Eivor travelled to Lunden to search for an alliance.
Eivor went and spoke to Randvi about pledging to Lunden.
- Eivor: Hytham asked that I travel to Lunden. What do you know of it?
- Randvi: A wild city, one that Halfdan Ragnarsson tried to claim for himself, years ago. But it resists all attempts to be held.
- Eivor: Hytham claims that the city was overrun by a strange cult. The Order of the Ancients. He asked that I tracked them down and kill them. Doing so may help the honest people there, and earn us an ally in the process.
- Randvi: In a city so chaotic, it is worth a try. Approach by the north gate, and start asking around.
Eivor pledged to Lunden.
- Eivor: I will.
- Randvi: Good. I await your return.
Following Randvi's advice, Eivor travelled to Lunden and arrived at the northern gates.
- Eivor: The Cripple Gate of Lunden. Might find an official worth his salt here.
Around the gate, Eivor found toppled carts, strewn goods, and a crowd of people in poor state. At the front, a man stood on a platform, addressing a crowd.
- Stowe: I beg patience, all! We'll have this wrack cleaned up in no time! Keep it steady.
Stowe jumped down from his makeshift podium.
- Stowe: Here you are, love.
He picked an apple from the ground, handing it to a young girl, then spoke to the man beside her.
- Stowe: Bear up, Master Hamme, you'll be on your way shortly.
Eivor stepped up beside Stowe as he moved through the gathered people.
- Eivor: Something of a shepherd, aren't you?
- Stowe: It can feel that way, aye. Can I help you with something?
- Eivor: Who governs this burgh? I would like to speak with him if I can.
- Stowe: Ah, the governor Tryggr. A good and fair Dane, come to Lunden four year back.
- Eivor: Tryggr.
- Stowe: Aye. Most hours of the day, you can find him at the old villa, dealing with all manner of knavery.
- Norse Warrior 1: Stowe!
The warrior pushed two civilians out of his way, with two more Norsemen following. Slobbish, the warrior snatched a quill from the hand of a nearby scribe. He shoved Eivor aside to wave the quill in Stowe's face.
Eivor grabbed the warrior's head from behind and threw him down against a nearby stack of crates.
- Eivor: We're talking.
Stowe looked at her, impressed and stepped up to speak to Avgos's men.
- Stowe: Gentlemen, the farmers of Mercia have paid their burden already. If Avgos wants more, he can petition for it.
A bigger Norseman walked forward and stepped on the hand of the girl gathering apples. He reached down and grabbed the apple she'd been reaching for, then stepped off.
- Norse Soldier 1: Petition for it? Well, you can tell that old mud-merchant—
In front of the girl, he shoved the apple into his pants, then turned to Stowe and gestured to it.
- Norse Soldier 1: —that if he wants his appl... He can bob for it.
- Stowe: That belongs to Master Hamme, Sir.
The soldier walked up to Stowe.
- Norse Soldier 1: Bob for it.
- Stowe: That is filthy.
- Norse Soldier 1: Bob for it!
Stowe raised his brows at the man screaming in his face, then looked to Eivor who smiled in support. Stowe kneed the man between the legs and punched him in the face. The Norse soldiers attacked and Eivor joined the brawl with Stowe.
- Eivor: Is this kind of noise common to Lunden?
- Stowe: No, we've a quiet day, once in a great while! Try not to kill anyone, eh?
- Norse Warrior 1: I'll wear your face as a skull cap, Stowe!
- Stowe: Watch your head there!
- Eivor: Eyes on your foe!
After beating the soldiers, Eivor and Stowe returned to their conversation.
- Stowe: God'n Heaven, you fight like the Devil's stolen your bread.
- Eivor: You give some hard knocks yourself.
Stowe looked to the scribe.
- Stowe: Roald, be a good lad an' prick the names of those that pay their food tax, will you?
Stowe looked back to Eivor.
- Stowe: Right then, you've some dealings with Governor Tryggr, was that it?
- Eivor: I'll have dealings with any who can deliver a fair friendship with my Raven Clan. If that's you, then all the better.
- Stowe: Ach, no. Tryggr's your fellow. I'm the shire reeve (sheriff) of Lunden's westerly half. I keep things ordered and fair.
- Eivor: Shire Reeve is not a name that rides easy on the tongue.
- Stowe: Reeve's my title, sorry. Stowe's my name. Stowe of Lunden.
- Eivor: A burly name for a burly man. I like one who can hold himself in a brawl.
- Stowe: To walk tall in Lunden, a man must know how to swing his fists.
- Eivor: It's not empty praise I give.
- Stowe: Well, your candor is ... appreciated.
- Eivor: Take me to your governor, Stowe. He sounds like a man worth knowing.
Eivor followed Stowe through the gate into Lunden.
- Stowe: And what can I call you. Humbler of Thugs? Dane-hammer?
- Eivor: I am Eivor of the Raven Clan. We have a settlement to the north, just off the river Nene.
- Stowe: Well, I owe you a great debt, Eivor. You're a worthy ally.
- Eivor: So, this is Lunden. A city built by giants.
- Stowe: So they say! She's an old place, and surly as they come. But there's a mystery here I quite adore. I was raised here, in fact. Learned the scriptures of Christ's apostles in Lundenwic, our Saxon borough just past the western walls.
- Eivor: You're not a priest, are you?
- Stowe: No, I was raised by them. And for a penniless bastard, I turned out pretty well.
- Eivor: A penniless bastard, and now Lunden's fearless Reeve.
- Stowe: Well, it's Tryggr who saw something in me. He judges not the circumstance of my birth. His two hands, left and right, are me and a Dane-born soldier, Erke. Erke's an orphan of the last Viking] horde to put down in Lunden for a season. Two or three years back now, it must have been. It's through Tryggr I met Erke, and now we reeves walk the city like parents looking after our children. A native son and an imported Dane, see? Lunden's a city built of many pieces.
Eivor and Stowe arrived at the Governor's Villa, but they sensed something awry.
- Stowe: Wait, something's wrong...
- Eivor: Iron on the air. This blood is fresh.
As they entered the courtyard, Eivor and Stowe found it covered in blood and the arrow-riddled corpses of guards.
- Stowe: These were good men! What's happened here?
Wary, Eivor and Stowe walked slowly inside the villa. Immediately, Stowe looked shocked and dismayed.
- Stowe: God, no! No, no, no!
Stowe ran inside where Erke stood beside the throne and the mutilated and decapitated corpse of Governor Tryggr. Despairing, Stowe fell to his knees before the gruesome sight.
- Erke: It took three arrows to kill him. The next twelve were an insult.
- Stowe: O Lord, deliver these men where the light of thy countenance visiteth and shines upon them.
Erke looked at Eivor and frowned.
- Erke: We've no need for outsiders, Stowe. It's a private matter.
- Stowe: There's no cause to be leery. Eivor had my back in a brawl at Cripple Gate. More thugs from the garrison.
- Erke: Hm. You must be a real broga to hold your own against those shithogs. It's time to fetter those men, Stowe. It can't go on like ... like this.
- Eivor: If this one had a head, you'd be calling him Tryggr, yes? Your governor?
- Stowe: God above, the man is dead! Some respect, please.
- Erke: We'll get along well, you and me.
- Eivor: You must be Erke, Lunden's second reeve.
- Erke: He would have welcomed you heartily. He was a trusting man. And that got him here.
- Stowe: Have you found anything?
- Erke: I just arrived. The killers left a letter on the body there.
- Eivor: I'll have a look around.
Eivor began to investigate for clues in the villa.
- Stowe: Tryggr had men with him at all times. How could the killers get through?
- Erke: They must have been known to him. Well enough to get close without suspicion.
- Stowe: Good and holy Christ, that could be most anyone. He governed this burgh!
Eivor looked at the letter on the corpse.
- Eivor: This letter. Someone wanted us to see it. "From Rome went an order of heretics who worshipped the relics of a time before Christ."
- Stowe: Erke, this was the letter he told us about. Said it contained fearful news about Lunden.
- Eivor: It warns of three such heathens who have infiltrated Lunden. His killers I expect.
Stowe and Erke also looked around.
- Stowe: O, dear...
- Erke: What is it?
- Stowe: Dirty notes from a mistress... sorry, mistresses. In Tryggr's desk.
- Erke: O, yes. The old man had a wandering hand and eye.
- Stowe: I didn't know. I didn't think...
- Erke: He didn't want you to. It was his secret to keep.
- Stowe: Find anything?
- Erke: Besides enough blood to repaint the city's faded bricks? No.
Eivor checked on the reeves.
- Stowe: I can't make head or foot of all this. I just... I just can't.
- Erke: Look at us sitting on our laurels, while Eivor does all the work.
Eivor found another clue at the main entrance.
- Eivor: Three sets of footprints leave. Two average and one massive.
Eivor looked at some crates, broke them, and found tools.
- Eivor: A barber-surgeon's tools. Sharp and precise for easy butchery. Must've been what was used to free Tryggr's head from his neck.
Eivor went upstairs and found a letter on a desk.
- Letter to Ubba
Ubba, my commander, my friend.
I hope you are in high spirits in this warm weather. While Lunden never gets as cold as Norway, it rains here nearly every day. I feel as cold and grey as a fish. A common affliction here, I've found.
Still, the walls hold strong and our larders stay fat with bounty. I do not miss going a-viking. I've seen enough golden sunrises for my days. Now I am ready to rest on my laurel and have my taste of the city's trollops.
If you grow tired of sleeping on ships, or of wearing Ivarr around your neck like a noose, there is always a throne for you here.
Your brother in arms,
Looking above, Eivor spotted a hanged guard near the ceiling and searched the body.
- Eivor: I don't envy this man's death. Hang on, there's something in his hand. This was not Tryggr's seal?
- Erke: Nay, it looks Roman in origin. Must've been on a letter he opened.
- Eivor: It must have been significant to this guard for him to grasp it even in death.
- Stowe: Mayhaps it's what got him killed.
- Eivor: I think I have a clear idea of what happened here.
Eivor recounted the probable events leading up to Tryggr's murder.
- Eivor: Tryggr was shot where he sat, probably as he read the letter. One of his guards grabbed the seal and tried to escape. He didn't make it. A second killer found him first. He met his end at the noose, lifted by the bigger man. A third attacker took his eyes... then came for Tryggr's head. Symbolic maybe. Headless leader, eyeless guards. The killers were without fear. This kill was a message. Their footprints leave together, three sets, heading back to the courtyard.
Eivor held the letter in her hand, regrouping with Erke and Stowe at the throne.
- Eivor: The letter mentions three heretics, named only by monikers. The Leech, The Arrow, The Compass. Signed by someone calling himself a Poor-Fellow Soldier of Christ.
- Erke: Poor-Fellow Soldier. Odd name.
- Stowe: Three names, three killers. As you said.
- Erke: Baldr's sack, it could be anyone in Lunden. Who can we trust?
- Stowe: Only the people in this room, I fear.
- Eivor: Even that would be unwise, until we know more.
- Stowe: The Arrow is described as a pugnacious Dane invader. That describes too many in Lunden.
- Erke: The Leech hails from Wessex. Lunden is home to many of them as well.
- Eivor: And The Compass, a Frankish captain.
Erke and Stowe looked at each other and shook their heads.
- Stowe: Less common, but no face comes to mind.
Eivor showed the reeves the wax seal she found on the hanged soldier.
- Eivor: What is this symbol here?
- Erke: I recognized that from the Mithraic Temple. I passed it on the way here.
- Erke: I understand. Only get some air from time to time. It reeks in here. Shall we, Broga?
Eivor nodded. Leaving Stowe to tend to Tryggr's body, Erke and Eivor headed for the temple, but heard a scream from the courtyard before they could even get down the stairs.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman 1: The guards have been murdered!
- Norse Woman 1: To arms! Defend Tryggr!
- Erke: Well, now the locals have caught a whiff of this fetid mess. The Temple is yours to explore, Eivor. It's to the east of here. I must wear my Reeve's face for a time.
As Eivor walked away, Erke addressed the gathering crowd.
- Erke: Keep away! Keep away! The fight is over! Town hall will follow soon!
Eivor left the villa and headed east for the temple.
- Eivor: Should the reeves change their minds, I will have to gut them and put a puppet atop Lunden's throne. But, Stowe seems a good man. I will trust his word.
Eivor arrived at the Temple of Mithras to find it crawling with soldiers.
- Eivor: The Temple of Mithras, well-guarded for a tangle of old ruins. I need to find the entrance.
In the center of the ruins, Eivor located set of stairs descending into the ground. At the bottom, Eivor found a crack in the wall, big enough to squeeze through. Going through the temple, Eivor investigated the area and found a letter.
- Recruitment Orders:
We must increase our strength to stage our coup. Drum up some support from the layabouts at the West Market. Archers are needed in force.
We need them to man those new springalds you're so enamored with. I will return when you send word of your success.
- Eivor: The Compass holds sway over the others. He's ordered The Arrow to recruit archers in a market to the west. Worth a visit.
Eivor investigated the temple further and found more tools and a letter.
- Eivor: Tools for a surgeon, finely crafted. Like we found in the villa. And there's a letter here, arranging payment to a blacksmith.
Eivor found a door, but it was barred. Maneuvering around the temple, Eivor found a secret entrance to the same room and found more correspondence.
- Orders from The Compass:
Governor Tryggr means to interfere with our work. We must eliminate him now and make a grand show of it. Take his head if you desire, and serve his eyes to the river eels.
His head and eyes will remain with me, for they greatly aid my work. We are the wet machines of an early age, and there is nothing about us that cannot be improved with effort and pain.
I have arranged a meeting with Tryggr tomorrow morning to discuss the opening of the port to Francian concerns. This will be his last negotiation. Be ready with your tools. The Arrow will bring his own.
Father, Mother, and Sacred Voice go with you.
- Eivor: Messages between The Leech and The Compass. Healing. Gutting. The Leech is a strange one, but The Compass calls the strikes.
After finding out the clues of the three targets, Eivor caught sight of a note on a stone altar.
- Liber Antiquae Deorum:
Let our wretched origins be known...
We are the instruments of the ancient gods. We are the refuse of the ancient world. Yet we are the hope for an era reborn.
Let our great task be stated...
We are the shepherds of our creators' will. We are the curators of our creators' will. We are the new masters of the world they made.
Let our royalties be clear...
The Father of Understanding guides us. The Mother of Wisdom inspires us. The Sacred Voice fills our hearts with boldness.
Let it be known...
We men and women of the Order of the Ancients are the natural arbiters of the world. Let all those who oppose us perish in pain. We are everywhere, and we are eternal.
In the name of Mithras, the Last Warrior, go forth and dominate. Reclaim the world that is ours by will.
- Eivor: I've got enough to go on for now. Erke and Stowe must see all this. I see more bloodshed in Lunden's future. At least, Sýnin will feast.
Eivor left the temple and returned to the Governor's Villa, where Stowe and Erke were trying to clean up the mess.
- Stowe: It's worth knocking on a few doors, that's all I'm saying!
- Erke: Tryggr wasn't killed because you want to plant a few trees and fix a few roofs in Lunden!
- Eivor: Looks less like a meal for crows in here.
- Erke: Eivor. You bring good findings, I hope.
Eivor took out the evidence she found.
- Eivor: A few sheets of vellum, notes between members of a secret society. The Order of the Ancients, they are called.
- Stowe: Order of the Ancients. Doesn't sound any bells in my head. What's their purpose?
- Eivor: That would take some time to explain. But know this, that I'm here to kill them. In Lunden, it seems The Compass is the head. The Arrow and The Leech are his hands.
- Erke: Pet names and secret orders, what a crock! Do we know anything we can act on?
(If "The Arrow is a Dane." is chosen.)
- Eivor: The Arrow is a Dane who has seen his share of battle. His name suggests he's an archer.
- Stowe: I'd bet my knuckles he's the one sowing discord among the Danes that shelter in Lunden.
- Erke: If it were me, I'd hide among my ranks. Surrounded by other fighting men.
- Eivor: The Arrow has orders from The Compass to recruit soldiers at a market in the west.
- Stowe: I know the very place.
(If "The Leech buys thralls." is chosen.)
- Eivor: The Leech has need of flesh. Been looking for thralls, though I can't say why.
- Erke: We've found a number of dead down by the quays lately. But not thralls alone. Some of the missing we find again in several places, cut to pieces.
- Stowe: Good Lord, Erke.
(If "The Compass leads them." is chosen.)
- Eivor: The Compass is a mystery. He's mentioned often, but there's little to go on.
- Erke: Said he was a Frankish captain, did you? To find him, we'd have to mark the ships that came and went along the Thames.
- Stowe: Captains are a transient sort. It may be he's far away, keeping quiet.
- Eivor: That may be. But would he scream if we cut off his hands?
- Erke: O, you've a filthy mind for strategy.
- Eivor: We kill The Arrow and The Leech, then sit back and wait. Let The Compass come to us.
(Leave – "Let's go.")
- Eivor: Let's not waste any more time. We will find The Arrow and The Leech. Killing both should drag The Compass back into port. Stowe, I'll catch you at the Western Market.
- Stowe: Count on it.
- Erke: And I'll make for the quays. There's another few bodies there to fish out of the muck.
- Eivor: It could be The Leech is back at work.
- Stowe: God be with us, friends. Go in His name, and be protected by Him.'
Eivor set out to find The Arrow and The Leech.
Eivor met Stowe and Erke Bodilsson, the reeves of Lunden. She agreed to help them investigate the death of the governor Tryggr, uncovering three members of the Order of the Ancients, known as The Arrow, The Leech, and The Compass.