Eivor noticed a new note arrived.
- Eivor: A message has come.
Eivor opened the box and read the new letter.
- Sunniva's Note
The gods curse us!
A Saxon abbess named Wulfhilda has arrived in a small village on the western outskirts of East Anglia, spreading tales of a fearsome monster.
While I've yet to see the beast, she claims it wanders the countryside, slaughtering livestock.
The abbess wishes to end the threat, but she lacks the skill to battle a true draugr of the underworld.
Here is a chance to gain glory for our clan.
-Sunniva the Scout
- Eivor: Whatever this, beast or monster, defeating it would only add to my reputation. I should meet this abbess, Wulfhilda.
Eivor rode to meet with the abbess, in a small village near Brisleah Farm. Arriving there, she saw a gathering of angry people.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: Those raiders killed our cattle!
- Wulfhilda: Danes did not do this! It's the Devil's work!
Eivor approached the group.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: We know it's the Danes. It's always the damn Danes. Make them pay wergild (penance) for the dead that now litter the fields!
- Wulfhilda: Show sense, please! What would the Danes gain from the slaughter of poor farmers?
The angry woman noticed Eivor.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: Look! There's a filthy Dane now! Why don't we ask!
She and two men attacked Eivor.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: You slaughtered my best milk-cow, you beast!
- Eivor: I did not touch your herd.
- Wulfhilda: You fools are making this worse!
Eivor knocked out her attackers and approached the abbess.
- Eivor: These Saxons fight like mad dogs to protect their own. I cannot blame them.
- Wulfhilda: Thank you for staying your hand, stranger. What is your name?
- Eivor: Eivor. Of the Raven Clan in Mercia.
- Wulfhilda: Wulfhilda, Abbess of Barking and inquirer into mysteries.
- Eivor: Are we here for the same reason, I wonder?
- Wulfhilda: Aye, to look upon Devil's work. But why would a Dane from upriver care what happens to Saxon farmers?
- Eivor: If there is a rabid wolf or bear on the prowl, I would see it dead. Blame often falls on my folk for such carnage.
- Wulfhilda: Well and good, Eivor of the Raven Clan. Take a look at the maulings and tell me what manner of rabid beast did these things.
Eivor then approached the farm.
- Eivor: I could start with the dead cows.
She inspected a nearby carcass.
- Eivor: Bite marks, but not from any beast I know. And the corpse is covered in a strange mold, though the wounds are fresh.
She approached an old farmer.
- Eivor: You there. What befell this poor beast?
- Anglo-Saxon Woman 2: Danes befell it.
- Eivor: How can you be sure?
- Anglo-Saxon Woman 2: It was Hrothgar's war-band! They're holed up in that old church, working their misery upon us.
- Eivor: Warriors do not often go about slaying milk cows. Besides, I have heard talk of a beast on the loose.
Eivor noticed blood on the barn's walls.
- Eivor: Blood. Still wet as dew. Where does it lead?
She climbed onto the roof, finding another dead cow upon it.
- Eivor: By the gods! What manner of beast flung that poor creature up here to its doom?
Atop another roof, Eivor saw a couple of children.
- Ashildr: A Jotun did this! I saw it, all big and hairy, staggering across the moor!
- Cedl: Giants aren't real. You saw the Devil himself, taking his tithe to Hell!
She approched them.
- Eivor: You are brave ones for getting so close to this awful sight.
- Ashildr: I saw it, warrior, I did! The night it happened, I saw it all!
- Eivor: What did you see? A wolf, a bear? Maybe a rabid hound?
- Ashildr: It was a Jotun! As great as a tree, and it laughed while it ripped and teared. It yelled out its name, Grendel!
Eivor then attempted to reconstruct what happened.
- Eivor: What sort of beast leaves glistening mold over freshly killed prey? Yet that woman blamed Hrothgar and his band of Danes? Were the killers men? Whoever it was, they were mighty enough to get a mauled beast-corpse onto a rooftop. But that little girl said the creature was a giant, calling itself Grendel. This may be the work of a band of drunken Danes, or something far, far worse. I should discuss these clues with Wulfhilda.
Eivor went to meet with the abbess.
- Eivor: Wulfhilda. I have learned all I can from the villagers. And those dead beasts.
- Wulfhilda: And what is your take on the mystery? Still believe a wolf or bear did these things?
- Eivor: This is not the work of a woodland creature. The bite marks. The mold. Most odd.
- Wulfhilda: So, you admit this is the Devil's work? Or one of your wooden dragons come to life?
- Eivor: A few maulings do not make for a devil or a dragon. It must be a man or a pack of them. The girl mentioned a name. Grendel.
- Wulfhilda: No ... no mortal hand could rend flesh in such a way. Surely you see that.
- Eivor: I have seen the worst the hands of men can do. Deeds bloodier than this.
- Wulfhilda: And these men stalk the night, slaying cattle as they go?
- Eivor: True. This thing, I cannot explain.
- Wulfhilda: Three times these attacks have happened. Each time bite marks, broken bones, and streaks of mold. Something wicked walks in East Anglia. Some other animals were attacked in the woods northeast of here.
- Eivor: Let us go.
- Wulfhilda: This way. We may find more clues.
Eivor finished her first investigation on the beast, ending up with more questions than answers.