- Eivor: Those Dane invaders, they came from East Anglia, is that right?
- Randvi: Yes. Dane invaders who serve a man called Rued. He seems to be sowing discord among Saxons and friendly Danes alike. Years ago, the Sons of Ragnar hoped to pacify the land. They appointed a steward named Finnr to find a suitable Saxon king. But the kingdom has fallen into ruin since, with no king and violent raiders ravaging what little peace remains. I suggest you make for East Anglia and find out what their steward is doing wrong.
Eivor stabbed a dagger into the map, pledging to East Anglia.
- Eivor: I will make the trip east, then. Speak to this Finnr myself.
- Randvi: A good plan.
Eivor left Ravensthorpe and made for Northwic. She found the city in a poor state.
- Eivor: Northwic. Suffering hard times, I see.
To one side of the longhouse, she saw a child standing on a platform, calling out to a small gathered crowd.
- Anglo-Saxon Child: Dark times, dark times! You tend to your sheep, to your cattle, and look away from the knaves that creep ever closer! East Anglia still stands without a king but for how long? Who will defend us in the battles to come? Raise your voices and your mugs tonight at the Spanking Pig. For those mugs may be your last.
Eivor continued on to the longhouse in search of Finnr. Within, she found a mostly empty hall, a throne riddled with arrows, and a drunken man asleep at one of the tables. She banged her fists on the table, startling him awake.
- Finnr: Wha... what? What's happening?
- Eivor: Finnr?
The man yawned.
- Finnr: No, not unless Halfdan sent you.
- Eivor: I sent myself. I want to speak with Finnr, the steward who should be working to put a king on that throne.
Finnr yawned again.
- Finnr: Ah, you're in luck then, for I have found the man already. I'm only waiting on him to get married.
Finnr yawned again.
- Finnr: I found him already! And as soon as he's married, we'll plunk his arse down on that throne.
- Finnr: You know, stranger, you interrupted a beautiful dream. I was sailing through Helheim, drifting on a boat of fire.
- Eivor: Dreams of death often run ahead of the real thing.
- Finnr: O, wouldn't that be a burden off my shoulders. What business have you with a backwater king, anyway?
- Eivor: Danes from here attacked my clan. I want to know why, and how to make sure it never happens again.
- Finnr: Ah, that'd be Rued's clan. They killed the last man I put here, Aethelstan. I suspect they'll do the same to our next monarch.
- Eivor: A Dane who cannot keep the Danes in line? Not much of a steward, are you?
- Finnr: If I knew how, I'd have rid our lands of them long ago! Rued's clan plagues us all, Dane and Saxon alike.
- Eivor: You are the sorriest soldier I've met in this country. Kick your king in the arse and fight back.
- Finnr: He needs more than a kicking! He's got nothing he should have to win this fight. No courage, no army, no charisma! If he wants to live longer than a season, he'll need the backing of his bride's family. Which he hasn't! They loathe the maggot.
- Eivor: Who is he, your king maggot?
Finnr nods his head to the side, gesturing for Eivor to follow him out to the side of the longhouse.
- Finnr: Oswald of Elmenham. He was King Edmund's counsel before the invasions. And like it or not, he's the last Saxon noble with any sway.
- Eivor: Why not crown a Dane instead?
- Finnr: Halfdan Jarl made it clear. He wants a Saxon king married to a Dane. For a greater show of unity. But Oswald's not the sort of man you'd chase into battle with a grin. He's soft. And the settled Danes don't trust him.
- Eivor: Where is he now? I'll get the measure of him, see what I can do.
- Finnr: You just missed him. He's headed for Elmenham just now, pleading once again for peace. If you go by the north gates and along the road, you may catch him.
Eivor left Finnr at the longhouse and traveled north after Oswald. Just outside the city gates, she came across two groups of people arguing with a single man standing between them.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: ... they rushed in like wolves, killing and burning as they went!
- Norse Man: It wasn't us!
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: Your folk destroyed this country once before! Now you're doing it again!
- Norse Man: We live here, you blistering fool! We were attacked as well!
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: You live here because you took our land!
Eivor got closer to the group.
- Norse: I built myself a home here! Rued's clan attacked us as well!
- Anglo-Saxon Man: O how nice to have a home to speak of, man! Mine was burned to the ground years ago! And by whom, I wonder?
- Oswald: Please, all of you! Be we Dane or Saxon, we all want the same peace... with land to till and a home to keep, without fear of Rued's violence.
- Anglo-Saxon Man: Til they break the peace with another bleedin' raid!
- Oswald: Nonsense. Their homes are here now, same as ours. Our futures run together, not apart.
- Anglo-Saxon Man: So what of these Danes attacking us, eh? What will you do about them?
- Oswald: When I am king—
The Norse man laughed and Oswald glared at him.
- Oswald: When I am your king, I'll set things right.
- Norse Man: You will be king when I am a flying troll.
The crowd dispersed, leaving only Oswald behind. Eivor approached him.
- Eivor: You handled that well. Disputes between Saxon and Dane don't always end so cleanly.
- Oswald: That was a clean result?
- Eivor: A dispute ending without bloodshed is as clean as they come.
- Oswald: Quite a brutal outlook...
- Eivor: I am Eivor of the Raven Clan. Are you Oswald?
Mounting their horses, Eivor followed Oswald down the road west.
- Eivor: What begs your attention in Elmenham?
- Oswald: Wedding preparations. Elmenham is on guard as we ready my marriage to the Dane woman Valdis. She's a cousin of Halfdan's.
- Eivor: Good. A well-matched marriage can forge a strong alliance. So what's the hold up?
- Oswald: The hold up? I don't yet have permission to marry Valdis. Her brothers don't approve of me.
Ahead, smoke could be seen rising from a small farm.
- Oswald: Slow down. Something is... not quite right here.
- Eivor: Hold. There is smoke ahead.
As they grew closer, they found livestock dead in the fields.
- Oswald: That's Beteleah. It could be the same men who attacked the walls of Northwic.
- Eivor: Stay here. I'll have a look.
While Oswald remained behind, Eivor moved closer, finding bodies strewn across the area, human and animal both. Near the house, she found a group of armed men. After killing the men around the edges, she approached the house and overheard two of the warriors talking.
- Norse Warrior 1: Do you see how they tremble as we thunder by? It makes my guts all wobbly with glee.
- Norse Warrior 2: I never knew you as a man given to verse!
- Norse Warrior 1: Ah, their little worries. Their little lives. They mean nothing to me. They're flies on shit.
Eivor killed the last two men.
- Eivor: That should be the last of these pig-faced cowards. Oswald will be relieved to know of this.
She returned to speak to Oswald.
- Eivor: Rued's clan. They left none alive.
- Oswald: God rest their souls. I'm needed at home to make yet another fruitless attempt to impress my betrothed's family.
- Eivor: Show more grit than you're showing me now and they may start to like you.
- Oswald: Yes, sorry. I'm just... shaken. If you joined us at dinner, that might ease their minds a touch. Think about it. My doors are open to you.
- Eivor: I'll be happy to join you. Tell me when and where.
Oswald mounted his horse again and rode away.
- Eivor: It's worse here than I feared.
As night fell, Eivor made her way to Elmenham.
- Eivor: A healthy-seeming town. This Oswald has done well for himself.
She overheard two men speaking about her as she neared the hall where Oswald waited.
- Anglo-Saxon Man 1: Look there, a lone Dane. Can't trust that.
- Anglo-Saxon Man 2: Sh. Be kind, yeah? As Christ would command.
Later that night, with the feast well under way, Oswald stood to make a speech, though no one seemed to be paying him much attention.
- Oswald: Lords, Ladies. This is a day of peace and fraternity. I asked you here to Elmenham to offer my thanks and extend my generosity. Finnr, our steward. To our guests of honor, Brothir and Broder, and to my lovely bride-to-be, Valdis.
Oswald stepped to Valdis's side as another man stepped up with a long box. Oswald opened it, presenting to Valdis a sword.
- Broder: You get to plow our sister because Halfdan commands it. But you won't drag us into bed with you, you hear?
- Oswald: Broder, that is—
- Brothir: The last Saxon king we backed wasn't half as mushy as you. And we lost a hundred and fifty men protecting his maggoty arse!
- Valdis: Brothir!
- Oswald: If you're going to be rude, then I must ask you to leave. This is my home, and I won't be insulted here.
As Broder laughed, Oswald passed something to Valdis below the table, where only Eivor, sitting beside her, could see.
- Broder: Is that why you've come? To back this thegn (nobleman) who smells of goat shit and sheep pebbles?
Where her brothers couldn't see, Valdis unfolded the bit of fabric she'd been handed, finding it embroidered or painted with flowers and knotwork corners, and smiled. Eivor kept her attention aimed at the other end the table and took another drink.
- Eivor: I'm sorry, did you say something?
- Broder: Do I bore you, Wolf-Kissed?
- Eivor: I'm here to protect my clan. If that means helping your king secure his throne, well, so be it.
Brothir laughed, leaning back and casually putting his foot up on the table.
- Brothir: You'd be safer crowning the throne. It's made of less wood than this one!
He waved toward Oswald with the dagger he'd speared his food upon.
- Eivor: We'd all be safer if you had the stones to stand up to Rued's clan. But between the pair of you, I can't see a single nugget.
Broder stood from his seat.
- Broder: You watch your tongue, Wolf-Kissed. Or you'll find it freed of your face!
- Eivor: So easily wounded by words. Imagine the ruin my axe would inflict on your flaccid ego.
- Broder: My flaccid what?
He stepped angrily onto the table, kicking plates and cups aside to stand over Eivor.
- Oswald: O! Please, stop this.
Eivor stood slowly, still calm.
- Eivor: You heard me.
She kicked the side of the table, knocking it over and sending Broder tumbling with it.
- Brothir: That's it!
The brothers stood and faced off against a smirking Eivor, two-on-one.
- Brothir: She called us flaccid!
- Eivor: Limp, weak, soft...
- Oswald: Ridiculous! Absurd!
- Valdis: This is no way to ensure I'll be queen!
- Finnr: Ha! Reminds of home, those bygone days. Ah! To be so full of vigor again!
- Oswald: This is not how we settle disputes in East Anglia!
- Valdis: Brothers! Stop this! Or I'll have both your arses!
- Oswald: Calm yourselves!
During the fight, someone punched and broke a pot.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: That was expensive! Watch out!
- Finnr: Not worth much now!
Eventually, Eivor defeated both of the brothers in a fist fight.
- Finnr: Stop, all of you! That's enough fun for tonight!
- Eivor: If that's all you've got, it's little wonder East Anglia's in the state it is.
Broder stepped up to Oswald.
- Broder: You're weak, sheep-herder. Your Norse friend here can't change that. We're better off without a king.
The brothers walked off, Valdis following behind them.
- Oswald: Well, that's me done.
- Finnr: I think I prefer dream nonsense to these ale house brawls.
He walked off as well.
- Oswald: What a waste of time and good mead. These brothers will never back me and my claim.
- Eivor: This dance is just beginning, Oswald. Get some rest, you'll need your energy.
- Oswald: And will I see you in the morning? We have much to discuss, I think.
- Eivor: I'll find a place to lay my head.
- Oswald: And Eivor, if you can help me right this situation, you'll have a strong alliance with East Anglia. That much I promise.
Eivor nodded. She found a pile of rugs in the loft of the longhouse and settled in for the night.
Eivor met the steward of East Anglia and its prospective king, Oswald. After learned more about the men who attacked Ravensthorpe. After fighting off more of Rued's men, she was invited to dinner in Elmenham with Oswald. During the dinner, Eivor got into an argument with two warriors, Brodir and Brothir, the future king's fiance's brothers, forcing Eivor to fight them simultaneously.
- "Brothir" and "Broder" both mean "brother", with the first word deriving from Middle English and the second one from Old Norse