Sigurd Styrbjornsson and Eivor entered the newly furnished and repaired long house.
- Sigurd: Fine work. A long house to rival any I have seen. Now come. Randvi has found something I would like you to see.
They walked over to Randvi in the next room.
- Randvi: Eivor. Sigurd. I give you England... and its four kingdoms. Mercia, East Anglia, Northumbria, and Wessex. From the few plans and maps I discovered here, I believe the Sons of Ragnar have pushed further into Mercia, here...
- Randvi: My scouts will soon tell me if I am correct.
- Eivor: And where are we?
- Randvi: Here. In this unnamed copse of trees.
- Sigurd: Unnamed? We cannot let that stand. What will we call this place?
- Eivor: I might have an idea. Ravensthorpe. The village of ravens.
- Sigurd: Hm. I like it. The poet in you sings once again. One day, this name will be known throughout all of England.
- Randvi: A name is only a beginning. If we want renown, we must build. Expand.
- Sigurd: Agreed. We should begin with a forge. Can you help Gunnar get working again?
- Eivor: We will need cargo, supplies.
- Sigurd: For that, our neighbors will provide, whether they wish to or not.
- Randvi: Scarcely arrived and now we must raid?
- Sigurd: We cannot master this land merely by asking.
- Eivor: I'll go and speak with Gunnar now.
- Sigurd: Good work, my dear. And what else have you found?
- Randvi: Short notes, mostly. Scraps of plans, old letters. A few rune-stone messages. It took some time to decipher the mess, and piece it all back together.
Eivor headed to Gunnar's tent.
- Gunnar: Not a bad place, Eivor. Not at all! Can I help you with anything?
- Eivor: Sigurd wants your forge up and running as soon as possible. For that we need supplies and riches.
- Gunnar: Ah! You mean to go a-viking, then! Good, good. How I miss those days! Ransacking and pillaging, blades singing and shields splintering.
- Eivor: I would ask you to join us, but you are the only blacksmith we have. We cannot afford your loss.
- Gunnar: O, it's no bother. Better I forge axes than swing them. My place is here, not pulling on the oar of a river-horse. Though you do remind me... I found a map among the bandits' rubbish. Marked up with the locations of Saxon monk-huts.
- Eivor: Yes. Bandits know as well as we do, monasteries are full of riches and loot.
- Gunnar: Take the map with you. And put it to better use than they did.
Gunnar passed Eivor the map and winked.
- Eivor: We lack the needed supplies to build Gunnar's forge. I should gather the crew and go raiding.
Eivor went to the dock and took command of the longship.
- Eivor: Bend your ears and listen all! For the good of our clan, it is time we go a-viking! Today we raid, that tomorrow we may build!
- Dag Nithisson: At last! We will crack these Christian monasteries like a row of hens' eggs!
- Bragi: The Saxons know we are here, Dag. Their monasteries will be well guarded.
- Dag: Nah! By nothing more than priests and prayers, I'd wager!
- Bragi: Eivor. Look there. A monastery.
- Dag: I stand ready... only say the word!
After they raided the first chest:
- Eivor: That is all we need for Gunnar... but if there is more, we should claim it.
They finished their raid and returned to the longboat.
- Eivor: This was a good day and some fine work from all of you. We should return home and unload everything.
- Dag: Are you certain there aren't a few more gold nuggets squirreled away somewhere?
- Eivor: My gut tells me no.
- Dag: So, Eivor? What's your count?
- Eivor: My count? Dag, I have no need to count my kills. They number too many.
- Dag: Likely story, Wolf-Kissed. Me, I killed... twenty-six I think.
- Bragi: Nah... There were barely a dozen when we arrived, Dag.
- Dag: No, no. You missed them. They attacked from the forest.
Returning back to Ravensthorpe, Eivor approached Gunnar.
- Gunnar: Back so soon? And with good news, I hope.
- Eivor: I think we have all we need.
The forge was built.
- Gunnar: Ah! This is wonderful, Eivor! A forge bigger and hotter than my old forge back in Fornburg. Come visit me anytime. For weapons and gear, there is no man better than me.
- Eivor: I will, Gunnar. Have no doubt.
Eivor returned to the longhouse to speak with Sigurd again. As she entered, she overheard a small group speaking with Randvi.
- Norvid: The Saxons break their kingdoms into smaller territories called shires. This one is called Ledecestrescire... it isn't spelled how you think.
- Sunniva: And as you suspected, the Sons of Ragnar moved there some months ago. We know for sure that Ivarr and Ubba are alive and well in Repton.
- Randvi: Excellent work, both of you. Now have a rest and a horn of ale. You have more than earned it.
- Norvid: Thank you, Randvi. We'll be here if you need us.
Sigurd called Eivor into a room at the side of the longhouse.
- Sigurd: Eivor, in here.
- Eivor: What will you keep in this room?
- Sigurd: My finest weapon. For this room is yours... here you may lay your head, hang your axe, or be alone with your thoughts. Do you like it?
- Eivor: It suits me well. But I would be just as happy lodging with the raiders on the wharf. I need no special treatment.
- Sigurd: This is not special treatment. I want you here in the longhouse, close at hand. I may be the jarl of this clan, but you and I lead together. As ever. So get acquainted with your room. And when you are ready, meet me at the stables.
As Sigurd walked away, Eivor examined her new room. On a table to the right sat an ornately carved wooden box.
- Eivor: A letter box, for messages and requests.
She opened the box and read the letter left for her by Sigurd.
- Sigurd's Letter
I hope this room fits your needs. As we grow our reputation in this land, and make new friends and allies, it will be important to keep constant communication with them.
Randvi will drop any letter you receive into this box. Have a look from time to time.
To the right was a small desk with a note from Randvi regarding the status of Raventhorpe.
- Ravensthorpe's Status: Encampment
Behold, our new encampment, borne from a soot-heap left behind by the Sons of Ragnar. It may look a bit shabby now, but with some effort, we will soon be a beacon of trade and culture.
We currently have the capacity for the following services...
- Once the Blacksmith's forge is up and running, I would recommend building the Hidden Ones Bureau, as Hytham can help us win alliances in the cities of England.
Speak to me if you have any more questions,
Eivor inspected the bed.
- Eivor: A bed better than many I have slept in. And a good place to recover.
Hm. Not much, but it is mine.
Eivor left the longhouse and headed toward Rowan's stables, where she saw Sigurd, Dag and Basim Ibn Ishaq. Basim was already on a horse, about to leave.
- Basim: Yes. Be ready to ride at a moment's notice.
- Hytham: Count on it, my friend. The path ahead is bright.
- Basim: With glory at its end.
Basim rode east out of the settlement, calling farewell to Eivor as he passed. She approached Sigurd and Dag, who seemed to be in an argument.
- Dag: But why now?
- Sigurd: Dag, please. This must be done.
- Dag: Yes, and I can help! Look at me, look at these arms! I am a beast!
- Eivor: What was that about? Is Basim leaving us already?
- Dag: Sigurd means to leave as well.
- Eivor: Is that true?
- Sigurd: We know the Sons of Ragnar have camped in the North. It would do us well to pay them a visit, to strengthen our ties to this land.
- Eivor: Is that where Basim has gone?
- Sigurd: Basim's motives are his own, leave it at that. We have more pressing plans. I am riding to Ledecestrescire, to a town called Repton. Eivor, I expect you to join me when you have finished here.
- Eivor: I can come now. I only need a horse.
- Sigurd: Not yet. First speak with Randvi. She has more than one task for you here. Apart from growing this settlement, you must seek out alliances as well. We cannot pacify England with so few friends.
- Dag: Then I must join you, Sigurd. For I am a fitter companion on long roads.
- Sigurd: No, Dag, you belong here with the raiders. And you will act as Eivor commands.
Sigurd mounted his horse while Dag threw Eivor a glare.
- Eivor: Ride in safety, Brother. I will follow as soon as I can.
- Dag: Yes! And I will keep our raiders sharp.
Sigurd rode off, leaving a frustrated Dag.
- Dag: Do as Eivor commands? Is he testing me?
- Eivor: He may be. Sigurd is a wise man.
- Dag: I would sooner take orders from a louse.
Dag stalked off.
Eivor and her crew raided a monastery and gathered enough materials to build a forge for Gunnar in Ravensthorpe.