Eivor met with new visitors from who brought generous gifts from Francia.
Eivor received a letter when she arrived in Ravensthorpe.
- Letter from Randvi
Two visitors have arrived at Ravensthorpe from Francia. One a young Norse warrior from Jarl Sinric's clan near Paris, and the other seems to be a Frank. They have already built us a new guesthouse as a gift from Sinric's brother Sigfred. I am no seer, but it is obvious they want something from us.
The warrior, a girl named Toka, has been asking after you. Speak with them and find out what they really want.
- Eivor: They bring a feast, and build their own guesthouse. These are very generous guests.
Eivor went and neared closer to the new visitors while overhearing some chatter.
- Norse Warrior 1: Did you see that one who came with the new arrivals? She looks young to be raiding.
- Norse Man 1: Are they raiders? A strange company.
Eivor was near the guesthouse and heard the woman admiring a sword.
- Toka: That is a good sword.
Eivor entered the visitors' area as Toka looked to the preparations.
- Toka: Is that everything? This feast has to be great.
The other visitor walked out of their guesthouse.
Eivor walked up to the pair.
- Eivor: Welcome to Ravensthorpe. I am Eivor, though you seem to know me already.
- Toka: You are well known to us. I am Toka Sinricdottir, and the Frankish bore with me is my advisor, Pierre. We are here on behalf of Sigfred of Francia, renowned warrior and leader of the Northmen there.
- Eivor: You look to be at home here already.
- Toka: How could we not be? What have you done in this place is amazing. The guesthouse is a fitting addition. We have also bought new tastes for your longtable from Francia. If it is drink you prefer, we have mulled wine.
- Eivor: Very generous. Some might say overly generous.
- Toka: Consider it a token of good will from the hand of my uncle Sigfred. You know, clan to clan.
- Eivor: There'll be blood if any here heard I refused a feast, so ... consider it accepted.
- Toka: Yes! You honor us. Ravensthorpe reminds me of how Francia used to be. Given the chance, I would visit often.
- Eivor: You would be welcome. Yet you do not share your gifts for nothing. I await the boon you surely will ask of me.
- Toka: Tales of your judgment prove true. You can teach some of that wisdom over ale this day. Shall we begin?
(Yes − Let us begin the feast)
- Eivor: Let us see if these Frankish treats hold up to scrutiny.
- Toka: Let us eat!
Festivities took place as Randvi and Eivor dined with Toka and Pierre.
- Pierre: How one can prefer ale to wine! Mon Dieu! (My God!) It astounds me still! You Norse may have us Franks on the battlefield, but when it comes to drink, we stand unbeaten.
- Eivor: This wine is great, I admit.
- Pierre: So Northerners do have a sense of taste!
The group laughed.
- Toka: I want to show you something...
Eivor looked to Pierre, who shrugged in confusion, as a response. Toka came back with a sword.
- Toka: In our travels throughout England, I have taken swords in raids and battles. This I took in a holmgang against two oafish brothers in East Anglia. 'Tis but a wound-twig, but is still my favorite.
- Eivor: So you have travelled to all corners of this land before arriving at Ravensthorpe. To what end?
- Toka: I mean to entice you and others like you to join in the glorious raids along the river Seine.
- Eivor: Who have you talked with thus far?
- Toka: Many ... Jarl Hemming, Guthrum, even Halfdan...
Randvi looked at Toka suspiciously.
- Toka: Paris itself is set to be sieged, and after that we will have amassed more riches than anyone in England has dared imagine.
- Eivor: Let me guess how many jarls will join you on your Frankish raids and sieges. None.
- Toka: They just fail to see the scale of the bounty we stand to plunder.
- Eivor: What do you really want, Toka?
Toka looked at Pierre, who nodded in agreement.
- Toka: Every word I have said is true. But there is something else ... a new power is rising in Francia.
- Eivor: What kind of power?
- Toka: The Frankish Kingdoms have been united under one king, Charles the Fat.
Both Eivor and Toka looked to a burning hay replica of Charles the Fat.
- Toka: And with this combined strength, Charles has begun a slow march against the Norse villages there. He killed my father and wiped out my village...
- Eivor: I am sorry for your father and your village. But we have our own troubles here in this land.
- Toka: With Charles the Fat in power, those troubles will worsen. After his campaign in Francia, he will come for England.
Pierre unveiled a map detailing Charles' projected expansion.
- Toka: Charles will come for you and your clan. His armies multiply by the day. Real soldiers and cavalry, not like the Saxon farm hands and gillers in these parts.
- Eivor: If the Raven Clan were to help you, what is it you would ask of us?
- Toka: Our chieftain, Sigfred, prepares to siege Paris and make the Franks rethink their actions against we Norse. And our longships will grow heavy with treasure in the doing.
Eivor looked at the map and thought about her response. Time passed and Randvi and Eivor sat down and talked with each other.
- Randvi: My scouts attest to the claims of Toka and her people. But, before now, I saw no reason to involve our clan.
- Eivor: Do you see reason now?
- Randvi: If the mad king Charles does have ambitions for England, we should act. This Sigfred she mentioned, he rallies the Norse there. Joining him could be our chance to push back against this new king.
- Eivor: Or I can meet this Charles myself. And if he will not deal with me, I kill him.
Randvi stood up mid-response.
- Randvi: This problem is bigger than one king. If we kill one, another will rise. Were he murdered by a Norse from England, it could bring the Franks to our shores even sooner.
- Eivor: Then I will be mindful of who I kill and who I ally with in Francia. Could be a stable king is the way to keep Ravensthorpe safe.
A drunk Toka shouted nearby at a drunk Pierre.
- Toka: Let me see the sword. I ... wish to examine the ironwork.
- Pierre: No! I stole this and it is mine.
- Toka: Fine. If you will not show it to me, I will have to take it. Ready yourself, Pierre. I challenge you to a holmgang!
Eivor interrupted them.
- Eivor: Enough. Toka, you came here looking for help with this new Frankish threat. The Raven Clan will answer your call.
- Toka: You will? You will! I promise, you will not regret this. Find Pierre when you have prepared and we will make for Francia at once.
- Pierre: Thank you.
Pierre and Toka left to prepare their leave. Randvi stepped forward and looked towards Eivor, as both looked later towards the distance. Time passed and Eivor woke up on the ground near the feast.
- Eivor: Ugh, my head. I should have kept to ale. Toka said to find Pierre when I'm ready to travel to Francia.
Eivor met with the Viking, Toka Sinricsdottir, and the Frankish informant Pierre, who were based near Paris in Francia. Eivor was alerted of King Charles, who was with ambitions and plans to invade England, putting Eivor's clan in danger. Discussing with Randvi, Eivor agreed to travel to Francia to negotiate with Charles.
Behind the scenes
The name of the memory is a reference to the English translation of the phrase "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" from the Aeneid, a epic poem by Virgil that retells the Trojan War from Aeneas' perspective. The phrase is broadly interpreted as "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", but in modern English is usually taken as a proverb warning against trusting any enemy even if they appear to have tempting offers.