Hrothgar then called the leaders of the Host together at Bromham and they planned the work they had to do for the coming year, afterwards Hrothgar gave gifts to many at a great feast. Here Hrothgar and his Handleggr Torsten the Wend struggled with a troubling Generating Troll that was preventing Susan of Lytham from preparing herself for the feast. The creature had attacked the camp of the Host just as Susan was getting her hair in place and caused her great distress, hearing her cries for help Hrothgar charged the beast and took hold of it’s tail to drag it away from Susan. Torsten, seeing his Konungr struggling with the beast rushed to his aid. This bright red monster sprayed Hrothgar and Torsten with an oily bile that made holding their weapons difficult, they were unable to kill the beast but after a hard fight they did drive it back to its lair.
The Ealdorman’s Daughter
Hrothgar again gathered the Host at Huntlees in Staffordscir, this time to prepare them for the year to come. The Jarls Konal Ospakr Ulfrekson and Freki trained the Host and drilled them in their battle skills while Hrothgar took Jarl Brodir Ulfreksson to scout the land about their camp. In the night they found that a local ealdorman, his daughter and their servant were also camped in the woods and mad designs to capture them in the morning. Brodir had come upon them first but was heard as he approached and the ealdorman challenged him so Brodir retired. Hrothgar tried to spy out the ealdorman’s camp from another direction and was on the point of giving up when he saw a ghostly apparition; it soon became clear that the apparition was the servant who wore a white coat. When Hrothgar awoke in the morning he was surprised to see that he was alone, Brodir had found it difficult to sleep and had gone for a walk, he returned just as Hrothgar was about to go in search of him. Together they set off for the ealdorman’s camp. As Hrothgar and Brodir approached the ealdorman’s camp the servant, spying them, took up his arms. Straight way Hrothgar charged with his spear levelled at the servant’s chest but it was deflected by his foes shield. Then Brodir caught up with Hrothgar and set to with the ealdorman, the fight was sharp and there was much dodging about around trees but soon the ealdorman and his servant were dead. Hrothgar then took hold of the eadlorman’s daughter to take her back to the camp of the Host. Once there he offered the girl for sale and Jarl Gunnar Thorgiersson paid twenty pound of silver for her.
At the camp Hrothgar spent a great deal of his time teaching the youths of the Host the arts of shooting with a sling.
The Host then went to Corfe in Dorseatscir where they laid siege to a strong burh of the Ynlingalish. A great storm blew up and three ships of the Lethrals were blown far out to sea with their crews, Sturaesman Ulfric Haugabrjotr was left on the beach with only a handful of his warriors, he had hoped to impress Konungr Hrothgar with the skill of his warriors but the gods had intervened to prevent this. The storm also blew down some tents and one of the Manaraefan tents was burned. Despite this setback the rest of the Host continued the siege and took a great deal of plunder from the people of Dorseatscir.
The Host then ranged widely about the lands of the Yngligalish, Hrothgar went with Jarls Konal Ospakr Ulfrekson, Goose, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, and a good many warriors and took the Abbey of Whitby. Jarls Freki and Hedde of Mercia seized Old Sarum while Jarl Thurstan held on to Corfe. Jarl Svein Melrakki Haraldssontook possession of Bamborough. There was no place in the land of the Ynglingalish that was safe from the Host. While at Whitby Hrothgar took up his bow and did such great damage with it to the people of Northumbria that he was named by them Legolas.
Hrothgar next led the Host to Godmanchester in Lincoln Scir, this land had been much neglected by the Host and there were rich lands to be taken. Here SaemarrÞórsgoði, and his faithful hearth warrior Wulf came amongst the Host and approached Konungr Hrothgar. Saemarr had been away from the host and had found it hard to return, many obstacles had been put in his path and he had been advised poorly by men for ill counsel is often given by mortal men to each other. He feared that he would not be welcome but he was greeted as a lost friend returned from the dead and restored to his high position in the Host. Saemarr presented to Hrothgar his standard for which he no longer had any use, this was graciously accepted and set aside as a relic of the Host. In turn Hrothgar presented Saemarrwith a fine gift of silver as a mark of his restored standing within the Host.
There was much fighting with the people of Lincoln Scir, they fought well and hard but they were unable to overcome the Host. One brave warrior attacked the Host single handed despite his friends cries for him to return, the Host could see he was a brave man and tried to drive him off with only light wounds but he would not be swayed from his path to fame and reluctantly they cut him down. In recognition of his bravery Gyrth Albrechtsson called on the men of Lincoln Scir to take up his body and return it to his family.
Then the Host again went into Wealas where they again took possession of Ruddlan where they fought against the local lord, Gruffydd was his name. Darrach ap Llwelyn organised the Host for the raid into Wealas but after he called the Host to gather at one place he changed his mind and sent orders to gather at another place, then he changed his mind again and called the Host back to the first place, this caused confusion and Hrothgar took pains to explain to Darrach the importance of decisiveness! Once the Host had gathered they set to against Gruffydd and his warriors. At first the Wealsh fought hard for their lord but when the fight went badly for them they killed Gruffydd and asked for mercy, disgusted at their disloyalty the Host slew all they could catch.
Darrach ap Llwelynand Jarl Brodir Ulfrekssoneach led patrols to search for the enemy near Huntlees in Staffordscir. Brodir's patrol consisted of Uber Thorgrimsson, Thorstein, Styrmir and Svein Skovgaard and they set up a night camp and soon after found the enemy in the woods nearby, they tried to attack the enemy but their camp was strongly fortified and they had used thorn bushes and brambles as part of that defense, some of the thorns were so hard that it seemed they were made of iron. Brodir's men could not get near without the sharp thorns sticking in them. They tried many ruses to draw the enemy out of their camp but to no avail.
Meanwhile Darrach's patrol which consisted of Goose, Rhys ap Goose, Jarls Konal Ospakr Ulfreksonand Andor the Magyar, had set up a night camp and found a different camp of the enemy. This camp was set up on ground covered in gravel and Darrach's warriors could make no approach without the enemy hearing them, unable to surprise the enemy Darrach's men returned to their own camp.
Hrothgar arrived late and immediately set out to find both patrols. First he had to slip by a large camp of the enemy, this was not hard as they were sat about their campfires drinking and singing. After much wandering about in the dark he came upon Brodir's camp and found that they were alert and well setup, Brodir told Hrothgar of their trouble with the enemy and suggested where he might find Darrach. Hrothgar then set off in search of Darrach's camp. This he found quickly enough and he learnt from Darrach what strength the enemy had. Hrothgar could see that Darrach's patrol was not as strong as Brodir's and said that he would return at first light and help Darrach attack the enemy.
At first light Hrothgar approached Darrach's camp and was challenged by the sentry. As soon as Hrothgar entered the camp the Warriors were roused and prepared to attack the enemy. Hrothgar accompanied them and when they came upon the enemy all but their sentries were still a bed, Hrothgar and Konal attacked immediately. There was a berm in front of the enemy’s camp and Hrothgar raced up and over this before the enemy could defend it as they planned. Hrothgar and Konal drove hard and fast into the enemy and many were slain just as they picked up their weapons. Ander the Magyar next burst into the enemy camp from another direction and surprised and killed many more. Darrach, Goose and Rhys then appeared in the camp but the fight was over as all the enemy had been slain! Darrach said that he had not made haste as he expected there to be enough of the enemy for them all to have a fight!
Troll Spear Stolen
On returning to the main camp of the Host Hrothgar was greeted by a mad Wealshman who told him that while Darrach ap Llwelynhad been on patrol the Holy Troll Spear of Ruddlan had been stolen and that the land nearby had fallen under a curse. Darrach immediately went to see if the Troll Spear was safe but returned with the grave news that it was indeed missing! Hrothgar took Freki, Finn Ketilsson, Joalf Red-beard and Froken on a quest to find the spear.
As soon as they entered the cursed land they were treated by the sight of warriors standing about as if not knowing what they should do. As soon as these warriors saw Hrothgar and his band they attacked, Hrothgar's small band killed many but they were forced back. Hrothgar spied a small bridge over a nearby river and led his band to this bridge as it was easier to defend. While they did so a witch appeared and by some spell caused the attacking warriors to cease their attacks upon Hrothgar's brave band. The witch identified herself as Seithkuna and informed Hrothgar that the land he was in needed a king to break it’s curse, Hrothgar immediately identified himself as Kounugr of the Host but this had no effect on the warriors who seemed to be under a spell. The Witch then told Hrothgar that a wizard had stolen the Troll Spear and laid this land under a curse, to lift this curse he must seek out the queen of the fairies and that she would guide them. Seithkuna then cast a spell over Hrothgar and his warriors so the cursed could no longer see them.
They followed Seithkuna up a steep path, as they climbed they past a dwarf, this dwarf seemed a jolly fellow but had little to say that made sense so they moved on though Finn Ketilsson lingered a while with the dwarf. They came out onto a wide plateau that was infested with bandits and small elves and the courageous band fought of many attacks, Hrothgar, Joalf Red-beard and Froken were wounded but not seriously. After a long and dangerous journey they came to a fairy glade, tiny fairies in flowery clothes danced about the Fairy Queen and made a great nuisance of themselves throwing flowers at the tired warriors, Finn Ketilsson joined in the dance with the elves.
The Fairy Queen
Hothgar and his warriors had to kneel before the Fairy Queen but she agreed to help them if they would fetch the tears of a dwarf so that she could make a potion to enchant her true love the Elf Lord. Knowing where they might find a dwarf Hrothgar agreed to take up the queen’s quest. On returning to the dwarf they tried much to make him cry but he was such a happy fellow that his tears would not flow. Seithkuna thought she knew what would upset the dwarf and suggested to Hrothgar that he eat the dwarf’s pie but this had no effect upon him. The happy dwarf talked much of the magic of his sand so Hrothgar snatched the dwarfs axe and struck the sand! The dwarf burst into tears and Seithkuna caught his tears in Hrothgar’s water bottle. Before they left the dwarf he gave Hrothgar a charm that would protect him from elf shot.
Hrothgar led his warriors back to Fairy Queen and she made a potion with the dwarf tears, this she handed to Hrothgar and instructed him to seek out the Elf Lord and get him to drink the potion. If Hrothgar succeeded she would reward him by helping him to overturn the curse upon the land. They set out to seek the Elf Lord and to their great surprise came upon him most quickly. The Elf Lord stood upon a hill and commanded the elves there about to obey his commands, his every word was ignored by all who heard it, small elves ran about shooting elf shot at the Elf Lord and anyone else they could see. While his warriors protected themselves from the tiny terrors Hrothgar and the Elf Lord conversed. Hrothgar informed the Elf Lord that the Fairy Queen had sent him a gift, a fine horn and a potion that would help him regain control of the elves! After a particularly heavy barrage of elf shot the Elf Lord agreed to drink the potion, as soon as he did so he set off towards the Fairy Queen’s glade.
Hrothgar and his band returned to the glade with the Elf Lord and there they were rewarded by the gift of a magic sword called Getheforthawa, this weapon was so light that it could be wielded with two fingers, it had a strange feel and did not seem to be made of steel at all. With this weapon Hrothgar and his band returned to the cursed land where they found that the remaining warriors were so exhausted with fighting that they lay about either dead or unable to move, the few that could stand on seeing the sword Getheforthawa joined Hrothgar. Now they became aware that there was a strange creature hurling curses at all it could see, now that all present could see this creature they turned on it but it quickly disappeared, the curse had been broken but the Troll Spear was not yet found.
The Host then descended upon the people of Suthsexena who had made a poor bargain with the Franks. The people of Surhsexena had expected that the Franks would drive off the Host but the Franks became greatly afraid when they saw the Host and many slipped away before battle was joined. The Host easily and quickly overcame the Franks and then took much booty from the people of Suthsexena.
Shortly after the Host settled down for the winter Jarl Stybvik and Eric of Twynham passed on to the next life. Jarl Stybvik had been a valued leader in the Host for many years and Eric of Twynham had stood beside Hrothgar in many battles. Just after Christmas Bjorn Styrbjornsson also passed from this life and though he was no longer a part of the host Hrothgar attended his funeral in honour of his good service in his youth.
1016 Hrothgar held council with the Jarls and Sturaesman of the Host before they gathered all together at place in Mercia to ready themselves for the coming year’s battles. They made plans and readied the younger warriors in preparation for their first time in the shieldwall. The older warriors honed their skills and made their gear ready for war. All was well until a Storm Troll blew up a great storm against the Host, Hrothgar called Darrach ap Llywelyn to drive off the troll with the Holy Spear of Ruddlan. But Darrach had not the spear with him and Hrothgar berated him soundly. Much of the Host was able to take shelter in a great hall and its surrounding estate but much damage was done to the camp.
This year came King Knute with a marine force of one hundred and sixty ships, and Ealdorman Edric with him, over the Thames into Mercia at Cricklade; whence they proceeded to Warwickshire, during the middle of the winter, and plundered therein, and burned, and slew all they met. Then began Edmund the etheling to gather an army, which, when it was collected, could avail him nothing, unless the king were there and they had the assistance of the citizens of London. The expedition therefore was frustrated, and each man betook himself home.
The Host then again went to Corfe in Dorseatscir where they fought a great battle and overcame all those that came against them. The curse of the Yngligalish was on all who fought for Edmund against any foe wether they be of the Host or with King Knute. Hrothgar demonstrated his skill throwing rocks and caused great discomfort to the enemy as they approached the ranks of the Host.
After this an army of the Yngligalishwas again ordered, under full penalties, that every person, however distant, should go forth; and they sent to the king in London, and besought him to come to meet the army with the aid that he could collect. When they were all assembled, it succeeded nothing better than it often did before; and, when it was told the king, that those persons would betray him who ought to assist him, then forsook he the army, and returned again to London. Then rode Edmund the etheling to Earl Utred in Northumbria; and every man supposed that they would collect an army against King Knute; but they went into Stafforddhire, and to Shrewsbury, and to Chester; and they plundered on their parts, and Knute on his. He went out through Buckinghamshire to Bedfordshire; thence to Huntingdonshire, and so into Northamptonshire along the fens to Stamford. Thence into Lincolnshire. Thence to Nottinghamshire; and so into Northumbria toward York. When Utred understood this, he ceased from plundering, and hastened northward, and submitted for need, and all the Northumbrians with him; but, though he gave hostages, he was nevertheless slain by the advice of Ealdorman Edric, and Thurkytel, the son of Nafan, with him.
After this, King Knute appointed Eric earl over Northumbria, as Utred was; and then went southward another way, all by west, till the whole army came, before Easter, to the ships. Meantime Edmund Etheling went to London to his father: and after Easter went King Knute with all his ships toward London; but it happened that King Aethelred died ere the ships came. He ended his days on St. George's day; having held his kingdom in much tribulation and difficulty as long as his life continued. After his decease, all the peers that were in London, and the citizens, chose Edmund king; who bravely defended his kingdom while his time was. Then came the ships to Greenwich, about the gang-days, and within a short interval went to London; where they sunk a deep ditch on the south side, and dragged their ships to the west side of the bridge. Afterwards they trenched the city without, so that no man could go in or out, and often fought against it: but the citizens bravely withstood them. King Edmund had ere this gone out, and invaded the West-Saxons, who all submitted to him; and soon afterward he fought with the enemy at Pen near Gillingham.
A second battle he fought, after midsummer, at Sherston; where much slaughter was made on either side, and the leaders themselves came together in the fight. Ealdorman Edric and Aylmer the darling were assisting the army against King Edmund and the Host fought with them against him. The Host came away from Sherston with much booty and valuable prisoners, they had fared much better in the battle than the forces of Ealdorman Edric and Aylmer. Then collected King Edmund his force the third time, and went to London, all by north of the Thames, and so out through Clayhanger, and relieved the citizens, driving the enemy to their ships. It was within two nights after that the king went over at Brentford; where he fought with the enemy, and put them to flight, the Host was not among them as they were raveging in Wiltonscir in the valley of the Chalk: but there many of the English were drowned, from their own carelessness; who went before the main army with a design to plunder. After this the king went into Wessex, and collected his army; but the enemy soon returned to London, and beset the city without, and fought strongly against it both by water and land. But the almighty God delivered them. The enemy went afterward from London with their ships into the Orwell; where they went up and proceeded into Mercia, slaying and burning whatsoever they overtook, as their custom is; and, having provided themselves with meat, they drove their ships and their herds into the Medway.
Hrothgar returned home and was greated by Susan of Lytham with the news that their home had been invaded by a great green beast, Hrothgar searched for the creature and on finding it drove it out.
After this Hrothgar led the Host to Godmanchester in Lincoln Scir for a second time. The Yngligalish were reluctant to fight and the Host greatly outnumbered their enemy. There was still much to be had here and again the Host came away laden down with booty. Many of the foe fought with weak and thin spears, they were overcome by the heavier and stronger spears of the Host.
Then assembled King Edmund the fourth time all the English nation, and forded over the Thames at Brentford; whence he proceeded into Kent. The enemy fled before him with their horses into the Isle of Shepey; and the king slew as many of them as he could overtake. Ealdorman Edric then went to meet the king at Aylesford; than which no measure could be more ill-advised. The enemy, meanwhile, returned into Essex, and advanced into Mercia, destroying all that he overtook. When the king understood that the army was up, then collected he the fifth time all the English nation, and went behind them, and overtook them in Essex, on the down called Assingdon; where they fiercely came together. Then did Ealdorman Edric as he often did before -- he first began the flight with the Maisevethians, and so betrayed his natural lord and all the people of England. There had Knute the victory, though all England fought against him! There was then slain Bishop Ednoth, and Abbot Wulsy, and Ealdorman Elfric, and Ealdorman Godwin of Lindsey, and Ulfkytel of East-Anglia, and Ethelward, the son of Ealdorman Ethelsy. And all the nobility of the English nation was there undone!
The Host went next into Northumbria and at the crossing of the Ouse known as Stam Ford they there met a Norwegian army. This army was out to take advantage of the turmoil in Ynglingaland and deny the Host its support. Hrothgar led the Host against the Norwegians and while the younger version warriors smashed into the enemy Hrothgar hurled rocks at them. Hrothgar struck Kenthor Dallsson the leader of the Norwegians with a rock which stunned him, he was then cut down by one of the Host. Very few of the Norwegians survived to get back to their ships.
Soon after this word was had that another enemy had landed in the south and the Host marched to meet them. On their way they were joined by the Vinlanders Njal Thorsteinson, Pall Steinfinson, Halla Ragnarsdotta, Drifina, Ida Gariukdotta, Angar Skeggison and Nathanr Bealason. Hrothgar was greatly pleased to see them and sat down to table with them calling for strong ale and good food, he was surprised that Angar would only drink spiced wine and shocked when Njal ordered mushrooms to eat! This led to much good natured banter and no opportunity was afterwards missed to prick Njal about his diet! Njal and Pall were great warriors and were welcomed into Hrothgar's hearth troop.
When they met the enemy in battle Hrothgar again displayed his skill with the sling and was greatly encouraged by his warriors who pointed out enemy warriors they wanted him to hit. One of the enemy leaders spent much time dodging Hrothgar's rocks much to the amusement of the Host. The enemy had a great many horses and Njal Thorsteinson leaped on one to attack them, Hrothgar called out that he had better be carful but Njal assured him of his skill, Njal then fell off the horse! Hrothgar said this was because he had eaten mushrooms the night before the battle and no man could fight well after such paltry fare. Many of the warriors fighting with the Host had joined them from over the sea and were greatly interested in Hrothgar's use of the sling, he and Taran spent some time teaching them the ways of the sling.
After this fight went King Knute up with his army into Glocestershire, where he heard say that King Edmund was. Then advised Ealdorman Edric, and the counsellors that were there assembled, that the kings should make peace with each other, and produce hostages. Then both the kings met together at Olney, south of Deerhurst, and became allies and sworn brothers. There they confirmed their friendship both with pledges and with oaths, and settled the pay of the army. With this covenant they parted: King Edmund took to Wessex, and Knute to Mercia and the northern district. The army then went to their ships with the things they had taken; and the people of London made peace with them, and purchased their security, whereupon they brought their ships to London, and provided themselves winter-quarters therein. On the feast of St. Andrew died King Edmund; and he is buried with his grandfather Edgar at Gastonbury. In the same year died Wulfgar, Abbot of Abingdon; and Ethelsy took to the abbacy.
1017 This year King Knute took to the whole government of England, and divided it into four parts: Wessex for himself, East-Anglia for Thurkyll, Mercia for Edric, Northumbria for Eric. This year also was Alderman Edric slain at London, and Norman, son of Alderman Leofwin, and Thelward, son of Ethelmar the Great, and Britric, son of Elfege of Devonshire. King Knute also banished Edwy etheling, whom he afterwards ordered to be slain, and Edwy, king of the churls; and before the calends of August the king gave an order to fetch him the widow of the other king, Ethelred, the daughter of Richard, to wife.
Hrothgar met with his council and afterwards travelled about the country educating those who would serve the host in the future. At Chippenham he fell into a hole that had been set as a trap and had great difficulty getting out until Aamann came along and used a great lever to get Hrothgar out of the hole.
At the holy place of the blessed St Anne Hrothgar held council with his Jarls and Styraesmen, here there was a disagreement between two of the Hosts ship captains and Hrothgar spent much time adjudicating between them. Aftarwards was held a great feast at which many gifts were given to those that deserved them. A creature known as a Trex disturbed the peace of the feast but the troll slayer Darrach ap Llewelyn took control of it and Hrothgar rode upon the beast to the amusement of those present.
The Host then went into Mercia where they camped in and about a wood that belonged to the Bishop of Worcester and prepared themselves for the coming campaign season. There were a great many warriors here and many of them were new to the Host. Snorri Sigurdsson, Hertog of Vinland was there and helped Hrothgar, Hedde, Maiken and Taran train those that would shoot at their enemies. There were also a great many children of the Host here and they too were trained as warriors and hunters.
Death of Hrafn the Red
Next the Host went to Corfe Castle where they fought three great battles, here the fighting was hard and close, so much so that when a warrior asked for the use of Hrothgar's knife he handed it over without a thought, only afterwards did he realise he had given it to one of the enemy! At night there was a great deal of tuneless wailing by some and a magician or wisard caused a great bang which did fright many of the beasts in the Hosts' camp. After the battles Hrothgar took two very fine tunics as his portion of the booty. It was while at Corfe Castle that Hrothgar received a message that the greatly respected former Konungr Hrafn the Red had died, once the fighting had ended Hrothgar told the Host of their loss and all then showed their respect for their fallen comrade. As the Host starts to leave Corfe Castle Od Haroldsson, Jarl of Hrafnsdale, came upon a large brown bog troll. Od took up a large branch and beat the troll back down into the bog, it was a mighty struggle but Od’s many years as a warrior stood him in good stead.
Hrothgar and the Host next went to Rhuddlan where they helped the Wealsh to defend their fortress from the Ynlingalish. Hrothgar built an engine to hurl stones at any who attacked the fortress. In battle in front of the fortress a part of the Host was knocked over by a well-timed charge by heavily armed Ynglingalish warriors, Hrothgar hurled many rocks at them while Halldor Egilson shot arrows as fast as he could; together they stopped the Ynglingalish from breaking through the line and destroying the Host. The Ynglingalish stood before the fortress at Rhuddlan for many days and at the end there were a great many brown bog trolls tormenting both armies. An evil sect called Cadwr had set the trolls onto both armies to further their own mysterious ends.
For much of this year and the year before there had been a great disagreement between crews of the Hosts ships and they caould not come to any agreement as to who was to take precedence. Hrothgar set above them all Jarl Steinkel Lennardson in the hope that they would accept his leadership.
In the Land of the Nec
Hrothgar then went with Darrach ap Llewelyn and Ardenwyrd to raid the land of the Nec, here there were many strange creatures, elves and trolls and things too strange to describe. Hrothgar and Darrach led the warriors of Ardenwyrd against many of these creatures, especially the elves who attacked in numbers so great it was almost impossible to count them. Amongst the low life beings there was a band of Yoots, these were hideous monsters clad in black vestments that jabbered in their own strange tongue. The Yoots made a surprise attack on Ardenwyrd's camp and quickly took hold of the weapons they found there. Swiftly Darrach recovered the weapons and then thrust Hrothgar into their path, Hrothgar valiantly held them at bay with an axe but one of the Yoots snatched it away from him. Guthrum of Ardenwyrd then charged into the fray, he recovered the axe and then had to face the deadly stare of the Yoot, it is said that the stare of a Yoot could turn a man’s heart to stone but Guthrum's heart was strong and the Yoot cowered away from him.
Thorgier was there also and had many valuable things with him that he traded to the warriors one of whom bought five helmets from him. The camp of the warriors of the Host in the land of the Nec was set up next to a lake, Darrach had thought this convenient for water and safe from attack on that side. Soon after the camp was set up a wise man warned Darrach that under no circumstance were they to touch the water, it was both cursed and poisonous to drink! In the water there were great crabs that could drag a man to his doom, great screeching birds swam and flew over the water and would defecate a corrosive slurry on men and animals. Deep in the depths of the lake lurked a cousin to the feared Grendel.
On the second day in the land of the Nec a band of Mercians attacked the Host, they were led by Aethelclegg and his chief henchman Alicsread. Hrothgar quickly killed Alicsread with two sling stones to his chest then broke the shoulder, arm and foot of Aethelclegg. Hrothgar struck many of the Mercian warriors with his stones and greatly impressed them with his skill. Torsten the Wend was there but unable to fight as he had injured his should falling from his horse, he complimented Hrothgar on his skill and said he would train his warriors better to protect themselves from an enemy doing the same.
Hrothgar came upon a form of troll called Hurrakay, they were hideous creatures and had captured a group of elves and dwarfs. The Hurrakay had given each of their prisoners a pole and were forcing them to destroy vegetables! Hrothgar deemed it best to leave them alone. Darrach came upon a band of these elves and dwarfs with one of the Hurrakay and with Ardenwyrd, and warriors from Cwmwd Ial who had come late to the raid, he attacked them, the elves and dwarfs fought viciously but the Hurrakay was very shy in the combat. Darrach challenged the Hurrakay to return with more of his kind so that they might prove their strength in war by pulling together, the Hurrakay refused as the other Hurrakay had already pulled to hard in war and their backs were aching!
At the end of the day word arrived that Gilthor, Hrothgar's father, was gravely ill so he went off to be by his side. Soon after Hrothgar reached his side Gilthor died. Hrothgar spent much time with his relations preparing fro Gilthor’s funeral and disposing of his property. Gilthor’s home however, had fallen into the hands of a West Welsh witch and he was unable to take posesion of it. Hrothgar set a guard on the place with orders to inform him if the witch left the place or this world.
In the summer of that year Hrothgarstead was infested with many brown bog trolls which Hrothgar had to rid himself of unaided. Susan of Lytham tended his wounds and kept him fed while Hrothgar battled with the trolls.
The south of Ynglingaland was invaded by Franks and, having defeated the trolls, Hrothgar rode south with the Host to drive out the invaders. Hrothgar hurled rocks at the Franks and they were much disconcerted, others of the Host did the same. One captain of the Franks taunted Hrothgar believing he was at a safe distance but was felled by one of Hrothgar’s rocks.
1018 This year was the payment of the tribute over all England; that was, altogether, two and seventy thousand pounds, besides that which the citizens of London paid; and that was ten thousand five hundred pounds. The army then went partly to Denmark; and forty ships were left with King Knute. The Danes and Angles were united at Oxford under Edgar's law; and this year died Abbot Ethelsy at Abingdon, to whom Ethelwine succeeded.
As was the custom Hrothgar met with his councillors in the New Year and shortly after, with Darrach Ap Llywellyn, led a band of warriors to spy out the people of Lincolnscir. They made two parties, with Hrothgar were Ordgar warriors Aella Sveinsson, Bjorn Tokison and Thorstein Sigvardson and with Darrach were Skeggir Torstein, Kort Sigurdsson, Gunnar Olafson and Alaric Ericsson also from Ordgar. Hrothgar’s band made a camp near to a well defended burh, the day had been very cold so they expected the night would be the same, they collected plenty of fire wood to make sure they would be warm throughout the night. Aella stayed at the camp and prepared hot food while the others made several attempts to get inside the fortifications. Hrothgar went right round the burh before he found a place from which he could approach undetected, he was crawling close with the aim of capturing one of its defenders when a tone rang out and an eerie light lit him up, he had to beat a hasty retreat. Thurstein tried to approach the place also but he was wearing a white cloak and was easily spotted by the alert guards who would shout insults at him as he withdrew. Bjorn also tried to get into the place but without success. They later found out the place was called Duke’s Burh, Hrothgar took the belief that the place was protected by an evil Dwarven sorcerer using telling home magic. Back at their camp Hrothgar told of some of his past adventures and passed on the lore of the wild woods. Soon after dawn Hrothgar and his party tried the defence of Duke’s Burh but while they were able to kill the gate guard the defenders of the place quickly armed themselves and were able to drive off Hrothgar’s party. Hrothgar decide the place was too well defended for further attacks.
Darrach had more success when he came upon a poorly built burh that was wide open and had no easy means of defence. He then set up a secure camp and on the advice of Kort he ordered the others to gather in a great amount of wood, Kort is said to have svartelf blood in his veins and was reputed to be a great brewer of potions, he planned to brew up a mighty potion for Darach who was suffering from the ill effects of a recent encounter with a snot troll. While Alaric, Gunnar and Skeggir were collecting wood they came upon what they thought were entrances to Helheim and fearfully turned away, but these were troll lairs! Once they had a fire Kort brewed a hot mead drink, he brewed so much that they took some to Hrothgar and the others and so hot was the mead it was still hot when they drank it. on their return from Hrothgar’s camp Darrach sent Alaric, Gunnar and Skeggir to test the alertness of the guards at the burh. Darrach remained in camp with Kort who, prepared food for the warriors return and listened to Darrach’s rambling, the mead or the effect of the green snot troll, had caused him to loose his mind for a while. Alaric had not before done such a thing and was very excited and eager to take the life of an enemy. The three brave fellows set off planning to make a wide circuit around the burh but they came upon a frozen river along which they thought they saw ice trolls with bright glowing eyes rushing. The troll slayer Darrach was not with them so they were greatly afraid and changed their plans. Next they came upon a wall that looked easy to climb but was so short they went round it, as they did ravens burst out of the trees and made a terrible racket, they feared they had been given away to their enemies. When the noise abated and sufficient time elapsed to alay their concerns they set off again. When they came upon the burh the guards were sat about their fire telling stories and drinking ale, Alaric saw that one had long flowing locks of fair hair and took it to be a woman, thinking that the guards were being distracted he and the the others crept on their bellies towards the guards. When Alaric was close enough he rushed in and fatally stabbed a guard, they all then made their way safely back to Darrach. This burh was called Duke’s Field and while Darrach and his party were sitting about their fire planning their morning attack on it Kort suddenly jumped from his seat and exclaimed that the goddess of light was calling him. He rushed from their camp and could be heard praying loudly in the woods. The night was long and cold so Darrach’s warriors piled all their wood on the fire and were very warm for much of the night, but at the deepest cold of the night they ran out of wood and were forced to send Skeggir and Gunnar forth in search of more. They lost their way and after a while found themselves at the troll lairs, it was now that they new them for what they were for a forrest troll reached out to grasp Skeggir’s hand. As he felt the touch he jumped back and the troll gave him a mighty blow across his face. They rushed back to the camp to sit about their rapidly cooling fire and await the dawn. At first light Darrach was able to lead a raid on Duke’s Burh and quickly overcame the guards as he caught them unaware. One of the guards was so deeply asleep that he didn’t even wake when a spear was thrust into him. Skeggir said to Alaric that the sleeping corpse looked like the woman they had seen the night before, he certainly had long flowing golden locks of hair!
When Hrothgar and Darrach met again they decided that Duke’s Burh was to strong but the settlement at Duke’s Field would be a good place to lead a larger attack and they hoped take much wealth from it.