Eivor went to speak to Randvi at the alliance map about her next pledge
- Eivor: So Ceolbert has traveled to Sciropescire.
- Randvi: He has, into a difficult situation. The Shire has been mired in a long war with Rhodri, King of the Britons. Ceolbert hopes to negotiate a peace with the Britons of the west. A difficult task for one so green.
- Eivor: I hope your tutelage has prepared him well,
- Randvi: Indeed. But I think it best if you supervise these talks. If Ceolbert can make this work, we will gain a valuable alliance.
Eivor pledged herself to Sciropescire.
- Eivor: I'll make my way to Sciropescire.
- Randvi: I am relieved. He and Ivarr should be in Quatford just now. You will find it along the Afon Hafren River.
- Eivor: If Ivarr is with him, I will certainly be needed.
Upon arriving in Quatford and approaching the longhouse, Eivor overheard a conversation.
- Anglo-Saxon Man: We've had nothing for days.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: Nettle and turnips. It's all I could find.
- Anglo-Saxon Child: Smells good, that.
- Anglo-Saxon Woman: There you go, young man.
- Anglo-Saxon Man: Curse this war. Say your thanks, Bertwic.
- Anglo-Saxon Child: Thank you, ma'am.
Eivor entered the longhouse and saw Ceolbert and Ivarr sparring.
- Ivarr: Come on, boy... ha!
- Ceolbert: Aaah, oof.
- Ivarr: You wouldn't stop a lamb. Come on.
- Ceolbert: I hurt my shoulder.
- Ivarr: Shake it off.
- Ceolbert: Ha!
- Ivarr: Don't hold back. Follow through!
- Ceolbert: Aaaah!
- Ivarr: And...
- Ceolbert: Oof!
- Ivarr: To your feet. Up! You keep moving as long as your body will follow. Whoop!
Eivor approached the two. Ivarr picked up Ceolbert from behind and threw him to the ground.
- Ivarr: Ah ah! Not half bad, boy. But be fierce. Dirty. Strike at my balls!
- Eivor: Ivarr, are you training the boy or tormenting him?
- Ivarr: One will lead to the other in time.
Ceolbert dusted himself off.
- Ceolbert: Eivor, well met. You received my message, and just in time. Our negotiations with the Britons have not yet begun.
- Eivor: I will be at your side when they do. Is there anything I should know first?
- Ceolbert: The venerable King Rhodri is here. I am to deal with him directly.
- Ivarr: Rhodri is desperate for peace, ever since we captured his sniveling brother, Gwriad. Sounds like a man coughing up snot. Gwriad ap Merfyn!
- Ceolbert: Rhodri waits at the church nearby.
- Eivor: Who speaks for Sciropescire in these talks?
- Ceolbert: The last ealdorman was killed in battle. Bishop Deorlaf is standing in.
- Ivarr: Until we get this wet whelp installed! That is his father's wish.
- Ceolbert: I find the idea of leading a shire on my own quite... quite terrifying.
- Eivor: It's a grave thing to be ealdorman in a time of war, Ceolbert.
- Ivarr: He will piss his pants first thing, that's for certain.
- Eivor: As future ealdorman, you should speak in the talks as well. But with humility. Rhodri is a king and will expect to be treated as one.
- Ivarr: Rhodri will want us to get down on our knees and sniff the rosy wind blowing from his ass. I know the man.
- Eivor: You've met him?
- Ivarr: Met him, fought him. He gave me this nick here.
Ivarr gestured to the scar along his face.
- Ivarr: He gave me this nick here. Maybe I can give him one back. Remind him some call me King Killer.
- Eivor: It may be you should stay behind, Ivarr. That's not a recipe for a good parlay.
- Ceolbert: I'd like you both to be there. To guide me, to judge my fitness.
- Eivor: Give us your word then. Your blade stays in its sheath.
- Ivarr: Eivor, don't make me laugh. We both know what my word is worth. But sure, I will let you do the talking. Probably.
- Ceolbert: Excellent. Now... to the church, I think. Our guests await.
Ceolbert walked away as Ivarr gestured to Eivor to walk along. The three mounted horses and headed to the church.
- Ceolbert: It's not far, just across the village. We've been at war with the Britons for coming on two years.
- Ivarr: The Britons had the best of it, 'til me and my berserkrs plowed through their ranks and chased Rhodri's brother into a ditch.
- Ceolbert: That's why Rhodri's talking peace now. It's thanks to Ivarr.
- Ivarr: I am going to enjoy seeing him squeal, the old oak. Not nearly as much as taking him down, though. That would seal my legacy.
- Eivor: Your legacy?
- Ivarr: As King Killer. They do not all get away like Burgred did, Wolf-Kissed.
- Eivor: Keep the peace, Ivarr.
- Ivarr: What has become of your preening brother?
- Eivor: Ah, my brother. We parted. His road is unsure.
- Ivarr: You are better off leaving that sauntering pole in your wake.
They dismounted and approached the church.
- Ceolbert: Our Bishop Deorlaf and King Rhodri are ensconced in the church ahead.
- Eivor: These houses of Christ. They're all so hard and cold.
- Ceolbert: Yet within is warmth. The Christian God unites King Rhodri, Bishop Deorlaf, and myself. On His ground, peace will be made.
- King Rhodri: Captain Ynyr! Explain to the good bishop our position.
- Ynyr ap Cadfarch: Yes, my sovereign. Bishop Deorlaf. We are deaf to offers of peace until Gwriad is returned to us.
The three approached the group.
- Bishop Deorlaf: The king's brother is—
Ivarr barged into the group in the middle of conversation.
- Ivarr: The king's brother is a moldering sack of cow dung.
- King Rhodri: You. I know your face, your stench. Ivarr... the one they call Boneless. Did I not gift you that scar myself?
- Ivarr: Ah! You did, and I mean to gift you a gash, you reeking piss pot. In your fat fucking skull!
Eivor stepped in the middle.
- Eivor: Hold! both of you!
- Bishop Deorlaf: Now, now, calm everyone. Good faith is all I ask.
- King Rhodri: You know my demands. Until my brother Gwriad walks free, peace between us is impossible.
- Ivarr: He is lucky he can walk at all! Fell on his own blade fleeing from us!
- King Rhodri: I will soon help you fall on yours.
- Angharad: Husband. Keep your head. It is in our interest to find a way to peace. All of us.
- King Rhodri: First, my brother.
- Ivarr: First your head on a pike. Then the runt goes free.
Rhodri started to reach for his sword.
- Angharad: Husband! No!
She stepped between Rhodri and Ivarr.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Enough! This is a house of God! Let us take some few minutes to gather ourselves, shall we? Eivor, to me.
The bishop approached Eivor.
- Bishop Deorlaf: I do not know you well, but Ceolbert believes you a steady head. We need such a one.
- Eivor: It may be too late. I see the crows of war gathering.
- Bishop Deorlaf: I have a hefty sum of silver. Speak to the people here. If the silver will help one bring us toward peace, offer it to them.
He gave her a bag of 650 silver pieces. Eivor first spoke to Ceolbert.
- Ceolbert: These talks are stalled. I fear the upshot.
- Eivor: Do not fret. You will be ealdorman yet.
Eivor then spoke to King Rhodri.
- Eivor: King Rhodri.
- King Rhodri: What is it, Dane?
- Eivor: I wish to help you to peace.
- King Rhodri: I will not talk of peace until my brother Gwriad, is returned to me.
- Eivor: If you first agree to peace, he will be returned. Would a sum of silver help overleap this difficulty?
- King Rhodri: I cannot be purchased with looted silver, Dane. Stand away.
Ivarr complained loudly.
- Ivarr: Talk, talk, talk! All we do is talk!
Eivor spoke to Ynyr.
- Eivor: You are with Rhodri, yes? One of his advisors?
- Ynyr Ap Cadfarch: I am that. Ynyr ap Cadfarch by name. Address me proper.
- Eivor: Tell me... soldier... do you still hold sway with your king?
- Ynyr Ap Cadfarch: He consults me for his every decision. If I push for war, he will agree. If I argue for peace, he will follow.
- Eivor: Peace is our desired end. Is there a chance that some silver might lead you to counsel your king in the same direction?
- Ynyr Ap Cadfarch: A sack of silver? For me? Hm. Yes, I might amend my advice to Rhodri for a tidy sum of shining metal. Yes.
Ivarr complained again.
- Ivarr: We should settle this with blood, not pretty words.
Eivor next spoke to Angharad.
- Eivor: Lady. Let is get past the anger and find our way to an agreement. What is your husband's greatest concern?
- Angharad: The royal treasury has been depleted by the war. This brings immense strain to Rhodri and his every decision.
- Eivor: If I could provide a boon of silver, would that guide your husband way from the war?
- Angharad: A replenished treasury would certainly help my husband come to peace.
Ivarr threw a pot to the ground, breaking it.
- Ivarr: Ahh! Enough of this nonsense!
Eivor approached Ivarr.
- Eivor: Ivarr.
- Ivarr: Lock the doors. Murder that sweating pig and have done with it.
- Eivor: If I could find you silver, would that quell your bitterness while we seek peace?
- Ivarr: Peace. Is that what you think is going to happen here? I told you, I know this bastard.
- Eivor: Will silver quiet you?
- Ivarr: It may, it may not. I would have to see the silver in my hands to know for sure.
Eivor finally spoke to Gwriad ap Merfyn.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: (pained moan)
- Eivor: You are Gwriad, are you not? Brother to King Rhodri.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: So I am. And a bruised pawn in your bloody game.
- Eivor: How do you stand with your brother?
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: My brother loves me well. Yet he can be slow and stubborn. Were I king, I'd have played all this quite differently.
- Eivor: What if you had the chance?
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: At the crown? I would leap at the chance to rule. But a man needs wealth to bring down a king. Nobles must be bought, you understand.
- Eivor: I make no promises, but I may be able to find you the silver you need.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: Under what terms?
- Eivor: Knock Rhodri from his throne, withdraw all Briton soldiers from Sciropescire, and never again threaten this border.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: If you speak true, I would make that bargain gladly.
Eivor finished her investigations.
- Eivor: I should report what I know to Bishop Deorlaf.
Eivor found a note on a podium in the back of the church.
- Letter to Bishop Deorlaf from Ceolwulf:
It is my intention to install my son, Ceolbert, as Ealdorman of Sciropescire.
However, he is yet young and untested. I ask that you, good Bishop, stand as ealdorman and exercise all attendant powers until such time as my boy grows into himself. At which point, you shall return to your God-ordained duties.
Ceolwulf, King of Mercia
Eivor spoke to Deorlaf.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Eivor, my friend.
- Eivor: I asked around as you suggested.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Have you come to a decision? To whom have you given the silver?
(I'm still thinking it over.)
- Eivor: I have yet to make my decision.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Please, don't tarry.
Eivor left to bribe her candidate.
- Eivor: Take this. Spend it as you will, and tell Rhodri his best path is peace.
- Ynyr ap Cadfarch: You have a bargain.
Eivor spoke to him again.
- Eivor: Ynyr.
- Ynyr ap Cadfarch: You again. What of the silver you spoke of?
- Eivor: Lady Angharad. Take this silver. Do what you can to calm your husband.
- Angharad: I shall. The Kingdom of Gwynedd thanks you.
Eivor spoke to her again.
- Eivor: Dear lady.
- Angharad: The treasure you spoke of would help bring us to peace.
- Eivor: Damn your eyes. Here is the silver. Do with it what you will, but do not upset this chance at peace.
- Ivarr: I did not know you were so foolish with coin.
After Eivor walked away, Ivar bragged aloud.
- Ivarr: Silver! Good. I can bludgeon Rhodri to death with how heavy a bag I have.
Ivarr spoke aloud afterward.
- Ivarr: Now you dangle silver before me? Are you so frightened of the Britons that you fight your battles with wealth?
Eivor spoke to him again.
- Ivarr: Back again, eh? Brought any treasure with you? I will see that it is well spent.
- Eivor: Take this silver, depose your brother, and you'll rule with our support.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: His blood will gush at my first opportunity.
Eivor spoke to him again.
- Eivor: Gwriad.
- Gwriad ap Merfyn: Are we in league, Dane? To buy me a throne? What say you?
Eivor subtly pocketed the money for herself.
Eivor talked to Deorlaf again.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Eivor, my friend.
- Eivor: I spoke with more people.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Have you made a decision at last? Ivarr is increasingly agitated.
If Eivor gave it to:
- Eivor: The Captain of the Guard will advise Rhodri to sign the agreement. Peace will be yours.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Let is pray Rhodri takes his advice.
Suddenly, Ivarr rushed toward Rhodri.
- Ivarr: Rhodri! I see you mocking me! I challenge you! Single combat. Now!
- Bishop Deorlaf: Ivarr, no!
Eivor managed to hold Ivarr back.
- King Rhodri: Boneless Ivarr. Spineless, toothless, gutless. You cannot kill me! A dragon will be my death as my seers have foretold!
Gwriad walked closer behind Ivarr. Ivarr noticed him.
- Ivarr: And your brother? Does your destiny guard him?
Ivarr turned around, knife in hand.
- Angharad: Gwriad!
Ivarr slit Gwriad's throat.
- King Rhodri: By God Almighty, I'll—
Rhodri started toward Ivarr.
- Ynyr Ap Cadfarch: Get them to safety. Go! Quickly!
One of the guards pulled Rhodri toward the church door.
- King Rhodri: Kill the Boneless one! Paint this chapel with his blood!
The guards attacked.
- Eivor: Ivarr! What have you done?
Eivor, Ivarr, Ceolbert and their guards fought and killed Rhodri's men. And Eivor approached Gwriad's dead body.
- Ivarr: Ahh! Now that is vikingr diplomacy! Show the fuckers who the real warriors are.
- Ceolbert Ivarr, you have scuppered the peace!
- Ivarr: Do not be fooled by peace, boy. It is just an empty voice between axe blows.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Dear Lord, this is a massacre!
- Eivor: We have no choice now but to fight our way out of this.
- Ivarr: Ah! A good test for you, boy!
- Bishop Deorlaf: Lord, forgive us.
- Ivarr: Stay close, Ceolbert. You watch my back and I will pull the knives from yours!
Ivarr ran toward the door.
- Ceolbert Dear Lord.
Ceolbert followed after him. Eivor turned to Deorlaf.
- Eivor: Stay here where it's safest, bishop.
- If Eivor gave Gwriad the silver, she looted it from his body.
- Eivor: Gwriad won't need this silver now.
- Ivarr: Help me with this fucking door!
Eivor and Ivarr forced open the door.
- Norse Warrior: Rhodri's fled! It's war!
- Ivarr: Briton cowards. I am Ivarr, King Killer!
- Ceolbert: For Mercia!
Eivor and the others fought and killed the Britons outside the church. A war horn sounded.
- Eivor: There are more at the river!
Everyone ran down the hill to the battle in the river.
- Norse Warrior: Gut them!
- Briton Warrior: Kill the Danes!
Eivor, Ivarr, Ceolbert, and the Danes killed the rest of the Britons.
- Ceolbert: Good God, what carnage. We must let Bishop Deorlaf know that the battle is done.
Eivor, Ivarr, and Ceolbert walked back up the hill to the church.
- Ivarr: You did yourself proud, ætheling.
- Ceolbert: This was not a battle we needed, Ivarr.
- Ivarr: When you are king, Ceolbert, you won't need battles. You will crave them.
They entered the church. Where Deorlaf raised an accusatory finger in Ivarr's direction.
- Bishop Deorlaf: You murdered Rhodri's brother, you beast! Our one chance at peace is lost!
- Ivarr: Peace with Rhodri is as likely as you dying a virgin, bishop. It won't happen. He is too canny, too vile.
- Eivor: What's done is done. We must plan our next moves before the Britons regroup.
- Bishop Deorlaf: They will retreat to their great castle, for certain. It's well-nigh impregnable.
- Ivarr: Then we starve them out. Attack their supplies. Watch them beg for death.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Dear God. More death, more war, endless refugees.
- Eivor: This is our only way forward, Deorlaf. You know the territory best, how can we hurt them?
- Bishop Deorlaf: Well... for food and supplies, they stockpile cargo at Wenlocan Outpost, down south of Quatford. Rhodri has another secret supply line. Ask those among the refugees near the river. Those who have fled from occupied villages.
- Eivor: Rhodri's Britons will strike back long before we can.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Indeed. They will send Ynyr and his soldiers. They train in Wesberie, west of the ruined tower.
- Ivarr: You do not need me to hold your hand, Eivor. I will head to Wesberie, scout around.
- Ceolbert: I know your methods of scouting. It always leads to swordplay.
- Ivarr: I'm as regular as tidewater.
Ceolbert shook his head.
- Ceolbert: I shall go with you. If only to get an honest accounting of our situation.
- Eivor: I'll meet you both in Wesberie then, once I've done some damage. Until then.
Ivarr walked off with Ceolbert close behind. Deorlaf turned to Eivor.
- Bishop Deorlaf: One last thing. We'll need a fyrd before our battle's done. Try to free any captives you find. They'll swell our ranks.
Eivor could speak to Deorlaf again.
- Eivor: Good bishop.
- Bishop Deorlaf: Have you made progress, my friend?
- Eivor: Some. Have no fear.
Ivarr killed Rhodri's brother Gwriad at the meeting, forcing Eivor and her allies to defend themselves from the guards. Afterwards, Eivor worked to disrupt the Britons' war efforts.