Hrothgar’s Saga

Vikings for all occasions, no tale too long

Manaraefan Herred

Skuld was there too,

To join the lethal few.

Roth Belly-Shaker rolled forth,

Ready to prove his worth.

Thorolf came to claim his prize,

To cut the mighty down to size.

Thorlief went along,

Joining the battle throng.

Askil rushed to join the fray,

To make the Saxon's Danegeld pay.

Frodi came to make a fight,

Many foe's would not see the night.

Hrafn the Dark Lord,

Brought his Host and sword.

Olaf Trygvasson's army was complete,

He contemplated no defeat.

On Northy island the Danes did sleep.

Fearing nought with close watch to keep.

Ready then to fight fresh,

Battle tools willing to cleave flesh.

Byrhtnoth boldly led his men out,

Battle challenge they did shout.

The salty sea was the divide,

No action before low tide.

Abuse and arrow were all that could,

Hurt those who battle would.

Olaf Trygvasson sent a herald to the shore,

To deliver a message before more war.

"Pay us gold and silver,

"Bring it here to deliver.

"Home we will go,

"Across the sea we will row.

"Better this than battle bloody,

"To lie on ground made muddy.

"In peace we will leave you,

"Or else you will be few."

"Bugger off!" was Byrhtnoth's reply,

"Be prepared to fight or die!"

As the tide did turn away,

Byrhtnoth told Wulfstan to start the day.

"Go to the causeway and there hold,

"Let no pirate across however bold."

Wulfstan did as he was bid,

To the causeway Viking raiders to rid.

With him went Grendal with his axe,

There to take battle tax.

Annuthor also went,

Raiders helms to dent.

With causeway narrow and tight,

Only a few could fight.

Wulfstan, Grendal and Annuthor were brave,

They sent many a Dane to his grave.

The Vikings being battle wise,

Saw no reason for wasteful demise.

Off the causeway they came,

Herald sent with message plain.

"Brave Saxons let us cross,

"For if you don't 'twill be your loss.

"We will sail away,

"And return another day.

"From whence you will know not.

"And in your graves you will rot.

"Let us today make a decision,

"In battle with precision."

Byrhtnoth knew this was his chance,

To finish the Vikings in battle dance.

"Come across and have no fear,

"We will retire to the rear."

Across the causeway the Vikings ran,

Eager to fight and win what they can.

Quickly they made battle wall,

Then upon the Saxons they did fall.

The Ulfhednar were on the right,

There they fought with great might.

Spears were washed in Saxon blood,

The earth turned to red mud.

After first rush the Vikings fell back,

To rest from the bloody hack.

For the Ulfhednar there was no rest,

They were rightly called the best.

The Ulfhednar allowed the Saxons no respite,

They would continue the fight.

Hrothgar sent many an arrow,

Through shield wall gaps narrow.

Halgerd Eiricsdotta's arrows also flew,

Taking life from no few.

Freya's arrows were in no muddle,

She put her foes in a bloody puddle.

Feathered like a bird,

Many would not return with the Fyrd.

Thorgeir with axe rained blows,

Where the bloody river flows.

Gunnar in a frenzy attacked,

Many foes he had hacked.

Kveldulf stood steady in the line,

Enemies he brought to their time.

Ranvieg some nerves did show,

But coming forward was not slow.

Lucky Eddy had a dark look,

He earned his place in this book.

Skuld was there but lost her footing,

She must learn to tie her legging.

Sigurd long spear did wield,

Driving through many a shield.

Frodi chopped at a war board,

Foe men sent to his Lord.

Roth Belly-Shaker with spear in hand,

Drove many away from the mighty band.

Signy cut and thrust,

Put foes in the dust.

Oleg's foes were beaten down,

Never again to see the town.

Thorlief Crow takes them high,

Thorolf had them in the thigh.

Askil sold them real estate,

Bloody mortgage paid on this date.

Main line rested,

The foe not yet bested.

Olaf sent his men forward again,

To give the Saxons much more pain.

Hrothgar Saxon arrows retrieved,

From those who had received.

Back he sent them with celerity,

Saw them fall with awful clarity.

Again the Vikings took a rest,

Again out went the best.

While the Ulfhednar battled on,

Trygvasson a plan hit upon.

Hrafn to his side he called,

To break the Saxon shields all walled.

"Take your host and make a wedge,

"Break through their battle hedge.

"Cut them down where they stand,

"With their bodies cover the land."

Hrafn replied, "I'll do it now,

"The Saxons I will cow.

"My best warriors will lead the way,

"We will win this battle day."

To his host off he went,

With his orders he was sent.

To pick a warrior in his line,

To lead the hogs-head this time.

The middle man was no man,

But a woman who never ran.

"Lead on like a proud mare,"

Hrafn said, "My stallions will follow you there,"

Boldly forward she did pace,

Death writ on her face.

Behind Danelaw followed proud,

All together in close battle crowd.

But the Saxon wall held fast,

Hrafn's host could not push past.

The Ulfhednar hit the Saxon side,

But couldn't change the battle tide.

Back again the Vikings came,

The Ulfhednar playing the skirmish game.

Now Byrhtnoth thought to try this ploy,

It looked like a good battle toy.

He set himself at the centre place,

Then he said, "Follow me lads, but don't race,

"With hogs-head through them we will drive,

"Leave no pirate alive."

At their head he set forth,

Ready to give his worth.

As near the Viking line he came,

His face was a picture of pain.

"Don't push lads, there's plenty for all,

"Soon enough we will be at their shield wall."

With a crash they hit,

Axe and spear bodies bit.

Byrhtnoth hewed about him,

Supported by friend and kin.

Then a spear took him high,

Life blood gushed out to make him die.

Staggering back his huscarls shielded,

Protecting their lord from weapons wielded.

Back into line the Saxons fell,

The Vikings gave a mighty yell.

Godrith saw his lord down,

He took Byrhtnoth's horse to town.

Others mistaking their lord to be in flight,

Left to see another night.

Full half the Saxons fled,

Away to hide under their bed.

Shamefully they did fly,

Leaving brave men to die.

As Byrhtnoth's life flowed away,

His huscarls stood at bay.

Loyal farmers still there were,

Not all behaved like whipped cur.

Olaf's men surged on,

The enemy to fall upon.

With each arrow Hrothgar slew,

Another of the brave few.

Thorgeir's axe drank it's fill,

As he closed in for the kill.

Halgerd Eiricsdotta's arrows took swift flight,

Taking many out of the fight.

Gunnar was bloody from axe to shoulder,

But still stood like a boulder.

Freya's arrows also flew straight,

Driving men to Death's gate.

Sigurd's arms grew tired,

But none could say he retired.

Ranvieg was still on the raven's field,

Slaying any who would not yield.

Lucky Eddy was also there,

Putting down the brave and rare.

Skuld also battled on,

Saxons she fell upon.

Kveldulf's sword sang in the air,

Those who met him lost more than hair.

Signy cut many a life off,

They died with a bloody cough.

Frodi stood with axe and shield,

Raven's booty spread on the field.

Roth's spear was drenched in gore,

As he fought this bloody war.

Oleg ran in hard,

Driving foe's back yard by yard.

Thorolf despite his size,

Took many a bloody prize.

Thorlief as name implied,

Fed ravens with those who died.

Askil fought to gain much ground,

A good price for it he was bound.

Olaf Trygvasson that mighty lord,

Knew the Saxons would die before his hoard.

Brave men had shown their mettle,

Let the battle peacefully settle.

Olaf's men withdrew when told,

But ready yet to slay the bold.

Herald's voice was heard again,

"Brave Saxons who have suffered pain.

"Let not this fight continue on,

"Terms let us settle upon.

"Your lord is dead and you have stood,

"This ground has now a sad hood.

"Take your lord and bury him,

"None could say it was a sin."

This overture was greeted with scorn,

Their reply was to blow the battle horn.

Sadly did Trygvasson send,

His men to slay who would not bend.

Against them the Saxons could not stand,

Nought they could do would stay their hand.

One by one they fell in battle,

Ravens cry at their death rattle.

When all were dead,

They struck off Byrhtnoth's head.

His head set on a spear,

To look at death's leer.

Olaf sent to all around,

That to them he was bound.

Stop him if they could,

But better pay him if they would.

For gold and silver he would go,

No more Death's seed to sow.

Archbishop Sigeric advised the king,

"Paying the Danes would be no bad thing."

Ethelred's coffers were full of gold,

So he paid the Vikings bold.

The Ulfhednar got their share,

To compensate for battle wear.

The Danish host went it's way,

Glad they had their pay.

 

In this year it was decided for the first time to pay tribute to the Danes because of the great terror they inspired along the sea coast. On this occasion it amounted to ten thousand pounds.  This course was adopted on the advice of Archbishop Sigeric.  Also Olaf Trygvasson became a Christian and king Aethelred sponsored him at his confirmation, as advised by Archbishop Sigeric and Bishop Aelfheah of Uintancaestir.

             When the Host left the force of Olaf Trygvasson Hrothgar's ship, the Monty Go, was heavily laden with booty and silver.  After Sigurd the Scared and Halgerd Eiricsdotta had separated from the Host they were attacked by raiders and their ship was taken, they lost many valuable goods and Halgerd Eiricsdotta was very upset.  Many people of the Host helped them to re-equip.

 

Thorhild’s Saga

 

             Then in the dark days of winter Thorhild told her tale:

 

Now hear Thorhild sing her story,

Tell of loved ones lost to slaughter,

Hear the gulls cry! Hear the wolves howl!

Rune seer, spae-wife, loving mother

Far from Northland, lost in flat land,

In the telling, wounds are healing.

 

In Jorvik town, lived Skarthi’s bride,

Grey eyed Hilda glow’d with child bloom

Wed to Skarthi, friend of Bloodaxe,

Wealthy trader, Erik’s kinsman.

But all was lost when Erik fell

Jorvik taken, Skarthi fleeing.

 

Child heavy Hilda flees to coast cliff,

Skarthi’s seed grows in her belly.

Skarthi’s liege lord, Bloodaxe Erik,

Now King no more and Jorvik lost.

Skarthi - King’s man, friend and trader

Lordless, landless, needing shelter.

 

In cliff top farm was Thorhild born.

Sounding sea surge, soaking spume spray

Wild geese calling, Thorhild growing.

Then one winter - late the season,

Skarthi sailed with too few seamen.

Bright sail shrinking, Thorhild waving.

 

Long the dark nights, winter shrieking,

Cliff top watching, waits now Thorhild,

Waits with Hilda, waits not knowing

Skarthi sleeps ‘neath Ran’s broad bosom.

Mother, daughter plied their sewing,

Hard the years of Thorhild’s growing

 

Thorhild watching, Thorhild waiting.

Came a sighting - dark sailed Viking

Thorhild on cliff top - watching, crying

Hilda’s death screams - too far to hear.

Blackened roof beams, dust and ashes,

Nothing left now, Thorhild stumbles.

 

Pock-face found her, beat her, used her.

Thorhild weak but fleet foot flying

Bleak land, moor land, safety seeking.

Nuns’ house took her, gave her healing.

New life learning, dark walls closing

Christ denying, nuns now beating.

 

 

One grey morning, sea mist fretting,

Thorhild leaving, wide road seeking.

In the dark woods, wise one dwelling,

Spell cast healer, Old Grim taught her

Simples, potions, curses, bindings.

Old ways knowing, Thorhild learning.

 

Norn’s thread cutting, Old Grim dying.

Wise-woman now was Thorhild’s craft.

Selling cure-alls, reading rune stones,

Wandered southing where Wyrd willed her.

Wandered Thorhild, seeking Pock-face,

Dark her deep soul, dreaming vengeance.

 

Then to Maeldune’s golden grazing,

And to Byrthelm, Byrthnoth’s kinsman,

Gave her love balm, gained her bridegroom.

Thegn’s bride glad now, wife and mother,

Gave to Byrthelm - Sigrun and Tola,

Keeps her dark heart, learns her bow craft.

 

Northey Island - Danes have landed,

Byrthelm cut down with Eolderman.

Christian priests then bury Byrthelm,

Shunning Thorhild, sinful witch-wife.

Hear the wolf howl! Long the dark night!

Seek the North-land? Where are kinsfolk?

 

Thorhild bides here, new skills learning,

Daughters growing into women.

When the fight comes - arrows flighting,

When the fight’s done - Thorhild healing.

Dark her deep soul, not forgetting,

Keeps for Pock-face, arrows sharp’ning.

 

Thorhild’s Flight

 

Byrthelm, bright and faithful warrior,

Fell beside his friend and ring-giver,

Raven meat upon the salt -marsh,

Bloodied symbol of her safety,

Thorhild wept to see him so.

North-folk, kin-folk killed her lover.

Craven king-man pays them Dane-geld,

Sated with an English fortune,

Sail to home-lands, laughing loud.

Yet she knows that she must follow,

On the whale-road, leave the Christ –folk,

Hostile kin-folk, of her Byrthelm,

Sham of sweet-life now is shattered.

Again to walk a long-road, hard-road,

Away from danger, seek a haven,

With her daughters strong and fair.

 

Heart-clench, knot-tight, binding muscles,

Breathless, prey like down to river,

Silent steersman gives them greeting,

Under canvas, hiding, waiting,

Till the tide can bear them safely.

Taking nothing, new-life, new-birth,

Hope-thought, fear-thought, intermingle,

As the spray baptises faces.

Never could Christ baptism save her,

Heart-felt, wyrd-roots, lift her spirits.

 

Wide-breast, laden, rich with trade goods,

Up the wide Ouse into Danelaw,

Ships-ropes, nerve-ropes start to slacken.

From the vessel, on to quayside,

Then she went to feed her family.

Met a woman, brown-eyed, Jarl wife

Gave them apples, made them welcome.

Told of how she’d found her home-land,

Fen-land, friend-land, here at Ousekjarr,

With her Magnus, matchless warrior,

Make the good earth yield it’s harvest.

 

Thorhild feels a sense of knowing,

Brown eyes smiling, from an old dream,

Offers service as an archer,

Healer, helpmeet, to the Jarl wife.

Stays at Ousekjarr, builds a new life,

Working hard but harboured safe

 

Hrafn the Red wounded

 

             After the battle at Maldon Konungr Hrafn the Red took his Host into Mercia, Hrothgar and Thorgeir Havarsson were the only Valhalla Ulfhednar to follow him to the west. At the ford of the Cos there was a mighty battle, Hrothgar's war gulls again slew many sword wielders and Thorgeir Havarsson's axe drank deeply.  While fighting a short Celtic chieftain Konungr Hrafn the Red stumbled over a corpse and badly injured his leg, he was unable to take the field again for many months.  While he was disabled Skallagrim Baldpate led the Host.

             Skallagrim Baldpate led the Host to raid the south, here there were mounted warriors from Normandy and Hrothgar lost many arrows under the horses’ hooves.  Thorgeir Havarsson used his axe so lustily that he broke it on the shield of a foe.  After this he borrowed a bow and inflicted much pain on his enemies.  Here also the wicked North Witch tried to put a glamour on Thorgeir Havarsson but failed.  Skallagrim Baldpate was marked out by the enemy archers and would have been done to death had not his warriors protected him with their shields.

             After this the Host again raided Mercia and then went north for Ulf the Dauntless' raid on the towns near Snottingaham.  Ulf the Dauntless led them well and the Host defeated nearly all who opposed them; however some could not understand his plans and argued much about what they should be doing.  Ulf the Dauntless was much grieved, particularly by the words of the Valhalla Ulfhednar, after an unsuccessful raid, but he got over it.  He was also annoyed that those traders that said they would come and support the warriors did not do so.

             The year ended with more feasting and the wearing of outlandish clothes, more of Muirigan Legbiter's mead was imbibed.

 

Hrothgar joins the High Council

 

992      In this year king Aethelred made a treaty with Richard of Normandy, also Oswald, the blessed archbishop, gave up this life and attained the heavenly one; eolderman Aethelwine passed away the same year.  In this year the Host consisted of the  Herreds Armounderness, Jotunhiem, Northumbria, Jomsborg Elag, Y'Draig, Hrafnsdale, Onglesea, Mercia, Troon, Norrovik, Dane Law, Einheriar, and the Valhalla Ulfhednar and the Lethangs  Rhyfelwyr Gwynedd, Conroi de Burm, Wolves of Andred, Vanahiem, Aescinga, Ormshiem, Vanahiem, Y'Talir, Dunholm, Aescedun and Tyrslith. 

             Snorri Pig Svensson left the Valhalla Ulfhednar and joined the Jomsborg-elag and Boleslaw the Brave was elected duke of Poland.  Soon after the Yule Tide celebrations Konungr Hrafn the Red called on Hrothgar to join his High Council.  After consulting with Thorgeir Havarsson at a Thingvollr of the Valhalla Ulfhednar and getting his approval, Hrothgar accepted.

             Hrothgar was very busy this year helping Konungr Hrafn the Red to organise his Host.  He did this first on the Isle of Anglesey and here he tested the metal of the Hosts warriors.  In raids on the local Wealsh Hrothgar took his long axe and did great destruction.  A noble Wealsh warrior, Collyn Op Ridd, insulted the Vikingar and defied Hrothgar to destroy his shield saying it was the strongest in Wealas; it had been made by the notable armourer Kef Lar.  Hrothgar stepped forward and swung his mighty axe with all his strength, Collyn Op Ridd staggered back from the blow and was horrified to see his shield rent.  Hrothgar could not make another attack as Collyn Op Ridd had stepped behind his warriors to lament the damage to his costly shield.

King Aethelred and all his counsellors advised that all the ships that were worth anything should be gathered in London.  The king then appointed to lead the troops eolderman Aelfric, eorl Thored, bishop Aelfstan and bishop Aescwig; and they were to try if they might to trap the force out at sea somewhere.  Then eolderman Aelfric  sent a command that the force, be warned, and, in the night before the day they were to come together, he fled by night from the troops to his own great disgrace.  The force then escaped, except for those on one ship, who were killed.  The force met the ships of East Anglia and London, who there made much slaughter of them, and seized the ship, all armed and equipped, on which the eolderman was.

 

Valgard Toebreaker's first command

 

             After this the Host went into Wessex and attacked Searoburg.  Here Hrothgar led Konungr Hrafn the Red's archers and did much good work preparing the way for the other warriors.  Here also Hrothgar was struck from behind by a berserk from Hrafn the Red's Host. Hrothgar fell to the ground stunned and bleeding from the blow and his ear was nearly cut off.  Hrothgar shook himself and then stood up, still bloody, his wrath roused, he continued to lead Hrafn the Red's archers and greatly assisted the victory that day.  Later he had his ear sewn back together.

             Here it was also that Valgard Toebreaker did first command warriors of the Host in battle.  He led his slayers with great courage and was always at the front setting good example to those who might be faint of heart.

             Muirigan Legbiter was made a Thegn of the Host here and tasked to recruit for the Host.

             Hrothgar and Sigurd the Scared then went to Lei Caester; there they joined with the Lethang Tyrslith, led by the Sturaesman Ragnar Thorskal, to raid the Saxon villages near there.  It rained heavily and fighting was not easy in such weather but they still managed to carry off much booty, particularly cakes.

             The Valhalla Ulfhednar then raided in Cantware and attacked the town of Pegwell where Thorgeir Havarsson slept late and missed the council of Jarls and Sturaesmen.  Here was also Ulf-eirik Henricksson and his warriors of Jomsborg-elag.  They were very dilatory arriving and did not know what to do.  There were a great number of them, many from over the sea including Sihard, Emperor Otto's general; he pulled them through when they became confused.

             After this the Host made a great raid at Pegwell Bay, as soon as they came ashore they found a great deal of mead and ale and many of the Host became very drunk.  As the Saxon Fyrd approached the next day it was difficult to rouse some of the Host from their stupor, only Hrothgar and Sigurd the Scared of the Valhalla Ulfhednar were able to prepare themselves’ to fend off the first Saxon attacks.   Sigharda of the Jomsborg Elag was the only warrior of that Herred to stand with the Host during these attacks.  It was not until after mid-day that the remaining warriors of the Valhalla Ulfhednar and Jomsborg Elag joined the Host.   Sigharda, who had a clear head, was able to save the Host by his quick reaction to an attack on the Host's right flank.

            

Whispering in ears

 

             Konungr Hrafn the Red sent Hrothgar to Chikscaester where he was to gather the Host after the great raid into South Wealas.  When Hrothgar arrived at Chikscaester he found the South Saxons ready and waiting to resist the Host. Hrothgar straight way sent messengers to Konungr Hrafn the Red and the Host to come quickly.  They arrived slowly and in small numbers and were attacked by the Saxons, Hrothgar's well laid plans were as nought and many changes and improvisations had to be made.  None the less the Vikingar fought well and none more so than the Valhalla Ulfhednar, their fierceness caused much distress amongst the Saxons and they fled in fear.  Gunnar was even seen to climb over their shields to get at them.  The Saxons were driven away from Chikscaester which gave up much booty.

             In the night after looting Chikscaester Konungr Hrafn the Red held an Althing lit by the flames of the town, this was the first at which Hrothgar stood by the Konungr.  Here the Thrall Sigharda of the Jomsborg-elag, who had no voice in the Thing of Drengr, whispered in the ear of Jarl Ulf-eirik Henricksson who in turn asked questions and made statements on dissentious matters.  Also at this Thing Ulf-eirik Henricksson took Hrothgar aside and told him that agents of the Ynglingalish king Aethelred were seeking him, he said that if they found him they would question him most closely and with little kindness.

 

A great storm

 

             Konungr Hrafn the Red then led the Host back into Mercia where a great battle was fought at Otmoor, as the warriors approached each other a great storm started.  There was much rain accompanied by thunder and lightning, the pagan Host took this as a sign that Thor would aid them in battle and cheerfully fell upon their enemies.  Hrothgar sent many feathered shafts at the foe and claimed his share of the blood tax; three of the enemy broke through the Vikingar battle line and tried to cut Hrothgar down.  Hrothgar killed one with an arrow and slew the other two with his sword Orcblender.

             Hrothgar then went on a small raid in Pouis and again attacked Caergwrle.

             After archbishop Oswald's passing, Aldulf, abbot of Peter's burgh, succeeded to Jorvik and Uintancaestir, and Kenulf to Peter's burgh.

             In this year Pallu Karinasdottir took up the Sturaesmanship of the Norrovik Herred, and as Sturaesman re-named it Norvik Hrafnswyrd.

             At the end of the year Konungr Hrafn the Red decided to codify his laws and called on Hrothgar, Muirigan Legbiter, Halgerd Eiricsdotta and Sigurd the Scared to help him.  Also at about this time the Valhalla Ulfhednar held a Thingvollr.  At this Thingvollr Thorgeir Havarsson suggested that the Valhalla Ulfhednar combine with Ulf-eirik Henricksson 's Herred Jomsborg-elag, this was rejected by the Drengr and did not happen.

 

Hrothgar sails abroad

 

993      In this year the Host consisted of the Herreds Armounderness, Jotunhiem, Northumbria, Jomsborg Elag, Y'Draig, Hrafnsdale, Mercia, Troon, Norrovik, Dane Law, Einheriar, and the Valhalla Ulfhednar and the Lethangs  Rhyfelwyr Gwynedd, Conroi de Burm, Wolves of Andred, Vanahiem, Aescinga, Ormshiem, Vanahiem, Y'Talir, Dunholm, Cwmwd Ial, Herod Werod, Dalir, Aescedun and Tyrslith. 

             The Emperor Otto had trouble on the southern boarders of his realm and called on all those that owed him service to fight his enemies; Hrothgar answered the call and sailed from Omtune at the beginning of the year.  When he got there he found that he was not needed and after plundering the Italians he returned to Ynglingaland in time for Easter.

             Bebbanburgh was destroyed, and much plunder seized there; after that the force came to the mouth of the Humber, and there did much evil, both in Lindsey and Northumbria.  Then a very great army was gathered, and when they should have come together, the war-leaders were the first to set the example of flight: they were Fraena, Godwine and Frithegist. In the same year, king Aethelred commanded Aelfgar, son of eolderman Aelfric, blinded.

             Throughout this year work continued on Konungr Hrafn the Red's laws when not fighting the Saxons.  Konungr Hrafn the Red led the Host to join the force of Olaf Trygvasson, many raids were made with Olaf and all were successful.

             The first of these raids was on the town at the mouth of the Tyne River.  As Hrothgar in Monty Go and ships of the Host were approaching the river mouth, a great storm blew up and they were forced to take refuge in the mouth of the river.  Many of the Vikingar spent the night deep inside caves in the cliffs above the river.

             Hrothgar fought here with his bow and went with Olaf Trygvasson to parley with the Northumbrians who lived in those parts.  The Northumbrians refused to pay the Host to go away and instead attacked Olaf Trygvasson and his guards.  Olaf Trygvasson and his warriors had to cut their way out of the trap.  As they broke clear Olaf Trygvasson tripped and fell to the ground, Hrothgar, who was behind him, picked him up by his belt and pushed him to safety.  Olaf Trygvasson called out that he had left his sword and Hrothgar and another warrior went back for it, they only just escaped with their lives.

 

Late arrivals

 

             After this the Host gathered in the south to train and test the mettle of those new warriors that wished to be accepted into the Host. Many experienced warriors came to help and did good work, Ulf-eirik Henricksson, Sigharda and Thorgeir Havarsson arrived late and were not given charge of the training, this made Ulf-eirik Henricksson angry, but little could be done without causing great disruption and demeaning those already in command.  Sigharda argued with Hrothgar about this but came around to see his point in the end.

 

Skuld's raid

 

             Skuld planned a raid into Mercia from her home in the north Omtune but of the Valhalla Ulfhednar only Hrothgar, Muirigan Legbiter, Sigurd the Scared and Halgerd Eiricsdotta, who was heavy with child, went.  Sturaesman Ragnar Thorskal led his Lethang Tyrslith from Lei Caester to join Skuld; also a band of Celts of Y'Draig went so there were enough to deal with any Mercians they came across.  The weather was hot and the sun beat down and burnt many of the warriors, despite this there was a fierce battle in which Hrothgar slew a Mercian thane by pushing his spear through his mouth.

             Shortly after this a daughter was born to Sigurd the Scared and Halgerd Eiricsdotta, they named her Rebecca Sigurdsdottir.

 

With Aescesdun

 

             Leofric, the Sturaesman of the Lethang Aescesdun, invited Hrothgar to join them raiding the town near Staf's ford.  Hrothgar had got much booty from that place some years before and felt it was a good time to return, he therefor agreed.  When they got there there was much confusion and Leofric and some of his warriors got lost. Hrothgar and the others waited for him to arrive at the appointed place but by mid-day he had not, Hrothgar decided that if they waited any longer the Mercians would discover them and they would lose the advantage of surprise.  Hrothgar then proposed a most daring plan of attack but Lief Tyrsson opposed it saying it was too risky, when Caradoc also opposed the plan on the same grounds Hrothgar accepted the criticism.  Caradoc was known as a bold warrior not afraid to take risks, if he said it was too dangerous it probably was.

             At Kenilworth, where the Host gathered for a great raid on the Mercians, Sigurd the Scared the Scared fell out with Thorgeir Havarsson.  Sigurd the Scared, as was his right as both one of Hrafn the Red's and Thorgeir Havarsson's Thegns, stopped Skuld from breaking the law.  She saw her error and refrained from the act.  Sigharda, a warrior of the Herred Jomsborg-elag, who felt strongly for Skuld, was offended by this and went to see Thorgeir Havarsson.  He complained most bitterly to Thorgeir Havarsson and painted a very black picture.  Thorgeir Havarsson called Sigurd the Scared to him and before the Valhalla Ulfhednar berated him and said he had over stepped his bounds.  Sigurd the Scared, who for some time had not been happy under Thorgeir Havarsson's orders, flew into a rage and stormed off.  He took no part in the ensuing battle and watched from a safe place.  After this he left the Valhalla Ulfhednar and joined a band of warriors from the Dane Law.

 

Battle

 

              The battle was long and hard on a hot day, Hrothgar was wearing his mail shirt, he commanded Olaf Trygvasson's huscarls in the centre of the battle line while the rest of the Valhalla Ulfhednar was on the right flank.  Thorgill commanded the left, Ottar Haraldsson the centre and Skallagrim Baldpate the right.  Sigurd the Scared was to have commanded the skirmishers, most of who were from the Valhalla Ulfhednar.  When Hrothgar heard that he was not there he ran over to Thorgeir Havarsson to tell him the plan of battle so that he could lead them.  Ottar Haraldsson's troop was made up of new warriors so the huscarls were kept near them.  Most of Skallagrim Baldpate's troop was from Jomsborg-elag, as they had often done before they arrived late, their Jarl Ulf-eirik Henricksson was then upset that he was not in command.

             The battle started badly with the Host's skirmishers being surprised and driven back, the huscarls had to form up in front of the main battle line to enable the shield wall to be made.  After this there was a brief parley but nothing came of it as both leaders felt they could defeat the other.  Olaf Trygvasson ordered his troops to attack, first the left, then the centre and then the right, Skallagrim Baldpate had difficulty getting his troop to attack and then found it hard to get them to stop when Olaf Trygvasson ordered him back.

             Next the Mercians all attacked together and Ottar Haraldsson's troop was over whelmed and fled from the Mercian onslaught, Hrothgar and the huscarls stepped in and attacked the Mercians while Ottar Haraldsson brought his troop back into order.  Then, as the Mercians fell back, Wealsh mercenaries who fought for the Mercians attacked the huscarls and threw many barbed javelins at them.  The huscarls could not get at them because they ran away every time the huscarls charged.  Thorgier came to their rescue with the Valhalla Ulfhednar and drove the Wealsh away.  Now some of the Host became uncontrollable and a berserk rage took hold of them, they charged the foe and did great damage before they were cut down.

             Heartened by this the Host attacked again but Thorgill's troop was badly treated by the Mercians and many were killed or fled.  Skallagrim Baldpate's troop were uncontrollable and when he tried to call them back to rally on Olaf Trygvasson only those not of the Jomsborg-elag answered the call, many of the others were butchered by the Mercians before they rallied on the main line.  With a goodly part of his army dead or run away, Olaf Trygvasson led his huscarls and what was left of the Host in a charge at the Mercian centre, the battle now went well for Olaf Trygvasson's force, Hrafn the Red's Host did him good service.  Hrothgar fought well and many Mercians fell to his long axe and sword.  Under Hrothgar the Huscarls broke the centre of the Mercians and wheeled left to crush the remainder against a steep hill.  As they did this a Mercian spear burst Hrothgar's mail and laid open his side, the wound was not serious and the Mercian paid with his life.  The Valhalla Ulfhednar, with their usual fierceness, hunted down those that fled.  At the end Ulf-eirik Henricksson would not stay with the Host and led the remains of the Jomsborg-elag after the foe when he was told to stay and guard Olaf.

             After this an Althing was held, Konungr Hrafn the Red was unable to attend the Althing so Thorgrim Sigmundsson represented him with the Help of Hrothgar and Ottar Haraldsson.  There was some dissatisfaction about where the next feast was to be held, some wanted it in London and others wanted it in Rheged-dale.  Those who lived in London made a deal of fuss and though an agreement was made to compensate them they still brought the matter up for debate, it was later found that they had not been entirely truthful either.  Another row was over who was to lead a raid in the south, Hrothgar had been given the task by Konungr Hrafn the Red but Ulf-eirik Henricksson thought he should do it.  In the end, to preserve peace in the Host, Ulf-eirik Henricksson was allowed his way.  A question was asked about whether or not young boys should be allowed to fight with the Host, Ottar Haraldsson said that he rather liked to see young boys, at this Thorgrim Sigmundsson and Hrothgar moved their seats further away from him.

 

Foolsham

 

             Ulf-eirik Henricksson called the Host to raid in the south but very few who were not from there went, indeed many from the south did not go.  Despite this he had over seventy warriors with which to ravage the area.  He led the Host to Foolsham where a rich Saxon bishop lived; the local Saxon fyrd came out to meet him and brought with them much rain, making it a miserable affair.  There were two fights between the opposing forces but these were a very half-hearted and confused business, not much honour was gained; Hrothgar was there and had to shout at his foes to make them put up a fight.  Some said the rain put them off their stroke.  Still the Host was able to come away with some plunder.

 

Exile

 

             For some time Ulf-eirik Henricksson had been disloyally causing much trouble and dissent within the Host. Konungr Hrafn the Red believed him guilty of treachery and with the support of his High Council exiled him from the Host. There was a loud and angry outcry from Ulf-eirik Henricksson 's supporters and henchmen; they threatened open rebellion if he was not pardoned.

             At Framlinga's ham Konungr Hrafn the Red called his Jarls to council and told them to decide between him and Ulf-eirik Henricksson.  Of the Jarls only Thorgeir Havarsson voted against Konungr Hrafn the Red though Erling Rigsson abstained, some Sturaesmen, who had no vote, said they would support Ulf-eirik Henricksson.  The Jomsborg-elag and Einheriar followed Ulf-eirik Henricksson into exile and shortly after the Valhalla Ulfhednar held a Thingvollr to discuss the matter.  The Valhalla Ulfhednar were divided on the matter but decided to take a middle road, they told Konungr Hrafn the Red that they were not happy about what had happened but that they would stay loyal to the Host. Gunnar was the only member of the Valhalla Ulfhednar to leave the Host and follow Ulf-eirik Henricksson into exile.

 

Feasting and battle

 

             Near the end of the year Hrothgar went with Boon the Hun, a warrior of Aescesdun, to a feast at the town near the Ford of the Ox.  It was a strange feast with odd food but the mead was plentiful and Hrothgar drank much of it.  Afterwards Hrothgar went with Sturaesman Leofric, Thegn Hedde of Mercia, Boon the Hun, and other warriors of Aescesdun to attack a fortress of the Saxon's.  The fortress sat atop a hill and had deep ditches and steep banks to climb before they could get at the defenders.  The wind was high and arrows would not fly true so Hrothgar left his bow in a safe place and fought with his sword Orcblender.

             Though the Saxons stood on their hill the Vikingar had no fear of them and ascended confidently.  Hrothgar moved slowly upwards and deceived the young warriors facing him, they thought him old and easy prey to just one of them.  Leaving the more experienced of their number the others rushed off to oppose others of the attackers.  Hrothgar reached his remaining opponent and slowly drove that warrior away from the edge of the crest and came up onto level ground.  A great fight ensued between the two and Hrothgar could not get past the others defence with his sword.  Hrothgar determined to use his height and weight to overcome his foe as he had the better of both, he stepped in close and dropping sword and shield wrestled the other to the ground.  He wrested his foe's weapons away and used them to kill the warrior.

             Hrothgar then went to join his companions in arms but they had already overcome the other Saxons.  The victors went away from that place well pleased and with enough booty to make the remainder of the winter very pleasant for them.

 

Hrafn the Red stands down

 

             On the last day of this year, exhausted by years of warfare and ruling the unruly, Hrafn the Red, the Law Giver, stood down as Konungr of the Host and handed over the crown of leadership to Thorgrim Sigmundsson.

 

994      On the first day of this year Thorgrim Sigmundsson took up the crown of leadership of the Host. He then called Hrothgar Bokraeder, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Lief Tyrsson, Erling Rigsson and Ottar Haraldsson to be his High Councillors and they all agreed.  Aelfgifu, a woman of his household, prepared a fine feast for them all at their first meeting and kept account of their words.  It was found that the Host consisted of the Herreds Armounderness, Dunholm, Jotunhiem, Northumbria, Jomsborg Elag, Y'Draig, Hrafnsdale, Aescedun, Tyrslith, Cwmwd Ial, Ormshiem, Mercia, Wolves of Andred, Troon, Norrovik, Dane Law, Vanahiem, Einheriar, and the Valhalla Ulfhednar and the Lethangs Rhyfelwyr Gwynedd, Aescinga, Vanahiem, Y'Talir, Jorvik, Ulfstahm, Dahrg de Beln, Medeswael, Dalir and Onglesea.

             Olaf Trygvasson and Swein Forkbeard came to London, on the Nativity of St Mary, with ninety-four ships, fighting constantly in the city, and they meant, moreover, to set it on fire.  But they suffered more harm and evil than they ever believed any town-dwellers could have done them.  In this God's holy mother showed her mercy to the town-dwellers and delivered them from their enemies; then they went from there and wrought the most evil that any force had ever done, in burning, ravaging and killing, both along the sea-coast, in East Seaxe and Cantware, Suth Seaxe and Hamtun Scir; finally they seized horses for themselves, and rode as widely as they would, working unspeakable evil.

 

Hrothgar and Thorgeir Havarsson fall out

 

             Thorgeir Havarsson was not happy that another of his Valhalla Ulfhednar was made a Jarl of the High Council; he was still angry about Ulf-eirik Henricksson being sent into exile and started to make trouble.  At a feast held by Valgard Toebreaker in honour of Astrid Bear, he announced that he would no longer support the Host for that year and called on Hrothgar and Halgerd Eiricsdotta to leave the High Council and support him.  Halgerd Eiricsdotta was not there but later agreed with Hrothgar in this matter, they would not support Thorgeir Havarsson over this as they thought Ulf-eirik Henricksson had got his just desserts.  Hrothgar only held his temper with difficulty and left the feast early as he had no wish for more bad blood to come between him and Thorgeir Havarsson.  Valgard Toebreaker and Astrid Bear were solicitous of his feelings and wished him and Muirigan Legbiter well of their journey home.  Valgard Toebreaker was very angry that his guest had had to leave and talked little to Thorgeir Havarsson.  Guthrothr Belly-Shaker was late arriving and when he heard what had been said he too was angry and spent much time deep in conversation with Thorgeir Havarsson on the matter.

             After much bitter and sad argument in the next months, Hrothgar and Halgerd Eiricsdotta left the Valhalla Ulfhednar.  Soon they were followed by Valgard Toebreaker, Astrid Bear and Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Red Orm the Aged said he would wait the year out and then may join them.  Freya the Puddle was much distressed by all this and left the Valhalla Ulfhednar saying she wished to be alone.

 

Part 3. The Manaraefan Cycle

 

Manaraefan

 

             They travelled south, meeting on their way other dispossessed Vikingar separated from the force of Olaf Trygvasson either by misadventure or the receiving of grievous wounds in combat.  They did join together and fall upon the hamlet of Alton, slaying many Saxon warriors and taking their homes and women.  Here they did stay, wintering in comfort but emerging to join the invading Viking armies in the summer months to lay waste the Ynglingalish towns and villages and take their share of Danegeld.  They called themselves the Manaraefan.  Guthrothr Belly-Shaker was their Sturaesman and Valgard Toebreaker and Astrid Bear were his Thegns.

             At Jorvik Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson held his first Althing of the Host and here he wished support to Hrothgar and Halgerd Eiricsdotta in their struggle with Thorgeir Havarsson.  After this there were three great raids on Bolsover, Richmond and Hastingas where Hrothgar fought with his bow and slew many of his foes.

            

Valgard Toebreaker breaks his sword

 

             At Bolsover Valgard Toebreaker gave his sword to a smith to repair and put a new temper on its blade.  He was at a loss without a sword so Hrothgar lent him his sword Orcblender.  Valgard Toebreaker did great slaughter with Orcblender and was so happy with it that he forgot to return it for several days.

             Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson led the Host into the lands of Bjorn Styrbjornsson; there he attacked the fortified place Bjorn Styrbjornsson had near the town of Hastingas.  Valgard Toebreaker and Hrothgar each commanded a troop of the Host here, Hrothgar led the archers and Valgard Toebreaker the warriors on the right.  Here Hrothgar again lent Valgard Toebreaker Orcblender.  Valgard Toebreaker had had his own sword broken at the hilt when he struck a Saxon shield.  He straight way took up his hand axe and in a rage slew his foe.  Hrothgar, seeing his friends need for a sword was greater than his gave up Orcblender without hesitation.  Hrothgar fought on with his bow but when one of Bjorn's men attacked him with a spear he had no trouble.  Hrothgar stepped aside as the Saxon thrust with his spear, he took hold of it a wrenched it from his enemy's hands.  The Saxon was taken by surprise and was still gapping with open mouth as Hrothgar plunged the spear into his guts.  Skalds tell the tale of The Broken Sword so:

 

While making plans Thorgrim took his seat,

Plans to drive away his enemies in defeat.

"But where and who?" he shouted jumping to his feet,

"Which enemy should I go and meet?"

Question asked, a henchman raised a hand,

"I know where to take your happy band,

"Untouched for years in this land."

A steely glance the flow of words stopped,

From foot to foot the henchman hopped.

"Speak", Konungr said, "Companion loyal,

"Fear not my temper will not boil."

"Well, 'tis like this lord, there's this place,

"Down south, where all have a happy face,

"Plump and rich members of the Saxon race,

"All unsuspecting near to Senlac hill."

To these words did Thorgrim thrill,

"The Host will muster, that is my will,

"These Saxons will see Vikings kill!"

Hastily, out went the word,

Many noble Vikings heard.

Among their number there were three,

Of stout heart, not known to flee.

Hrothgar Bokraeder with his bow,

Shield on back to defend from blow.

Sword Orcblender at his side,

And scramaseax in sheath of hide.

Valgard Toebreaker sword in hand,

Axe tucked into waist band.

And also to the slaying field,

He took his trusty shield.

Red Orm the Aged took his spear,

Sword and scram to instil fear.

With a shield on his back,

Stamina he did not lack.

Saxons had word of Viking arrival,

Took steps for their survival.

To safety before the coming battle,

They took their sheep and cattle.

Their arms they set in order,

To repel attacks on their border.

Thorgrim too ordered his force,

To control the battle course.

Archers Hrothgar was to command,

To see they slew on demand.

Skirmishers Valgard Toebreaker commanded on the right,

With Red Orm the Aged to back him in the fight.

Hrothgar's archers started the day,

Loosing arrows in deadly play.

Behind their shield Saxons hid,

Until they required the archers rid.

Skirmishers out were sent,

To slay the archers hell bent.

Behind Valgard Toebreaker's force the archers came,

Now Valgard Toebreaker's chance to play the game.

Valgard Toebreaker led his troop to glory,

To hack the foe and leave them gory.

Though fewer than their foes,

They knew they had few woes.

Any Saxon the flank stepped past,

Found he had stepped his last.

Arrows set to fly,

Left the foe to die.

Red Orm the Aged's spear drank deep,

A deadly harvest it did reap.

None fought him but got a wound,

And many were fatally doomed.

Valgard Toebreaker was a lusty fighter,

None could prove mightier.

Enemy shields he smashed to dust,

All enraged in battle lust.

Then as foeman's shield he battered,

His sword in hand was shattered.

In disgust he threw it away,

And with axe continued to slay.

His renewed fury was hard to face,

The Saxons ran back to their base.

The archers saw them on their way,

To make this their last day.

Hrothgar strode to Valgard Toebreaker's side,

Valgard Toebreaker's anger he could not hide.

Drawing Orcblender Hrothgar said,

"For that sword too much you paid.

"Your need is greater than mine,

"Take Orcblender, return to the line."

Replied Valgard Toebreaker, "Many a foe will it bight,

"Widows and orphans will come from this fight."

So saying he went back,

More enemies he would hack.

Then Thorgrim attacked the foe,

Down the hill to bring them woe.

Back to the archers Hrothgar went,

Arrows at the enemy were sent.

No attack was made that day,

That the archers did not have their say.

Hrothgar sent many an arrow,

To carve a bloody furrow.

Taking many a life away,

From those in that fray.

Bloody and fierce was the fight,

Valgard Toebreaker used Orcblender with great might.

Many fell to warrior and sword,

No longer to stand with their lord.

Then the final fight began,

Some few of the enemy ran.

But most fought where they could,

Doing their duty as they should.

At Hrothgar a Saxon spearman came,

To kill a warrior of great fame.

Arrow just loosed in battle tide,

Bow he must set aside.

Hrothgar faced his foe with open hand,

Ready to put him in the land.

Stepping aside he took hold the spear,

And the Saxon knew great fear.

Hrothgar gave him a mighty kick,

And took his spear right quick.

Into the foe the spear was thrust,

For him life was but dust.

Soon the battle was won,

The bloody work was done.

Valgard Toebreaker came to return Orcblender,

Back to the noble lender.

Red Orm the Aged was not far away,

All had survived the battle day.

Thorgrim's enemies were no more

Another tally on the battle score.

Much plunder he took north,

From where he had set forth.

 

             In this year Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson took Aelfgifu for his wife.  Also in this year Bilbo took some of the warriors of Norovik Hrafnswyrd and founded the Lethang Ulfstahm, this was done with the consent of his Sturaesman Pallu Karinasdottir.

 

Competitions and prizes

 

             In this year competitions were held amongst the warriors and archers of the Host, Hrothgar arranged the contests of the archers and Lief Tyrsson that of the warriors.  The prize for the archers was six very fine arrow heads made by Tich ap Caradoc.  The archers contested for the prize whenever they met and there was much good humour amongst them and some horse play, no one grudged the prize to the winner.

At Caergwrle Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson held a great feast and here presented Hrothgar with two fine tokens of bronze and silver for his service to the Host. Here also Hrothgar and Thorgeir Havarsson met and talked of times gone by and no cross word passed between them.  Halgerd Eiricsdotta was there also but her path never crossed that of Thorgeir Havarsson.  Afterwards Hrothgar went on a voyage to the Middle Sea where he spent some time raiding the shores and capturing ships.

             While the Host raided the burgh of Beasecestun Erling Rigsson had his favourite bird taken by Danes.  They refused to return the creature unless they were paid a substantial ransom.  Erling Rigsson was unable to raise the money required in the time given and the bird was returned to him nailed to a wooden cross.

             It was here also that Ragnar Thorskal gave an offering to Odin Allfather, having captured a prisoner he carried out a blood eagle on his victim.  While doing so he also gave up some of his own blood, such was his pagan fervour.

 

Hrothgar returns

 

             When Hrothgar returned from the Middle Sea in his ship Monty Go, he went with the Host to raid the lands of Pouis in North Wealas around Caergwrle.  There were many heavily armoured warriors fighting against the Host and Hrothgar's arrows had little effect upon them, he set aside his bow, took his shield from his back and drew Orcblender.  Stationing himself on the left of the shield wall he steadied the Host in that place, he then proceeded to slay many of the armoured warriors of the foe.  They were much put out by Hrothgar's determined advance and were only able to trade a few blows before being fatally struck down.  Victory was with the Host but Boon the Hun was sorely wounded, he suffered a blow to his face by a left handed enemy; Hedde of Mercia took him to a safe place to have his wound tended.

 

Muirigan is captured

 

             While Hrothgar was away Muirigan Legbiter determined to take her son to see his grandfather.  Orm Longarm of Dane Law and Lief Tyrsson owed Hrothgar a service and agreed to escort Muirigan Legbiter through the dangerous lands that she had to cross.  With a band of brave warriors they set out guided by Muirigan Legbiter.

             On the second day of their journey the party was attacked by dark elves and other fell creatures, Lief Tyrsson, Orm Longarm and their followers fought well but no sooner had they killed a foe than the creature rose up again.  After a desperate struggle they were defeated and while unconscious from their wounds Muirigan Legbiter and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were captured and carried off.  The warriors would have bled to death where they lay had not a thrall come out of hiding to help them.  This thrall, whose name was Hedde, bandaged their wounds and told them in what direction the elves had gone with their prisoners.  When they had recovered Lief Tyrsson and Orm Longarm led the band in pursuit.

             At a fork in the path they found Muirigan Legbiter's head scarf and knew which path to follow.  After a long climb up hill they came upon an old crone picking flowers, this was Josehagga the Unlovable; she immediately tried to seduce the handsomest warriors.  Lief Tyrsson recoiled at her advances and she cursed his sword, another warrior was so overcome with disgust at the sight of the crone that she cursed his shield.  Despite this they tried to make her tell them which way the elves had taken their prisoners but she refused to tell unless they loved her.  Orm Longarm grew angry and took her by the hair and would have cut her throat had not Wilfrith of Aescesdun, a warrior of poor taste or strong stomach, stopped him and agreed to love the hag.  Once satisfied Josehagga the Unlovable told them what path the elves had taken.

             The warriors followed the path through a dense and overgrown forest and were very nervous that they may be ambushed.  After a long walk they heard a woman's scream, such was their trepidation that they immediately hid.  Overcoming their fear they crept towards the screams and discovered two men trying to rape a woman dressed in Muirigan Legbiter's clothes.  They politely asked what was going on and a dauntless warrior replied that they should mind their own business.  At this point the party attacked the rapists and slew them; Lief Tyrsson struck one of them many times but his sword had no effect, he commented on this afterwards but thought his opponent must have had armour under his tunic.  The warrior with the cursed shield was stunned to find that it fell apart as soon as it was struck.  Someone suggested taking the weapons of the two rapists but Lief Tyrsson warned against it, he said that they may be cursed.

             The rescued woman was very upset but told the warriors that she was Milli the Loose and that she had found the clothes abandoned not far away.  She agreed to take them to the place if they would protect her.  They followed the roundabout path along which Milli the Loose led them, but as they came to the cross roads where she had discovered the discarded garments they were attacked by trolls.  The fight was very savage and Milli the Loose was killed, some of the warriors were gravely wounded and again Lief Tyrsson's sword had no effect.

             As they tended the wounded they discovered that Milli the Loose had fallen upon a board inscribed with runes, they had no idea which track they were to follow and hoped that the board might give them a clue.  They did not have anyone in the party who understood all the runes but were eventually able to read the message:

 

"Left or right, back or forward,

 Where is the dwarf's lair?

 Tyr's hand shows the way,

 All others are Fenrir's fare."

 

Lief Tyrsson understood the clue and they took the path indicated by Tyr's hand and soon came to a stronghold.

             Upon the walls of the stronghold they saw two elven guards, Lief Tyrsson and half the band went to talk to them while Orm Longarm and the rest tried to find a way of getting past the guards un-observed.  When questioned, the guards said that it was the stronghold of the dwarf Trixi.  Lief Tyrsson asked them to fetch Trixi so that they could converse, the guards said it was only their job to guard and not to fetch anyone.  They argued for some time but refused to let anyone in or to fetch their master, they also spotted Orm Longarm 's attempt to sneak by them.  Frustrated by the guards’ refusal, Lief Tyrsson and Orm Longarm determined to attack.  They did so from two directions at once but the stronghold was well defended and some of the warriors were sorely hurt and others killed.  There were a great many defenders of the place and Lief Tyrsson, though he hit many of them, did not hurt any as he was still using his sword.  Some of the defenders even turned their backs on him as they soon knew that he could not hurt them.

             After a hard fight and as night was drawing in the attackers broke into the place and slew their foes.  They then discovered Muirigan Legbiter tied to a tree with the dwarf Trixi holding an axe, he threatened to kill her unless the warriors left him in peace.  The warriors were determined to rescue Muirigan Legbiter and Thorfin Hrothgarsson and would not accept his proposal; they attacked him and slew him before he could harm her.  As Trixi fell to the earth he dropped his shield, it fell on its edge and rolled down the side of the mountain his stronghold was built upon.  Everyone thought this was very funny but Trixi lamented his loss even as he lay expiring.  Despite having lost half of their party the remaining warriors escorted Muirigan Legbiter safely to her father’s home.

 

Searoburg

 

             Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson then led the Host to Searoburg; it was here that Sturaesman Guthrothr Belly-Shaker first led his Lethang, the Manaraefan, to stand in the shield wall with the other ash wielders of the Host. Guthrothr Belly-Shaker had lost his trousers just before he arrived at Searoburg and Thorgrim Sigmundsson lent him a pair of his, these Guthrothr Belly-Shaker wore with pride but he forgot to return them afterwards.  Red Orm the Aged joined the Manaraefan and fought there with Valgard Toebreaker, Hrothgar, and the Thralls Eirik and Halfdan Eiriksson.  Halgerd Eiricsdotta and Astrid Bear were there but did not fight as they had other duties.  Eirik and Halfdan Eiriksson fought well in their first battle but Eirik came with no shoes, while standing in the shield wall another warrior stood on and injured his foot, he is now known as Eirik the Down-Trodden.  In the battle Guthrothr Belly-Shaker also led other new warriors of the Host and despite bloodily slaying a Saxon eorl he was unable to stop them from running in fear of their lives.  Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Valgard Toebreaker and Red Orm the Aged fought valiantly and saved many of the fearful from death.

             Hrothgar meanwhile was slaying many a foe with his deadly arrows.  He and the other archers greatly influenced the course of the fight and their foes were heard to bitterly complain of this.  The enemy tried to break through and kill the archers, but Hrothgar drew Orcblender and fought them until, with the help of others, they were slain.

             After the battle Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson held an Althing and some good judgments were made, there were two issues of contention.  The first over the right of a guest to speak, this was not allowed as only Drengr of the Host were allowed to speak at the Host's Althings.  The other was a challenge by Jarl Sigve Halvdansson Cerdinger that Jarl Thorgeir Havarsson answer for his actions towards the Host over the last year.  As Thorgeir Havarsson was not there to answer Sigve Halvdansson Cerdinger agreed to place his challenge in abeyance until Thorgeir Havarsson was present.

 

Tutenburgh

 

             The Host was then led by Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson to Tutenburgh where they helped Aethelfleda of Mercia against her uncle Magnus of Mercia.  Hrothgar and Thorgrim Sigmundsson escorted Aethelfleda of Mercia when she went to see Magnus of Mercia and attempted to settle their dispute without bloodshed, on the way she was thrown from her horse but was not hurt, the horse bolted and she had to continue on foot.  Magnus of Mercia would not listen to Aethelfleda of Mercia 's words of peace and the two leaders went to prepare for battle.  While preparing for the coming battle competitions were held by the Host, Orm Longarm won that held by the warriors and Hrothgar beat Boon the Hun to win a fine scramaseax in the archery competition.

             Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Red Orm the Aged and Halgerd Eiricsdotta were the only others from the Manaraefan