- 1 Rygjafylke
- 1.1 Prologue
- 1.2 Honor Bound
- 1.3 Family Matters
- 1.4 A Seer’s Solace
- 1.5 The Prodigal Prince
- 1.6 Rude Awakening
- 1.7 A Cruel Destiny
- 1.8 Birthrights
- 1.9 The Seas of Fate
- 2 Ravensthorpe
- 3 Ledecestrescire
- 3.1 The Sons of Ragnar
- 3.2 Bartering
- 3.3 Rumors of Ledecestre
- 3.4 The Walls of Templebrough
- 3.5 Tilting the Balance
- 3.6 Heavy is the Head
- 3.7 Hunted
- 3.8 Report on Ledecestrescire
- 3.9 The Thousand Eyes
- 3.10 The Huntress
- 4 Grantebridgescire
- 5 Ravensthorpe
- 6 East Anglia
- 7 Ravensthorpe
- 8 Lunden
- 9 Ravensthorpe
[The first cutscene in the game greets us with an explosion in space and flying among the stars. On this background, we hear a woman's voice.]
SEER: Silence, you children of gods... And heed my tale of time's beginning. All was dark. There was no sand, there was no sea. No earth nor sky, no grass nor wind. 'Til fire met ice in the gasping void. And from this scream came the giant Ymir, first of all beings... Proud Ymir, cruelly killed. Yet from whose bones and blood and brains the world was made... ...The world you walk and war upon…
[We fly into the big Viking house. A young boy finds a special armband in a chest, that confirms someone’s entry into adult life.]
NORWAY, 856 CE
YOUNG EIVOR: There you are.
[Boy comes out of the room. In the main hall, everyone drinks and has fun.]
SKALD: Eivor, here's a tune for you! One to liven your step.
VARIN: Ah, there you are, my little drengr. (to his drunk friend) Go! So, did you see our king? Yes, good. Come, Eivor. Did you find the... the ring? Yes. Now... now for our little plan. When you see us talking, be quiet as a wood mouse and then surprise him with our gift. And you hold it out like this and took him in the eyes and you say, “Styrbjorn King, may our clans be forever bonded in friendship and in love.” You think you can do that for me?
YOUNG EIVOR: Mm-hm.
VARIN: Good. Tonight, you will be the cord that unites our people. And i'm so proud of you, Eivor. (kisses EIVOR’S forehead) get up, olaf! Stay lucid, friend!
[EIVOR walks through a crowd of drunk adults, listening to their conversations.]
OLAF: My sword is gore-greedy. I am ready to fight!
HOLGER: I hewed the heads of joyless hel-dogs! I imbibed Odin's brew and I snipped the scraggly beards of troll-kings! I danced naked upon the bleaching beaches...
TOVE: Drink, Holger. And save your poems for your king.
HOLGER: He is your king as well.
TOVE: He is, but I don't have to sing his praises for my meals.
HOLGER: Hello, little one! Ready to celebrate this great day?
YOUNG EIVOR: I have a gift for the king. Then I will dance.
HOLGER: Good! Kings love those arm-fetters. Raise your horn with me, Tove. Tonight we sleep in the heat of clan-fire. Made happy by mead.
TOVE: Skal, you old skald!
SIGURD: O! No drink in your fist? Come on. I'll find you something.
YOUNG EIVOR: I can't. I have a tribute for your father.
SIGURD: O, what a piece! That must be worth two sturdy Longships! Give it here. I'll pass it on.
YOUNG EIVOR: My father asked me, Sigurd.
SIGURD: Suit yourself. But you're not getting any mead! (walks away)
GUNNAR: When you speak to the king, hold it up to the light, show him the fine details. See there? I etched his name in runes, on the outer bend. You'll show him?
YOUNG EIVOR: Mm-hm.
GUNNAR: You are just like your father, little berserker! Skal to you!
NORSE WOMAN: Skal!
GUNNAR: You see? She agrees!
[EIVOR approaches his father and mother. Father patting EIVOR on the head.]
YOUNG EIVOR: (giggle)
ROSTA: So, you have the ring? Good. This was worn by your grandfather in a battle on the Northern Way.
YOUNG EIVOR: Mother?
YOUNG EIVOR: Can we show Sigurd the cairn stones we stacked yesterday?
ROSTA: That's a good idea. We'll do that in the morning, at first tight. Now go. You have a gift to deliver.
VARIN: Eivor, wait. Skal to Styrbjorn, the true King of Rygjafylke! Tonight we are all made anew! Skal! Eivor. Eivor, come.
YOUNG EIVOR: King... May our clans be forever bonded in friendship and love.
STYRBJORN: Thank you, Eivor. Now and forever, I am pledged to you.
VARIN: (singing) Harken well in hall of kings....
NORSE SOLDIER: Hoo! Haa! Hoo! Ha!
VARIN: (singing) On ocean-steed, my words gain wings. Odin's mead, I forth will bring. For noble deeds, thine honor sing!
NORSE SOLDIER: (singing) For noble deeds, thine honor sing!
VARIN: (singing) The brave men slain, Valkyrjur wakes...
NORSE SOLDIER: (singing) The brave men slain, Valkyrjur wakes!
VARIN: (singing) Reward for strain to Valholl takes!
NORSE SOLDIER: (singing) Reward for strain to Valholl takes!
VARIN: (singing) Then horns resounds the mighty hall!
NORSE SOLDIER: (singing) Then horns resounds the mighty hall!
VARIN: (singing) For those who fight, for those who fall --
NORSE SOLDIER: (singing) For those who fight for those who fall--
[At this moment, the door rumbles, letting a cold wind into the house. The sound of a horn can be heard from far away.]
NORSE WARRIOR: We're under attack!
NORSE WARRIOR: Kjotve's clan!
VARIN: Ready yourselves, men! Ah! Good Rosta, go. Not you, Eivor. Not just yet.
[Men go to battle.]
SVALA: It is foretold. The curtains are raised. Nothing is true until it is severed from the branches of Ygdrassil.
[EIVOR goes out on the street where the fight has already started. His mother saves him from the attacking enemy.]
[She kills several opponents and puts her son on her shoulder.]
ROSTA: Come. Eivor...
[She carries it to the horse and puts it in the saddle.]
ROSTA: Go! Now!
NORSE WOMAN: Stop! Please!
ROSTA: Ride! Go!
[Disobeying his mother, EIVOR gets off the horse and picks up his sword. He follows his mother. On the way he sees his father.]
VARIN: Kjotve! Show yourself!
[He walks in the house and sees his mother being surrounded.]
YOUNG EIVOR: Momma!
[SIGURD bursts into the house and kills his opponents with several dexterous strikes of his sword.]
YOUNG EIVOR: Sigurd!
[They hear Varin’s voice.]
VARIN: Kjotve! Let's end this bloodshed.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: O, I will!
ROSTA: Speed to Valhalla.
NORSE WARRIOR: Fire!
ROSTA: Sigurd, take the horse.
SIGURD: Alright, wait here.
[But Rosta gets captured.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Now it's my turn to offer you a deal, slave-whore. Accept your fate and die a coward, here before your people... and I will spare the rest.
ROSTA: Fight, my love! Do not listen!
VARIN: If I give my life, will you spare my clan?
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: You have my word.
ROSTA: No, no, Varin! No Varin! Pick up your axe.
[Varin puts his axe in the snow and removes the helmet. Kjotve chops off his head.]
YOUNG EIVOR: (unemotionally) No!
[She runs to her husband, but the warrior who held her throws an axe in her back. She dies.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Kill them all!
YOUNG EIVOR: (scream)
[At this moment, SIGURD gallops past, grabs EIVOR and rides into the forest with him. Archers shoot at them. KJOTVE warriors in the forest are trying to stop them. One of them succeeds and SIGURD and EIVOR fall from a horse from a small ledge on the icy lake. SIGURD is left hanging on the cliff, and little EIVOR falls down. The horse falls almost immediately under the ice. Little EIVOR is attacked by hungry wolves. He reaches for the axe, but one of the wolves bites his neck. EIVOR, being on the verge of death, runs to some gate. Suddenly, the ravens attack the wolves. EIVOR comes to his senses and stretches for the axe. The simulation starts to glitch. EIVOR grabs the axe and kills the wolf that jumped on him with one blow. The simulation is over. We hear Lila's voice against the background of Animus' screen.]
LAYLA: Ah! What the hell is that?
OPERATOR: I'm seeing two different data streams, overlapped in the same DNA. Not sure why.
LAYLA: Fix this, or pull me out.
OPERATOR: I can parse the streams with a filter. Hold on... Okay. We're good.
LAYLA: Are we?
OPERATOR: I don't know what happened, but I can work around it. You'll have to pick a stream to keep things stable. There's a third option too. I can let the Animus modulate your identity, based on signal strength. It's up to you.
[Now LAYLA can choose male or female EIVOR or… umm… both? She chooses male version.]
OPERATOR: Alright, I'll lock it in and push ahead. To a time where these streams are more synchronized.
[EIVOR finds himself in Heillboer, on a small pier. Next to him walks his sworn enemy.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: How long have you been chasing me, Wolf-Kissed? Seventeen winters? Eighteen? Do I now haunt your dreams? Do I warm your loins? (laugh) You remember this...? (shows him the axe) Your father's axe. The weapon of a coward, a scorn-snake. Ah, few things would please me more than to kill with this blade. But I know you would defy me to the death, fighting for a glorious end. That I will not allow. You will live your final days enthralled as a slave, humiliated. Your death will be a lonely one. Haha... Kill the rest of his crew. Make them suffer. Eivor Wolf-Kissed is no more! That name is dead to this world!
NORSE WARRIOR: (pits shackles on EIVOR) You will be worth your weight in silver. To the ship.
[He throws EIVOR onboard.]
NORSE WARRIOR: You move and I take your eyes. You hear me?
NORSE WARRIOR: Winds blowing from the south.
NORSE WARRIOR: We can tack north, then cut west. ( EIVOR touches a rope) Now, what did I just tell you, you...
[EIVOR kills the crew in a brutal northern way. The last one jammed between the pierce and his own burning ship.]
NORSE WARRIOR: (pained scream) Kjotve will skin you alive! You will never ... never leave this--
[EIVOR takes the key, removes the shackles and breaks the neck of his captor with a blow of his leg.]
EIVOR: (to his raven) No feast for you, Synin. My crew is in danger. You must be my eyes.
EIVOR: My crew is in danger. I need to reach them.
[He eats some berries.]
EIVOR: Ah, I feel better. Stronger. Save that for later.
[He climbs to the top of the mountain to look around.]
EIVOR: Avaldsnes. Where that oath-breaker is holding my crew.
[He jumps into icy water and finds a small camp.]
EIVOR: One of Kjotve's men. I need to be careful.
[Killing a warrior from a bow, EIVOR examines the surrounding area.]
EIVOR: Kjatve's warriors. I should stay out of sight.
NORSE WARRIOR: Once this land is under Kjotve's lash, we will live like jarls.
NORSE WARRIOR: It will not happen while Raven Clan lives. They fight like berserkers. Eivor Wolf-Kissed killed a score or more single-handed.
NORSE WARRIOR: Bah! Eivor now tastes the slaver's whip, and with Prince Sigurd likely lost at sea, the Ravens will soon be a memory.
[EIVOR kills them.]
EIVOR: A clash of iron. There's fighting nearby.
[He sees a strong man killing some warrior with a shield.]
EIVOR: Dag, you old hound! You live!
DAG: I do! Slipped away in the sword-clash. And what of you?
EIVOR: Kjotve tried to sell me off, a mistake he will regret.
DAG: Not today he won't. I saw him board a ship at Avaldsnes not long ago. Sailed east, leaving our crew behind.
EIVOR: There must still be time to wave our men. I will find them. You ready the longship.
DAG: You glory hound! You would take the rescue for yourself, so the victory song is written about you?
EIVOR: I could storm the beach then. Stay two dozen men, seize our dragon-boat, and hoist the sail in triumph. Up to you.
DAG: No, no, I will take the beach. A far more dangerous path. You search the longhouse for our crew. O, and here... this corpse will not have need of it.
EIVOR: Go. I will meet you by the ship.
[They say goodbye and EIVOR goes to the village.]
EIVOR: Kjotve's warriors crawl through Avaldsnes like lice. If I use the main gate. I may attract attention. The longhouse. My crew should be inside. There should be an opening in the roof.
[EIVOR climbs into the house through the allotment in the roof. He hears somebody's voice.]
RIKIWULF: You squirm like that and my axe will miss your neck! Unpleasant for both of us.
BRAGI: If I am to die, I want to make a mess of it, bacraut (asshole)!
[EIVOR finds them. He hides behind a corner.]
BRAGI: You coward! Unbind me and stick an axe in my hand!
RIKIWULF: I owe you nothing, raven-shit. Yours is a clan of thralls and peasants.
EIVOR: (leaves his hiding place) You! Lay that axe aside or die by mine.
RIKIWULF: You should be on a slaves-ship to Ireland, Wolf-Kissed! But if you wish to be my first sacrifice, Odin will be more than happy to receive you.
EIVOR: You just killed yourself, ergi (coward).
[Brutal fight on axes begins.]
RIKIWULF: I will sell you to Hel herself! Kneel, Wolf-Kissed, and I will spare your life!
EIVOR: Shut your hole and fight.
RIKIWULF: Die, you sack of shit!
[EIVOR kills him and finds his father’s axe.]
EIVOR: Father. You should have held onto this until the bitter end.
[He recalls the words that were said when he died.]
VARIN: If I give my life, will you spare my clan?
ROSTA: Varin! No! Pick up your axe.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Kill them all!
YOUNG EIVOR: No!
[EIVOR plunges into his thoughts. He passes through the shit and sees a giant tree.]
BRAGI: Eivor... Eivor! Eivor! Are you bewitched? Unbind us!
EIVOR: What? O... yes, of course.
[He releases his crew.]
BRAGI: Well fought, Wolf-Kissed! Even if your wits were somewhat rattled.
EIVOR: Listen here! If you can breathe, you can fight. Now come, we take back our ship.
BRAGI: You do not need to tell us twice!
[They kill all the soldiers in the village and find their longship.]
EIVOR: Dag, Bragi... grab your oars. The whale-road leads us home.
DAG: Gods, it is about time!
BRAGI: Stop yawping and start rowing!
[They are sailing away.]
DAG: Rather silent, Eivor. Anything to say for the mess you led us to?
EIVOR: We suffered no losses in this fight, and the men who humiliated us are dead. What is there to say?
DAG: O, something like, “I was stupid, selfish, reckless, blind, boneheaded, and I smell like blood and shit.”
EIVOR: I like my version better.
DAG: Eivor, look someone is setting up an outpost on that island.
EIVOR: Kjotve's men. Gnawing at any piece of open land like dogs worrying a bone
DAG: Even with you half in the grave, we could easily take them.
[They sail to Rygjafylke.]
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: What tiny little child approaches?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Ah! Many apologies. You are no child, simply a frail and fully-grown fool. Ha ha ha!
EIVOR: Do we know each other?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: I know you're a weakling! And you... you need only know my impressive scale and flawless build.
EIVOR: Why do you speak to me this way?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: We are flyting!
EIVOR: I've consented to nothing yet.
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Fins. Do you wish to flyt against me?
EIVOR: I do. I haven't the coin.
[He explores the village.]
NORSE MAN: Hello, friend! Come see my wares! You should always have some of these! You sure there isn't something else you wanted?
EIVOR: I have to go, see you soon.
The Silver-Tongued Traitor
[He enters another shop.]
SULKE: Do you want the favor of the gods? Or protection toom them? Welcome, warrior. Sulke Silvertongue offers wonders from across the Nine Worlds! Rare objects! Priceless artifacts!
EIVOR: And yet you have put a price on them.
SULKE: Everything has value, wise one, and I ask only a fraction of its worth. What would you say to a piece of Christ's cross? Snakeskin from Ragnar Lothbrok's death pit?
EIVOR: These items do not look very impressive. Like this old shoe...
SULKE: That belonged to the first Christian Pope or maybe it was a saint. It brings the blessing of their god.
EIVOR: They would need it with that shoe ... and there's an old leather strap...
SULKE: A shield strap belonging to the hero Sigurth when he fought... the great beast.
EIVOR: Ja... my mother had one embroidered like that. And what about that helmet?
SULKE: That was the helmet Halfdan the Black wore when he died in battle. It will protect you and bring good crops.
EIVOR: That is a lie. It was the helmet my father, Varin wore the night he was killed.
SULKE: (frightened) Ei ... Eivor?
EIVOR: I know you now, Sulke the Snake, and these are things from my old home. How much silver did Kjotve pay you to betray us?
SULKE: No silver! It was not like that! I was there that night, but I did not fight for Kjotve! I ran....
EIVOR: Coward! I should cut you down!
SULKE: No! (runs away) I did no harm!
EIVOR: I will judge that!
[EIVOR kills Sulke’s bodyguards.]
EIVOR: Sulke will stay within the city. He finds safety within its walls.
[On the pier he meets a man.]
ROLF THE RAIDER: You there! You look like you could handle yourself in a fight. Eivor Wolf-Kissed, is that you?
EIVOR: It is Rolf, ja? We raided with you that one time, up on the northern coastю
ROLF THE RAIDER: I am flattered you remember.
EIVOR: It was the first time Styrbjorn let us raid so far from home, And Sigurd was sure you took more than your fair share. You are still raiding at your age?
ROLF THE RAIDER: We need to grab what we can before Harald has his say across Norway. But I only plan now. I let others do the heavy work. In fact, I am looking for someone to lead my crew.
EIVOR: I would like to help you out, but I have my own crew now.
ROLF THE RAIDER: I did not mean you, but I could use your help choosing a leader. I have picked out a few to be tested.
EIVOR: Tested how?
ROLF THE RAIDER: If you want to see someone's true character, test it in battle.
EIVOR: Show me your picks.
ROLF THE RAIDER: My crew is gathered down by the docks. Locals mostly. Even a couple of farmers hungry for excitement.
EIVOR: How do they compare to me and Sigurd?
ROLF THE RAIDER: Thorole no comparing. You are building some reputation, Blver. They talk about you up and down the coast.
EIVOR: Good talk or bad?
ROLF THE RAIDER: Depends on who you talk to. Mostly good. Do not worry about the bad,
EIVOR: No, they should worry about me. (laughs)
ROLF THE RAIDER: This is my raiding crew, Eivor. What they lack in experience, they make up for in... other areas.
ROLF THE RAIDER: Together, we will hammer these lumps of meat into men and women of iron. Into raiders.
EIVOR: So, which from this unlucky lot would lead your crew?
ROLF THE RAIDER: See, that big brute? Audbjorn. He does not speak much, but he could power a ship by himself. That shield-maiden is Ashild the Keen. Her blade is as quick as her wits. And then, there is Thorgils...
THORGILS OF THE THICK HEAD: Rolf! Who is your friend?
ROLF THE RAIDER: Keep your head on the fight or someone will crack it!
THORGILS OF THE THICK HEAD: All right!
ROLF THE RAIDER: That one is so thick, he could shatter your shield, but the other men like him. And those are the best of the bunch.
EIVOR: So, those three, ja? I have handled more.
ROLF THE RAIDER: You want to fight them all at once?
EIVOR: Why not? Raids are the stuff of chaos itself. They need a test with no rules.
ROLF THE RAIDER: Challenge them, but do not damage them. It was hard enough finding this many. Listen up you sea slugs. This is Eivor Wolf-Kissed, who has killed more men than you will ever meet.
THORGILS OF THE THICK HEAD: Eivor Wolf-Kissed! I have heard of you! This will be great!
ROLF THE RAIDER: You want to lead my crew, you must fight Eivor. Best fighter wins. No killing, no maiming. Other than that, no rules. Understand?
THORGILS OF THE THICK HEAD: I am rea-- (gets hit in the head)
ROLF THE RAIDER: Fight!
[And they fight.]
EIVOR: A raider needs to be ruthless.
ASHILD THE KEEN: I am better than any man here.
EIVOR: You have much to learn.
THORGILS OF THE THICK HEAD: It was an honor beating you.
EIVOR: Rolf, your raiders are tougher than they look.
ROLF THE RAIDER: Tougher than you know. Thorgils got back up after you went down. He finished the fight.
EIVOR: Did you see what you were looking for?
ROLF THE RAIDER: Yes. I did not think Thorgils could do it, but he is thick-headed like his old man.
EIVOR: Wait - that is your boy? Tiny Thor? He used to barely reach my belly.
ROLF THE RAIDER: He has grown, and now he will want to take everything from me. But such is the way of children. Take some silver for your trouble, and a little extra. For cheating you and Sigurd on that raid. Good luck!
[“Rider Recruit” synchronized. After that EIVOR happens to meet Sulke.]
SULKE: I do not want to die!
EIVOR: Not your choice!
SULKE: Loki curse you!
EIVOR: Words will not stop me!
[He kills Sulke with his bow. “The Silver-Tongued Traitor” synchronized. EIVOR rides into the forest, where he kills several wolves and meets a man who lives in the camp.]
The Hunt for Honor
ERLEND: Where is honor to be found? I am lost and honor-bound. This quest will put me in the ground. You arrived without a sound!
EIVOR: Are you a skald? I have never heard poetry shouted in this way.
ERLEND: A skald? O, no, not at all. I am truly looking for honor, and have become lost as a result.
EIVOR: You are looking for honor here? It is a bit remote.
ERLEND: Tam the seventh son of a seventh son. I am expected to bring great honor to my family, but everything has been done! My uncles and brothers have all had great victories or even greater deaths! There is nothing left for me to do!! The gods have been deaf to my pleas, but you are here.
EIVOR: So, you want a great victory from me... or a great death?
ERLEND: No! I want to live! And I could not possibly hope to win against you.
EIVOR: That is true.
ERLEND: But maybe you could lead me to a victory?
EIVOR: I can tell by looking at you, you are not a great warrior. You know it too, there is no reason to deny this. I could bring you a chance at honor... an animal of some kind. Something you could handle.
ERLEND: Yes, yes! That could work! I could add a few details, nothing too exaggerated. Skalds do it all the time.
EIVOR: So, now you are a skald? Do not go anywhere. I will only do this once.
ERLEND: I will be here. On my honor. Make sure to bring me a beast!
[EIVOR leads a huge polar bear to the camp.]
EIVOR: Now, win your honor!
[He helps the scald to kill it.]
ERLEND: They are much bigger up close! I do not think I can do this! I DO NOT THINK I CAN DO THIS!
EIVOR: Come, Erlend! Honor calls!
ERLEND: I did it! What an incredible fight!
EIVOR: You got a few stabs in. How was your... first kill?
ERLEND: Gods! I have never felt so alive! My hugr (mind) soars on ravens' wings!
EIVOR: With this rebirth comes a new name. From this day, you will be called... ...Erlend Bear-Bane, Terror of the Caves.
ERLEND: It suits me! You know, now that I think about it, I think my story should be told in verse. Farewell, Beast-Baiter! (shouting) Erlend Bear-Bane! Hear my name, and quiver! Crawl back into your deep, dark caves, bears! Erlend Bear-Bane brings your doom!
[“The Hunt for Honor” synchronized. Having collected some coins, EIVOR returns to the insolent beard on the pier of the village.]
Manning, Fighter of Wolves
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: What tiny little child approaches?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Ah! Many apologies. You are no child, simply a frail and fully-grown fool. Ha ha ha!
EIVOR: Do we know each other?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: I know you're a weakling! And you... you need only know my impressive scale and flawless build.
EIVOR: Why do you speak to me this way?
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: We are flyting!
EIVOR: I've consented to nothing yet.
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Fins. Do you wish to flyt against me?
EIVOR: I do. Here's my wager. I'm ready for you now.
[The word fight begins.]
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Have you ever seen muscles as massive as mine?
EIVOR: What you make up in muscles, you're lacking in spine.
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: More than strength, I can boast that my features are fair.
EIVOR: They seem perfectly placed to give children a scare.
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: You're brilliant! Yes! More! Have you ever met someone so witty and quick?
EIVOR: No, you're quite like your arms: just incredibly thick.
MANNING, FIGHTER OF WOLVES: Brutal, I adore it! (laughs) Wonderful! Rare to find someone with any flyting skill. You deserve every bit of your bet and more. I'll remember some of those insults!
EIVOR: Happy to be of service.
[EIVOR returns to his ship. They sail away.]
DAG: Kjolve will come for us, now. Harder and stronger than before.
EIVOR: No surprise there. This war has spun on for three generations. I hardly expect him to relent.
DAG: Your hatred for that man burns bright, Wolf-Kissed! I could warm my balls on itю
EIVOR: Would you not prefer a pair of sealskin britches?
DAG: Just take care, Elvor. Such hatred can make you careless. What he did to your father, he did to all of us. You are not in this fight alone. King Styrbjorn will scold you for setting out against his wishes.
EIVOR: Of course he will.
DAG: Is that not something you worry over?
EIVOR: I worry only that our king will not see that I'm right until it's too late.
DAG: What about Sigurd? What would he say?
EIVOR: If Sigurd were here, he would be sitting beside you, wiping the blood from his axe and smiling into the breeze.
DAG: And what will you tell our king about this misadventure?
EIVOR: Only the truth. That we attacked Kjotve's fortress, killed his men, and weakened his control of this land.
DAG: Will you mention the part where you lost your crew and were nearly sold as a thrall? Will that be part of your saga?
EIVOR: If there is a skald (poet) who dares sing that verse, it will be his last song.
[EIVOR comes home to Fornburg. He met with his old friend at the pier.]
RANDVI: Well, well! The feeder-of-ravens returns. And not half dead. We thought we had lost you, Eivor. For good this time.
EIVOR: A warm welcome as always, Randvi.
RANDVI: You look like reddened shit. What happened?
EIVOR: Nothing to crow about, except to say the men who delayed us are dead. And how are you?
RANDVI: Well enough. Though I have spent many tiresome days calming the rages of our king. He is not happy with you.
EIVOR: I expected as much. And what of Sigurd? Has he returned from his raids?
RANDVI: My husband should be home today. The last we heard, he was approaching Stavanger.
EIVOR: Good to hear. We have need of his courage.
DAG: Sigurd will not save you from his father's wrath, Eivor. You should know that by now.
RANDVI: Did your raid not go as planned?
EIVOR: They rarely go as planned, but we killed many of Kjotve's warriors. And there was this… my father's axe among the dead.
RANDVI: Ah! After so many years. You should take it to Gunnar. He will give it back its edge.
EIVOR: A good idea. After I see our king.
RANDVI: That I do not advise, not yet. He is meeting with a messenger from the North.
EIVOR: I can wait...
RANDVI: A cloud hangs over you. Is something wrong?
EIVOR: Seeing my fathers are all seventeen winters... it stirred something in me. A feeling I have not had since the day he was killed. Since the day I got this.
RANDVI: Memories of past agonies. Of sadness and pain.
EIVOR: I should speak with Valka. She could help me make sense of my... feelings.
RANDVI: Take your time getting settled. I will see you at the longhouse.
DAG: I think you have lost your edge, Eivor, just like that axe. Maybe Gunnar can help you with both.
EIVOR: I will let you know.
[“Honor Bound” synchronised.]
[EIVOR explores the village.]
NORSE CHILD: Eivor! Did you bring us any treasure?
EIVOR: I returned with a boat and a full crew. That is worth more than silver.
NORSE CHILD: That doesn't count! You need silver! And jewels!
NORSE CHILD: Shut up, Rolf! How do you know? You never went on a raid!
NORSE CHILD: You shut up!
NORSE MAN: Sit awhile and play, friend!
EIVOR: I do miss the rattling of bone.
NORSE MAN: Sit, sit! The dice won't roll themselves!
EIVOR: Let us do this then.
NORSE MAN: Straight and to the point! May the best hand win!
[They play a dice game called orlong.]
NORSE MAN: Hmm... This will do.
EIVOR: This is my game, stranger. Just give up. I have almost got you now. I am getting good at this.
NORSE MAN: How did - What-- No! Again!
EIVOR: Another time, perhaps.
EIVOR: Is the king free to speak with me?
RANDVI: He is still with the emissary from the North. I would wait a while longer.
EIVOR: Understood. I will come back. Tove... trading a needle for an arrow, I see.
TOVE: Eivor, can you teach me the art of archery?
EIVOR: I would be happy to. See how I'm standing? Plant your feet in the ground, no wider than your shoulders. Breathe in as you draw the arrow back. Look at the point you want to hit. Now imagine the arrow passing straight through it, and far beyond. Breathe out, then release.
TOVE: Thank you, Eivor. Now, I have something for you.
EIVOR: See? All in the eye.
TOVE: Thank you, Eivor. As a gift, I could design a new tattoo for you. Something to decorate your scar.
EIVOR: A kind offer, but I want this scar visible.
TOVE: O, I did not mean to offend. In any case, I do have a tattoo for you.
EIVOR: Caught anything?
NORSE WOMAN: Not today. The fish aren't biting. Too many passing boats churning the water.
EIVOR: I lack the patience for pole fishing. I would have better luck with my bow.
NORSE WOMAN: Shooting fish with a bow? That could work.
NORSE WOMAN: Hello, Eivor.
ALVIS: Well, look who it is!
EIVOR: Practicing your wordplay. Alvis?
ALVIS: Ah, Eivor ... the only mouth in Midgard from which I fear mockery.
EIVOR: You taught me the art of writing poetry, old friend. It is only natural that I surpass you soon.
ALVIS: How about another lesson, then? A quick flyt (word battle), right here, right now. What do you say?
EIVOR: Let's try flyting.
ALVIS: I always put a few coins down as a wager. Most of those who enjoy flyting have an equal fondness for betting. But today, we'll abstain. Let me begin.
EIVOR: I'm ready.
ALVIS: In flyting, it's key to match cadence and rhyme! It's as much about sound as it is about time. So be careful in choosing the words that you say...
EIVOR: I'll recall what you've taught ere I enter the fray.
ALVIS: A fine answer! Perfect rhyme and a lovely cadence to match my tine. Now let us examine meaning! Ahem. In flyting, you'll need to be cutting and keen. It's about wielding wit more than venting your spleen. If I tell you you're foolish, and stupid, and dull...
EIVOR: Then I will spit in your face, and I will bash in your skull.
ALVIS: Not bad. Not bad. The rhyme is there, the sound is good, but... consider that I said you were silly, and you told me you would kill me. At times, it might be best to... remain on-theme. Something to consider. Last one... So go then, and conquer the world with your wit! Go be clever, be quick, show your spirit and grit! I look eagerly forward to seeing how you fare...
EIVOR: I will flyt you with flourish and best you with flair!
ALVIS: Perfect, yes! You could destroy me with such a line! Your flyting's astounding, you're worthy of praise!
EIVOR: Thank you, Alvis. I'll take the lesson to heart.
TEKLA: Come and drink! Let us amuse the gods!
EIVOR: Hej Tekla, what is brewing?
TEKLA: Alvis tells me this brew is too strong. Think you can handle a few rounds?
[EIVOR decides to have a drink with an old woman.]
EIVOR: Too strong for you?
TEKLA: Think you can match horns with me, hm?
EIVOR: So slow. Like Odin, mead is my lifeblood.
TEKLA: That was well drunk... well done… well… drunk... done. Come and drink! Let us amuse the gods!
NORSE WOMAN: This land will never prosper while clan battles clan.
HOLGER: Who would like to hear a story? Who would enjoy a tale of the gods? There has always been war, even among the gods. When Midgard was young, Asgard was torn by strife.
GUNNAR: Wolf-Kissed! Welcome back!
EIVOR: Gunnar. I have something here you might like to see.
GUNNAR: Thunderclap of Thor! Is that your father's axe? I have not seen this beauty since... well, for some time. I forged this weapon long ago. Still looks good. One of my finest, I think.
EIVOR: It has a blunted blade, but it swings well. Can you sharpen it?
GUNNAR: I can give it a better edge and reinforce the handle. And as luck would have it, I have one ingot left for the job.
EIVOR: Are you sure?
GUNNAR: The Fates have willed it so! But in future, bring your own metal ingots. I cannot forge them from empty air. That should do it. Anything else?
EIVOR: And how are you, Gunnar? Holding up?
GUNNAR: Ja, work is good and my spirits are strong, but my nights are newly cold. My lady left me, if you had not heard.
EIVOR: I had. Sorry to hear it. You were together... how long?
GUNNAR: Ahh... Five weeks it was. Five beautiful, passionate weeks. But all that is done. Will never find my Brunhilde?
EIVOR: Valkyries do not walk the world as they once did, Gunnar. Maybe set your sights a bit lower.
GUNNAR: Lower? My friend, look at my wares, my weapons. I'm not a man to settle for less than the finest of anything! Do you need anything else?
EIVOR: That's all for now.
GUNNAR: Return anytime!
HOLGER: There has always been war, even among the gods. When Midgard was young. Asgard was torn by strife.
EIVOR: Hej! Can you point me to some good hunting grounds?
NORSE WOMAN: I could, but I don't want every iron-foot with a bow scaring away the game. Bring me three deer antlers to prove your skills and I might just have a story for you.
EIVOR: A worthy challenge. I will see you soon.
EIVOR: Svend. Have you designed any new tattoos?
SVEND: A few worth looking at.
EIVOR: Tove says she is trying out some new tattoos.
SVEND: She is. And she is getting better at it.
EIVOR: Let me have a look.
SVEND: Go ahead. Good. Need anything else?
EIVOR: See you later, Svend.
[EIVOR gets back to Randvi.]
EIVOR: They must be finished now.
RANDVI: If you have any other business, it may be wise to do it now. Let him cool down.
EIVOR: I could speak to Valka first. Get this weight off my mind.
RANDVI: The king is not going anywhere.
The Dreamwalking Warrior
[EIVOR goes to the north, into the snowy mountains to see the seer. He finds a man sleeping by the fire.]
SLEEPWALKER: (snoring, mumbling)
EIVOR: So, Eyvind is asleep on his watch. That would explain some things.
SLEEPWALKER: (snoring, mumbling)
EIVOR: Eyvind, wake up, or you will be cast into the wild.
SLEEPWALKER: ...Must stay awake ... they could be anywhere...
EIVOR: Is he walking in his sleep?
SLEEPWALKER: ...They are everywhere... if we die, everyone dies... ...Must not fall asleep... need to see them coming...
EIVOR: Eyvind, wake up! You are headed for the edge! Is he going to ride the rope-slide?
[Eyvind jumps to the rope and slide it.]
SLEEPWALKER: ...Windy ... Storm coming... Wha...? Ahhhhhhh!
EIVOR: Eyvind, Eyvind! Calm down. You were asleep.
EYVIND: No, I was flying through the air!
EIVOR: In your sleep. A harsh awakening, true, but at least you live. Have you always taken these dream walks?
EYVIND: Since my posting here. When I am in bed, I worry about ways we could be attacked. When I am on watch, I cannot stay awake.
EIVOR: Only a fool stays awake all night worrying. You are tired when you get up, and the problem is still not solved.
EYVIND: You speak with the wisdom of Odin, Eivor. I will think on these words when I am in bed.
EIVOR: Consider them on your watch and sleep when in your bed. But now, report back before you are labeled a deserter. Go.
A Seer’s Solace
[EIVOR rides on and finds a house in the forest. Inside, he sees a woman reading a prayer.]
VALKA: Hamu-ram ... hamu-ram...
VALKA: Hush. I need silence to hear the songs of nature. Hamu-ram ... hamu-ram...
SVALA: She gives praises, and she is greeted.
VALKA: For your hearing. I harken, O Ancient Ones! Great Odin, great Freyja, I give you thanks for your gift of seidr (magic).
SVALA: She gives thanks, and she is blessed.
VALKA: Eivor, it has been some time. What brings you so far to see me?
EIVOR: I... I have come for your advice. On a private matter.
EIVOR: Is your mother well?
VALKA: Her mind is a jumble. She speaks to spirits. I fear her final winter has come. But she has me. Now let us speak to your needs.
EIVOR: I have had a vision. A powerful vision. It may have been my battle lust, or a delirium caused by the cold but...
VALKA: Describe it for me.
EIVOR: After seventeen years, I saw my father's axe again. And when I touched it, the vision came on fast.
EIVOR: There was a wolf, howling and fierce. And then a figure. A graybeard in a cloak with a single eye. He bid me follow him.
VALKA: Ah! The High One! He calls to you. Perhaps he means to speak with you. Delivera message. Only through seidr will you see more clearly and unravel the threads that sit tangled upon your mind.
VALKA: This will not take long.
EIVOR: What are you brewing?
VALKA: An elixir to loosen your hugr (mind) and unwind your thoughts. You will enter a waking sleep and journey to the world of dreams. It may confuse or disorient you. But you must take note of all you see. Drink... ...if you seek true understanding.
[EIVOR drinks the potion. He moans and falls to the floor. He wakes up in another place.]
EIVOR: (groan) Hm? I saw nothing. Valka. Felt nothing.
SKULD: Havi! Havi!
EIVOR: Do I walk among the dead?
[He sees a man up the snowy hill.]
EIVOR: Sigurd...? Sigurd. Brother ... when did you arrive? What is this?
[The man turns into a wolf and runs away.]
URDR: Hrm-mah-mr-mah, hrm-mah-mr-mah...
EIVOR: Sigurd? Brother? What is this?
SIGURD: There was no other way, Havi. Our fates are fixed.
[A strong blizzard is raging around, restricting visibility. SIGURD stands with a severed hand.]
EIVOR: Sigurd! Sigurd! What has... what has happened?
SIGURD: This was not for you, Havi.
[SIGURD flies off a rock, as if he was pulled by something. EIVOR sees a giant wolf covering the sun with his body. EIVOR wakes up.]
EIVOR: Ahhh! Ah!
VALKA: Steady, Eivor. It is Valka. I am here.
EIVOR: Gods, I thought I... wh-what was that?
VALKA: Tell me everything!
EIVOR: I-I-I was on a mountain in a violent blizzard, climbing toward the summit, following a wolf.
EIVOR: I saw Odin. And the Nornir, spinning the threads of fate. They were watching me.
VALKA: Hm. Not watching. They were showing you the way forward. Your life. Your path. What lies before you, and where it ends.
EIVOR: And the wolf was eager for my attention. As if it were... beckoning me to follow.
VALKA: You are the Wolf-Kissed, fated to carry its mark for life. In this case, it might represent your ambition... or your fear.
EIVOR: I saw the gates to Odin's hall of slain champions. They opened for me.
VALKA: Shades of Valhalla. For which you are destined.
EIVOR: I do not know what else to say. M-my memories are faint, hazy.
VALKA: Did you reach the summit of this mountain?
EIVOR: I did, yes. Sigurd was there. Wounded, in pain. His fighting arm was missing. Then the wolf reappeared, the size of a dragon, twisted and terrible. It fixed its eyes on me and struck! Then I awoke.
VALKA: The gods favor you, Eivor. They always have. You will have your glory, and you will earn your place in Valhalla. But these portents carry a darker truth. The missing arm, the trail of blood, the beast. You will betray your brother, Sigurd. That is the meaning of your vision
EIVOR: That cannot be right. I would never betray Sigurd. He's my brother, my family.
VALKA: The Nornir have spoken, and this is their message.
EIVOR: No, this is wrong. Or you misunderstand. That cannot be right!
VALKA: You will betray Sigurd.
EIVOR: Odin fought against his fate. It can be done.
[“A Seer’s Solace” synchronized.]
OUPOST LEADER: That god-cursed bacraut has deserted again!
EIVOR: Why are you shouting?
OUTPOST LEADER: Eyvind has wandered off again. Every time, he claims he got lost in the mountains. I have had enough. If have to risk more men looking for him, he will be branded and outlawed.
EIVOR: Eyvind... he is Gunnar's sister's son if I have it right. Do not fire your irons yet, I will have a look around.
OUTPOST LEADER: (into the wild) Come back or be branded a deserter! Do you want to be an outlaw? This is your last chance!
[EIVOR rides back to the village and finds Randvi.]
EIVOR: They must be finished now.
RANDVI: The king has called for his best mead, so the talks are concluded. It should be safe to enter.
EIVOR: I'm ready to face the thunder. I will speak with the king now.
[He enters the richly decorated king's house.]
GUTHORM THE WISE: Excellent, King Styrbjorn. I will take this proposal to my nephew. I believe he will see the wisdom in it.
STYRBJORN: Good. It is all I can hope for. May the-- (notices EIVOR) May the winds favor your voyage, Guthorm. Eivor, come forward. And explain in plain words why you have willfully disobeyed my commands. Do you mock me?
EIVOR: I do not mock you, king. I mean to embolden you ... against your enemies. And your own poor judgment.
STYRBJORN: You know nothing of my judgment. You know nothing of my plans and strategies,
EIVOR: Sigurd would agree with me.
STYRBJORN: My son might agree with you, but he would obey me. He knows his place.
EIVOR: Not as well as he knows his father.
STYRBJORN: Imagine you are harassed by an enemy with warriors that vastly outnumber your own. What profit does open war bring? Would it not be better to work quietly, through diplomacy, gaining alliances? Waiting until the day our numbers outweigh our enemies' and our victory is guaranteed?
EIVOR: Do we have any allies to speak of? Or is that your excuse to do nothing?
STYRBJORN: Your confidence blinds you to so much in plain sight, Eivor. Day and night I toil to forge ties with clans to the north. Very soon you will see the fruits of my efforts. Only then will you understand.
EIVOR: Is that all?
STYRBJORN: I'm at a loss with you, Eivor. When I took you in as my own, never did I imagine such disrespect from the child of Varin. Your father was a fine man. Just and loyal to me. He died bravely so that we might live.
EIVOR: He died a coward, lord. A fate I will not mirror.
STYRBJORN: Why do you carry such a useless burden? Let it go. Think only of the days to come, of your future, and the victories at hand.
EIVOR: My honor has been stained. Until it's wiped clean, I want nothing else,
STYRBJORN: I refuse to pick at that wound again. But if there is something that can chase these shadows from your thoughts--
[From afar the sounds of a horn can be heard. RANDVI enters the room.]
RANDVI: Sigurd has come! Down at the docks, his ship is here!
[“Family Matters” synchronized. EIVOR runs to the docks.]
The Prodigal Prince
SIGURD: Hey, hey! Careful with that one. Eivor!
SIGURD: O, look at you, blood-soaked drengr. Have you been warring without me?
EIVOR: Ah, and you, salt-cured vikingr. I smell the stink of a dozen kingdoms in your beard.
SIGURD: It's just the start. Randvi, my dear wife. Your husband returns, bringing gifts and riches to share.
RANDVI: And new friends, I see.
SIGURD: Yes! Basim ... and Hytham. We met in Miklagard, and they showed me her buried secrets.
BASIM: We are grateful to Sigurd for his invitation, and eager to pay tribute to your king.
EIVOR: My brother is always very careful with the company he keeps. If you are standing safely beside him, he must like you.
SIGURD: Eivor, save the introductions until our bellies are full. I will see my father, tell him of my time away. This morning we traded with a ship passing south. They told us Eivor the Wolf-kissed was captured by Kjotve's men.
EIVOR: They must have cut the tale short. I killed my captors and recovered my crew. And for that, your father scolded me.
EIVOR: You know where I stand, Brother. Nothing short of war will dislodge Kjotve from our lands. But he disagrees.
SIGURD: I know, I know. Father thinks too much and acts too little. Today that changes. I promise you. By the winter's end, the name Kjotve the Cruel will be a curse on the lips of a drunken fool.
STYRBJORN: My son. Welcome home.
SIGURD: Ah, Father...
STYRBJORN: Tonight we feast and celebrate your return, Sigurd. The tables are laid with barley and lamb, bread and mead--
SIGURD: And no more, I beg you. I want nothing you would not serve a thrall (stave). Let me be the one to honor you. I bring gifts and tales from far away lands. After two winters away, I am full up with both.
STYRBJORN: Very well, very well. Come inside.
SIGURD: And when we are fat and satisfied, Father, we will talk of Kjotve and his clan. And how we may end their terror, once and for all. He has dogged us too long. Shamed us for too many seasons, I know this. Eivor knows this…
SIGURD: It ends now.
STYRBJORN: Yes, of course. When the time is right.
SIGURD: Through Rusland we barreled down the Volga river, raiding as we went, shadowy tribes hurling spears at our ship. At Miklagard, we saw men bedecked in riches as vibrant as the Bifrost itself. These we took for our troubles, of course! We sailed to Rome, then Africa. Past oceans of sand, warriors of all colors, and beauty the eyes must weep to behold. And now, I have returned! With riches and glory to share with my family, my friends, my ice-forged drengir! So take what you desire from my hoard. For this... this is only a taste of things to come. Tomorrow, the Raven Clan starts anew!
STYRBJORN: Skal, Sigurd.
SIGURD: Skal! And you. Eivor. Come! I have something special for you.
RANDVI: Eivor. Have you paid a visit to Valka?
EIVOR: I did.
EIVOR: It is not something I can speak on. Or wish to.
RANDVI: I understand.
EIVOR: Your bed will be warm tonight with your husband returned. That must be a good feeling.
RANDVI: It is a different feeling. Warmer, but with less space to stretch my arms and legs.
EIVOR: Are you not happy to see your husband returned?
RANDVI: Of course. But it has been so long, he seems a stranger to me. Three winters we are married and he has been away for two.
EIVOR: Can you not rekindle the flame that once burned hot?
RANDVI: Hmph. When he crawls into bed to warm me, as you say, it will be with farts and honeyed breath.
EIVOR: Ah, we should all be so lucky.
EIVOR: Sigurd has raised the reputation of this clan to new heights, tord. We could not have asked for a more joyous return.
STYRBJORN: O, but we could have. Had Sigurd spent his last two winters here in Fornburg, defending our lands, we might have been rid of Kjotve by now.
EIVOR: You always said we needed more warriors to fight Kjotve. And for warriors, we need wealth, which Sigurd has brought us.
STYRBJORN: The wealth he brings will not buy us an army. It only buys us time before our end.
EIVOR: You talk like a man with one foot in Helheim. Have you no plan of your own to rid this land of our enemy? Or will it fall to Sigurd and me?
STYRBJORN: I do. But it will fall to you and Sigurd to accept it. And I must have your word that you will.
EIVOR: If you so order it, my king, it will be done. You have my axe until the end.
STYRBJORN: Hmm. We shall see.
EIVOR: Hytham is it?
HYTHAM: Yes, and you are Eivor?
EIVOR: I am. I hope this ruckus does not overwhelm you. We tend to drink and talk at equal speed.
HYTHAM: Not at all. The woodsmoke from your firepit does sting the eyes. But the warmth is welcome.
EIVOR: Of course. It must be rather warm where you live.
HYTHAM: Where I live changes from week to week. But always I am with my mentor, Basim.
EIVOR: Your mentor? For what cause?
HYTHAM: A noble one, a cause as true as the world is old. But let us leave it at that for now.
EIVOR: I understand. But if you hope to stay tight-lipped for the rest of the night, keep clear of Tekla's mead.
HYTHAM: Ah. Thank you for the warning. It will not be a problem.
EIVOR: You are Basim?
BASIM: You have a good memory.
EIVOR: And you have no mead. Can I fix that?
BASIM: Sigurd spoke often of you on our journey. Called you his right arm, a celebrated warrior… I am honored to meet you.
EIVOR: Likewise, Basim. And how did you come to meet my brother?
BASIM: He set down in Constantinople some months ago, to rest and resupply he told me. But knew otherwise. Men with eyes that gleam like his are always up to something more. I think he wished to raid the Hagia Sophia.
EIVOR: That sounds right.
BASIM: I will not bore you with the details of our meeting, but I liked your brother from the first. I saw something in him that captivated me. As if a forgotten memory of an old friendship had suddenly resurfaced.
EIVOR: He has that effect on people. Enjoy your evening, Basim.
SIGURD: I thought long and hard on a gift worthy of you.
EIVOR: You have snared my curiosity, Brother. What is it?
SIGURD: Not yet. Drinks first! To my first night in Fornburg in over two winters. It must end with me soaked and wall eyed, shouting at the shadows of trolls!
EIVOR: And you want me to sail with you on these honey-waves?
SIGURD: Yes! You are stuck with me, drengr. Now drink! Gah! You would put Thor to shame!
EIVOR: Forgive me. On your first day back, I should have let you win.
SIGURD: Gods, you should have let me start!
EIVOR: It is good to have you back, Sigurd.
SIGURD: Yes, I have missed this terribly. When I first met Basim, I regaled him with tales of our homeland. And it was then I felt a hard longing to return at once.
SIGURD: Come. This brings us to your gift. These excellent men were my shepherds through much of their homeland, the Abbasid, Caliphate. They are a clan not joined by blood, but by a common idea. A brotherhood of shadows executing their own form of justice. In my time with them, they shared many of their most hidden secrets. For which I am grateful. And now... ...I gift one of these secrets to you. A weapon, for the finest warrior I know.
[He gives EIVOR a richly decorated handcuff of gold and precious stones. HYTHAM and BASIM look at each other.]
EIVOR: Hytham is not amused, it seems. Am I not worthy of this gift?
HYTHAM: It is not about worth, Eivor. It is a matter of devotion to our creed. And... and training,
BASIM: Hytham, please.
HYTHAM: Mentor, I must protest. This is deeply unorthodox. Our wrist-blade is a sacred tool--
BASIM: Do not make a fetish out of cold metal, Hytham. What matters is the mind of the one who wields it. Please. Try it on. The blade should ride on the underside of your arm. To conceal it from your target.
[He shows his hidden blade of assassins.]
EIVOR: I have no wish to hide this. And I would rather not make the same mistake you two have. I like it.
HYTHAM: This is no mistake. This is a voluntary sacrifice to prove our devotion to--
SIGURD: Outside. This is not something for all eyes.
EIVOR: Lead on.
[They walk outside.]
EIVOR: This clan of yours. It has a name?
BASIM: Indeed, but among the tenets of our creed is a vow to never reveal too much to outsiders. In time, you may learn more. But not here, where the walls and trees may have ears.
EIVOR: I look forward to it.
BASIM: Here, let me lead you through our most basic techniques. Wielded with skill and care, our blade delivers a singular killing blow. As you near your target, find your window to strike. Timing is essential. (EIVOR assassinates a dummy) Excellent.
EIVOR: I have not seen a blade so sharp.
BASIM: Some targets are trickler than others. Keep that in mind before you strike,
HYTHAM: A decent attempt.
BASIM: Take that one down from the ledge. A perfect strike.
SIGURD: How about a challenge? Leap down upon that target from above.
BASIM: That's it! Use your surroundings when possible. Strike from that haystack, for instance. Exactly. Just like that.
HYTHAM: Mentor, does Eivor intend to join us?
BASIM: Not that I am aware.
HYTHAM: Then why offer him the blade? Surely we have more--
BASIM: Hytham. Hush. A perfect strike. You wield the blade well. Let us leave Eivor to enjoy his gift in peace. Come.
[Basim and Hytham leave.]
SIGURD: Eivor. Let us walk to the docks and take in the night air. What do you make of my new friends?
EIVOR: They seem generous and menacing in equal measure
SIGURD: I know what you mean. And they have learning too. They wield numbers and writing as if it were magic. Basim has shown me so much about the world. All of which I will share with you ... when the time is right. Ah! I missed the smell of this land.
EIVOR: Have you returned for good, or do you mean to join this shadow brotherhood?
SIGURD: Leave all that aside, Eivor. Tonight we are family again. The here and now is what matters. Our kinship, our clan... our glory.
EIVOR: I missed you, Brother. Your clear head and your courage. We have not had enough of both in recent months.
SIGURD: You flatter me, Wolf-Kissed. Keep it up.
EIVOR: From here to Valhalla, I will always be on your side, Sigurd. Always.
SIGURD: This fjord has grown too small to contain me, or too large. There is so much more beyond these stony fangs that rise around us. England, Ireland, Francia... all greener pastures, ripe for the plucking. Tomorrow we make new war on Kjotve. And reclaim the lands he took from us. And from there, we build a kingdom. For us.
EIVOR: I'm with you. Only say the word.
SIGURD: Good. Get some rest and return here at first light.
[“The Prodigal Prince” synchronized. EIVOR goes to sleep. In his dream he hears VALKA’S words...]
VALKA: The Nornir have spoken... You will betray Sigurd.
EIVOR: No, this is wrong. That cannot be right!
EIVOR: Odin fought against his fate. It can be done.
VALKA: You will betray Sigurd.
EIVOR: (wakes up) Shit ... Kjotve's warriors.
[He runs to his first mission - to kill Kjotve’s spies and test he gift for real.]
EIVOR: This one would not have come alone. I should find the others.
NORSE WARRIOR: I have a bad feeling... just the three of us... we should return to Nottfall with our report. While we can.
NORSE WARRIOR: We can bring Kjotve news of the longships, or we can wake him with Sigurd Styrbjornsson's head. Which is better?
[EIVOR kills the other spies.]
EIVOR: Sigurd must know about this.
[He returns to his brother.]
SIGURD: With each day we wait, Kjotve grows stronger.
STYRBJORN: I speak as your king. Sigurd. Not your father. Heed my warnings or be off!
SIGURD: You will be king of nothing if you do not act soon.
STYRBJORN: We do not have the men to storm Kjotve's fortress. The losses would ruin us!
SIGURD: The losses have ruined us, Father! Until we cut off this serpent's head, it will poison us, day by day, drop by drop!
[EIVOR approaches them.]
EIVOR: The poison has already polluted our waters.
STYRBJORN: Gods, Eivor, what happened?
EIVOR: Spies in our camp. Three men, sent by Kjotve to kill us as we slept. I returned the favor.
SIGURD: There, you see? This is what waiting brings. We must answer this insult!
EIVOR: They came from Nottfall, that whaling village under Kjotve's control.
SIGURD: We hit him there. Burn it down, before Kjotve learns his spies are dead.
EIVOR: He may have sent more. I can search the village while you round up the crew.
BASIM: No need. I will send Hytham to search the area. You can rely on him while we are away.
EIVOR: We? Do you mean to join us?
BASIM: I have not been bred for Valhalla like you, but this will be far from my first battle.
STYRBJORN: I do not like this, but I will not stop you. (to EIVOR) Do not lead my son into the same storm that follows you.
[EIVOR boards his ship and sails with SIGURD.]
SIGURD: Warriors! Drengir! When I was away, far from these frozen shores, wondering if I should ever see home again, I grew afraid. Afraid I would not return in time to see Kjotve's end! Afraid I would not see him bleed out like a stuck pig in a drift of snow! But here I am, home in time to join those I have missed, those I love, in this glorious fight! Today we seize Nottfall from Kjotve! Tonight his heart will pulse with worry, tomorrow it will burst from fear! He will beseech the gods for aid, but they will be deaf to his cries. And soon the Raven Clan will feast on his dead! You know these isles best, Wolf-Kissed. Lead us to victory.
EIVOR: I will show the way, but you must lead us there.
SIGURD: O. Eivor, I missed having you at my side. How I wished I could have taken you along on my travels.
EIVOR: Styrbjorn did not trust fate with both our lives.
SIGURD: He had no reason to fear. Together, we are unstoppable.
DAG: Some time ago, I met a wandering skald in search of a jarl or king to serve.
BRAGI: Here is a tale to tickle your sides. The winter before, I was drinking in Stavanger with some companions.
EIVOR: Get ready!
[They land on the shore of Nottfall and go into battle.]
SIGURD: The Ravens claim Nottfall for Odin!
EIVOR: Raze this place! Burn and pillage! And let all who pledge to Kjotve feel the frost of our steel!
BASIM: Watch your backs!
SIGURD: Supply wagons. We should destroy them.
BASIM: Stay focused!
SIGURD: Nottfalls lies in ruin! Let the blood and ash be a warning!
BRAGI: Ships are coming!
[EIVOR returns to SIGURD.]
GUTHORM THE WISE: Hail, Raven Clan! You reap a bloody harvest.
SIGURD: Who are you, gestr (stranger). Name yourself.
EIVOR: I know his face. He met with your father not long ago.
GUTHORM THE WISE: I did indeed. I am Guthorm, uncle to King Harald of the North. I speak for my nephew when there is need.
SIGURD: This is not King Harald's land. Why does he send warriors so far south?
GUTHORM THE WISE: You may ask him yourself. My lord?
KING HARALD: Thank you, Uncle. You are Sigurd of the Raven Clan, is that right? Son of the wise King Styrbjorn?
SIGURD: I am. And you are standing on his land, King Harald. Land we have reclaimed with blood and steel.
KING HARALD: That I see, and I honor it. For I have not come to war against you, but for you. At the request of your father.
EIVOR: The canny wolf. Was this the plan he spoke of?
KING HARALD: I offer my support. With my warriors, your Raven Clan can take Kjotve's fortress and settle this rivalry for good.
SIGURD: This is good news, Eivor. The wandering king will tip our fortunes.
EIVOR: Why risk your men to help us, king? Have you a stake in this fight?
KING HARALD: This war between Kjotve's clan and your own has long simmered on my southern border. I wish to see it put to rest. There will be no peace while Kjolve lives. But there is much agreement between your father and me.
SIGURD: This blood feud runs deep, King Harald. We welcome your help, but I must lead the charge.
KING HARALD: I see. Is this a question of honor?
EIVOR: It is. Many winters ago, Kjotve broke an oath to our fathers. He betrayed a friendly peace, and slaughtered many...
KING HARALD: I understand. Sigurd Jarl will lead the assault against Kjotve and his clan. Give him full command of my ships and my warriors. When your victory is in hand, Sigurd, find me at Atrekstad and we will celebrate together.
[The king leaves.]
GUTHORM THE WISE: Our men will gather at Florli, near the mouth of the fjord northeast of here. Will you join us?
SIGURD: Hold a moment. You captain our longship. Eivor. Meet us there and we will claim Kjotve's head for the gods.
EIVOR: Brother, I have waited too many years for this day. When Kjotve stands before us, give me the final blow.
SIGURD: You will have it, Eivor. You deserve it.
DAG: Eivor, give us a hand! Harald is generous with his troops. More than I would be.
EIVOR: I cannot fathom his game. He is either a young fool... or deceptively wise.
DAG: Whatever his reason, I have a good feeling this war is near its end.
[“Rude Awakening” synchronized.]
A Cruel Destiny
[EIVOR finds SIGURD and GUTHORM. They discuss future plans at a map.]
SIGURD: Eivor, you missed the opening act. Kjotve's forward camp melted like a spring thaw at our approach.
EIVOR: It is from here we launch our attack?
GUTHORM THE WISE: We do indeed, and we are ready to fight. King Harald's forces are well in place. Only give the word.
SIGURD: I will. But before we strike, I have a request.
GUTHORM THE WISE: Name it.
SIGURD: That Eivor may give challenge to Kjotve at the gates of his fortress. A battle to the death in single combat.
GUTHORM THE WISE: Is... is this what you want?
EIVOR: Kjotve robbed my father of all honor and dignity. I will win it back.
SIGURD: When honor is at stake, let none interfere. And it Kjotve should die before the battle begins, all the better for our chances.
EIVOR: I have waited years for this, but I will not risk losing it through rashness. We should wait until the time is right.
SIGURD: We set sail when you are ready.
[EIVOR rises to SIGURD. On the way he meets a woman and a man, desperately diving into the lake.]
Comb of Champions
FIRST SUITOR: I'll be the one to find it. Just you wait and see.
BIL: It must be around here somewhere. I think there are some spots you missed!
EIVOR: What are these men hunting for?
BIL: My comb. Whoever finds it wins an evening of my company. Care to join them?
FIRST SUITOR: I'll be the one to find it. Just you wait and see.
BIL: It must be around here somewhere.
SECOND SUITOR: I think I found the comb! Wait ... this is a jawbone.
[EIVOR helps you find the comb.]
EIVOR: I think this is yours.
BIL: Halt in your search! A winner, and my comb has been found. Now, the prize for finding my comb is some of my time. A walk in nature, maybe more if that is where our conversation takes us.
EIVOR: I see. Lead on.
BIL: You are different than the kind my flights of fancy attract. Burdened, decorated and… delicate.
BIL: The others, they are like clubs. Blunt and ungainly, you are nimble, like a knife.
EIVOR: Are you so in need of suitors that any passing woodsman or vikingr will do?
BIL: I was married once. My Alfi died five winters back. Ours was a perfect marriage. I do not need another. But, am I to go the rest of my days without love or attention? I think not.
EIVOR: And the comb?
BIL: Could be a comb, could be a brooch, or an arm ring. So long as it's lost and to be found by a helping hand.
EIVOR: Any good tales come of this?
BIL: Once I thought the same man had stumbled across me three times... gave me a fright. Turned out to be triplets.
EIVOR: If this comb is worth nothing to you, what shall I do with it?
BIL: You could keep it. Comb your hair. Or, I could comb it if you like.
EIVOR: Comb my hair? Is that why those men scrambled over each other?
BIL: I could do more than comb your hair, find all your knots and snags and tame them... if you'd like.
EIVOR: My shoulders are tense, and my hair is a tangle. I could use a softer touch for these kinks.
BIL: Then let me. Hm-hm. Delicate touch, indelicate voice. This was fun, Eivor. Hold onto the comb, as a keepsake.
EIVOR: Thank you, Bil. You tamed some knots I haven't been able to reach myself.
[“Comb of Champions” synchronized. EIVOR climbs into a large cave.]
ERIK LOYALSKULL: If you come looking for bears, there are none living here. Not now. But I have a better proposition than a rousing hunt. If you are a true drengr, a warrior with honor running like sunlight in your veins, then you may help me fulfill my destiny.
EIVOR: You are a long way from any warm hearth, warrior. Is this where you call home?
ERIK LOYALSKULL: My name is Erik Loyalskull. The great King Ragnar Lothbrok named me such, when we fought, tearing up the fields of England. We built families, overthrew kingdoms, sailed mountains, fought for whole seasons, and now... now he is gone.
EIVOR: All of Norway laments the passing of King Ragnar. I cannot imagine the sorrow his warriors now feel.
ERIK LOYALSKULL: We are but six who remain, his most loyal drengir. Yet without his guiding light, his strength and vision, we are lost. It was in this cavern that I knew my life was tied to Ragnar's. We were young, hunting a bear, when we chanced upon this spot. He killed it with nothing but a knife. Leapt on its back, held tight, writhing like a fly on a dragon, he stayed put and it was done. Together we celebrated the kill, as if we had felled the beast together. That is when I knew I would live and die for this man. I did not die beside my lord in Aella's pit of snakes. But I can make amends. Fight me, warrior. Send me to meet him in Odin's hall.
EIVOR: I must wait for the ideal time to fight such a warrior of your class, drengr. Have patience.
ERIK LOYALSKULL: I will wait. Please. Indulge me with the honor of my death.
EIVOR: It is with great honor I will fight a true drengr. When you're ready.
ERIK LOYALSKULL: Very well. For Ragnar Lothbrok, the true King of Norway. For Ragnar, for glory, for the wandering drengir do I raise my blade.
[They begin to fight.]
ERIK LOYALSKULL: You honor me with your skill and ferocity. That is all that matters. You are a true drengr. Ragnar would have liked you!
ERIK LOYALSKULL: A fitting end to honorable warring. Now I go to see my brother, he who laughed at death, scourge of all England, Ragnar Lothbrok.
EIVOR: Farewell, drengr. Listen for hoof-beats, and follow the Valkyries home.
[Finally, EIVOR goes to SIGURD.]
SIGURD: Are you prepared to embrace your destiny, Eivor?
EIVOR: Today my blade must do the work of Skuld's sharp scissors and cut short the cord of Kjotve's fate.
SIGURD: Well said, my sharp-tongued warrior-skald. May we all live to hear that saga sung.
BASIM: Eivor, a word.
EIVOR: Basim. Hytham. This feud is not yours, yet you fight it all the same. I find that strange.
BASIM: You find it strange because you are wrong. Our clan, the Hidden Ones, have been fighting with Kjotve's Order for centuries.
EIVOR: You came from Miklagard to kill Kjotve yourself?
BASIM: We did. Or rather, we came so that Hytham could kill him. My apprentice has been studying this target for many months.
EIVOR: Is Kjotve's reputation so great outside Norway?
BASIM: Not his reputation alone, but the order to which he belongs. Something of a rival clan to our own.
EIVOR: Hytham, I mean no disrespect to you or the ... Hidden Ones, but Kjotve is mine. My family's honor is at stake.
HYTHAM: I understand. All that matters is that Kjotve dies this day.
BASIM: On that, we are agreed.
[EIVOR goes to a meeting with his old enemy. In front of a large wooden structure people are preparing for a real celebration. They drink and prepare the arena for the future battle. Everything starts in the evening. Warriors chant the name of their leader.]
NORSE WARRIOR: KJOTVE! KJOTVE! KJOTVE! KJOTVE! KJOTVE! KJOTVE!
[Kjotve comes out with two axes in hands. He is dressed in luxurious clothes.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Sigurd Whoreson! You slink around my walls like a thief in the night! Face me here, now!
[EIVOR comes to the arena.]
EIVOR: The fight is mine, Kjotve. Sigurd is only here to watch me feed your innards to my raven.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Look at this! Once again, Eivor Wolf-Kissed appears to take a swipe at me!
[EIVOR takes out his father's axe and raises it up.]
EIVOR: This... this is my father's shame! Today I take back the honor he lost. I call a holmgang (duel)! Here against the oath-breaker.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: I will make you beg as your father begged, Wolf-Kissed! Squeal, as your mother squealed!
[He sticks the axes into a pole and attacks EIVOR.]
EIVOR: You destroyed my life. I will take yours.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: You are weak like your father was weak. You dance better than you fight.
[Having received several blows with the spear, Kjotve runs to his axes.]
EIVOR: My blade will drink your blood.
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Your flesh will feed my wolves.
[After a fierce fight, KJOTVE grabs EIVOR and throws him into a pit. The crowd cheers their leader's victory and distracts him for a moment. In this very second, HYTHAM jumps to him from above with a hidden blade ready.]
[Kjotve easily throws away the loser.]
[The battle continues.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: A shameful trick, Wolf-Kissed. You are your father's child.
[In the end, Aivor kills his sworn enemy with a hidden blade. After that he teleports... to another place. He hears a voice.]
ODIN: Rise, Eivor... and awaken.
EIVOR: Odin? What do you want of me?
[The man in the hood and with the spear, ODIN, is walking away. KJOTVE appears.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: You have won your prize, Wolf-Kissed. The glory of my death.
[Odin knocks his spear on the ground and KJOTVE falls to his knees.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: All for this... ...your coward father and his empty sacrifice.
[Odin knocks his spear one the ground one more time. KJOTVE takes a skull out of his bag and shows it to EIVOR.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: Heed the price of our war, Wolf-Kissed. The harvest of three dead generations. All their names, unknown. It all means nothing.
[He throw the skull to EIVOR’S feet.]
EIVOR: No. My clan will not be forgotten!
[He pulls out the spear from Odin's hands and knocks it on the ground with force. A huge pole that has grown out of the ground pierces Kjotve.]
KJOTVE THE CRUEL: I fought as I did, as hard as I did, to survive. For I know what awaits us in the end. Only darkness.
[A crow with a medallion in its beak flies out of KJOTVE’S mouth. It throws the medallion in EIVOR’S hands. He returns to the real world.]
GORM: Raven Clan! Your lives are forfeit! Come forward if you must, into the crucible of your doom!
EIVOR: Your father is dead, Gorm! His debt repaid! Open the gates and you will be spared!
GORM: Wallow in shit, Wolf-Kissed! Archers, take aim!
EIVOR: Ravens! Show no mercy!
GORM: Archers... Fire!
EIVOR: Forward to glory!
[The Raven Clan begins the siege.]
DAG: Get those ladders up, you soft pricks!
SIGURD: Get over that wall and take down the gate!
EIVOR: Odin is with us! Hew their heads and spill their blood!
SIGURD: Get over that wall and take down the gate! Eivor! Gorm fled into the church!
[EIVOR ran inside the church.]
GORM: A blind pursuit of vengeance has made you predictable.
EIVOR: You are a shadow of your father, Gorm. Weak and witless.
GORM: And you will leave this place as ashes on the wind.
[EIVOR pursues Gorm, but he manages to escape from the fortress.]
EIVOR: The coward Gorm flees. His father dies twice today.
[EIVOR returns to SIGURD.]
SIGURD: Eivor! We have the day. Let the coward go. Eivor! The breath-of-battle rises from my brow! The skalds will sing of this night!
EIVOR: We have won the day, but Gorm escaped. He fled north, to King Harald's domain.
SIGURD: Let that bruised piglet run where he may. His father is dead, his clan is no more. We are the masters of Rygjafylke.
EIVOR: A toothless cub may grow to be a dangerous wolf.
SIGURD: Eivor, stop. And listen. You have reclaimed your honor. Enjoy the night's victory, tomorrow we will celebrate.
EIVOR: You're right, Brother. You're always right.
SIGURD: Guthorm! Relay news of our victory to your nephew, the king.
GUTHORM THE WISE: I have done so already. Sigurd. He'll be more than pleased, and will ensure you pride of place at his Althing (clan gathering) at Alrekstad.
SIGURD: Tell him we will come! Battle flushed and singing songs of glory.
EIVOR: Keep company with kings and you will soon have a crown of your own.
SIGURD: If the fates have spun it so. Linger here and loot what you can. I will bring news of our victory to Father before he leaves for Harald's Althing.
EIVOR: I know, Synin. Another time...
Old Man on the Edge
[Traveling through the snow-covered mountains, EIVOR finds a box of belongings lying in the snow...]
EIVOR: This crate is marked “for Odin.” Is it an offering?
[He climbs to the top of the mountain and finds an old man, the owner of the box. He is standing at the edge of the cliff.]
OLD HAREK: Gods grant me power to offer this sacrifice! Give me the strength to give to you!
EIVOR: What is all this?
OLD HAREK: My life. The fruit of my work, all gathered here, and now I lack the strength to throw it off this cliff.
EIVOR: You carried everything up here only to throw it all down?
OLD HAREK: The horse did most of it. It is the only way I can send my belongings into the next world. My children will not bury it with me. They say they do not want it, but I know they will sell it all once my light burns out. Will you lend me your strength? Throw everything over the cliff. The farther you throw the better their chance of reaching the next world.
EIVOR: Is that how it works?
[He begins to throw boxes off the cliff.]
EIVOR: Why is everything packed in straw?
OLD HAREK: I did not want anything to break. That contains a bow given to me by Halfdan the Black after I put an arrow under King Sigtyg's left arm.
EIVOR: That sounds like quite the shot.
OLD HAREK: That contains a drinking horn I received from King Halfdan for capturing his bride, Ragnhild.
OLD HAREK: That contains a silver harpoon head I received from King Harald, for pulling Halfdan's frozen body out of the ice.
EIVOR: They are a generous family.
OLD HAREK: You missed a few things.
EIVOR: The gods will get the idea.
OLD HAREK: Thank you for your help. You did not have to do this.
EIVOR: Kind and courageous people live the best lives, but it can be a difficult path to keep.
OLD HAREK: I have tried to live well. It is enough that the gods know that, even if the name Harek Gand is forgotten in Midgard.
EIVOR: So what will you do, now that this task is done?
OLD HAREK: Done? That was to announce my arrival. Now, I leave this world. Enjoy your life. (runs to the edge of the cliff) To Asgard!
EIVOR: What! Wait!
OLD HAREK: (jumps) Thank you...!
EIVOR: Thor's Hammer... that was a shock.
[“Old Man on the Edge” mission synchronized. EIVOR boards his ship.]
BRAGI: Onarr the Ugly was an excellent sailor, who could pilot a Longship entirely on his own, and this is why King Sigvaldi kept him around. In all other matters, Onarr was a cruel, anxious, and humorless man. He was one of the most unlikable people I have ever known. One year, I recall we had invited some karls from the Yngling Clan to dine with us. As we were serving ale, we came to find that we had none left. It so happened that the ale had run out just before reaching Onarr's horn. This raised in him a word-storm, and he accused Sigvaldi of treachery. Every man in the longhouse jeered at Onarr for raising such a fuss. This made Onarr angrier than before, and he stormed out. A short time later we heard him yelling through door of the hall, "I set this scorn pole upon the men of Yngling for their dishonor!". We looked outside and saw that Onarr had severed one of the heads of the Yngling's horses and stuck it upon a hazel branch. When he saw us gathering at the door, the Yngling karls among us, Onarr panicked and ran. He was not seen for many months.
[Having sailed to some island, EIVOR finds a hunter.]
The Plight of the Warlock
HUNTER: Be careful or be cursed.
EIVOR: What is this menace you shout about? Is it some creature you hunt?
HUNTER: My prey is the most cunning of beasts, capable of vile deeds beyond the ability of any common animal.
EIVOR: You are hunting someone then.
HUNTER: A warlock. One who once called himself a man but has since befouled his hugr, his whole being, with twisted seidr magic.
EIVOR: This has the feel of something more personal.
HUNTER: The evil spider who squats in yonder hut poisoned my own sister. For that alone, it deserves to die. But maybe you would be moved to help by the bounty King Harald has offered for any warlock killed.
EIVOR: Profit can persuade where passion fails. I will weigh this against the effort.
HUNTER: The warlock makes its lair down this road to the left. Keep an eye out.
[EIVOR follows the hunter and comes out to a hut in the woods.]
WARLOCK: Have you come to face me finally? Or will you continue to harass me from afar?
EIVOR: Are you the warlock who laid a curse on this land?
WARLOCK: There was a curse here long before I came along. A curse of ignorance that infects all of Midgard.
EIVOR: So, you are not using your magic against this land and its people.
WARLOCK: I try to use my knowledge to help others. I am only a threat to those who fear the unknown, of which there are many.
EIVOR: There's a hunter who believes you poisoned his sister.
WARLOCK: I tried to save her! I made a mixture that would have burned away her illness, but he chose to drench her in pig's blood. If there is any blame here, it lies on him and his ignorant kin. He killed his sister.
HUNTER: Do not listen. He will poison our thoughts.
WARLOCK: You have no thoughts to poison!
[The hunter attacks the warlock. EIVOR helps the hunter.]
HUNTER: Die, monster!
WARLOCK: To Hel with you!
[Together they kill the warlock.]
HUNTER: One day this land will be cleansed of these twisted deceivers. I struck first, so I will claim the bounty. You may take what you wish from its carcass.
[“The Plight of the Warlock” mission synchronized. After a brief robbery of the murdered warlock's hut, Avor returns to the ship.]
BRAGI: I knew a crazed man about my age called Rokr, who we had taken to calling Rokr the Rodent for his habit of collecting axes. For twenty years he collected axes of all make and size. He had never seen a day of battle, but he swore to Thor that he would. In his thirty-first year, after drinking too much ale, Rok seduced another man's wife. That man called a holmgang against Rokr. Rokr accepted the holmgang and on the agreed upon day, he laid out twelve of his axes, and asked, "Which of these will I use to slay you?" "Will it be Bone-Splitter?" he said, "My bearded blade, inscribed with seidr runes, affixed to a handle of English oak?" "Or Blood-Fountain," he continued, "My Dane axe, which swings through the air on two hands with the speed of an arrow's flight." "Or might it be Twin-Wolf-Wounder," Rokr growled, growing ever more bold, "A fierce pair of throwing axes..." At that moment, the man who had challenged Rokr brought a large stone down upon his head. Rokr died instantly, and his axes were given away as gifts.
[Avor sails to new lands and decides to try hallucinogenic mushrooms… The effect wears off quickly though.]
EIVOR: (thinking) One who wanders widely and has traveled far will learn the scope of mankind's nature, and discover common sense.
[He enters an abandoned hut.]
EIVOR: Is anyone home?
[He starts exploring and investigating what happened there.]
EIVOR: (thinking) This is not a natural quiet. It's as if a curse has befallen this place. Ornir and Ymir. Wonder where they've gone.
EIVOR: Ymir was killed. Wolves. It must be the pack that Ornir quarreled with. Ornir. Your worst fears realized. But your death will not be in vain. A brutal fate. Torn to pieces by wolves. None remain on this island. I should leave this place.
[He boards his ship and sails away. Riding his horse through a snow-covered forest, he meets a man.]
A Desperate Bounty
HROREK: Come, if you have courage!
EIVOR: Which jarl?
HROREK: He has been taken by bandits. Come, quickly!
EIVOR: A jarl taken by bandits...?
HROREK: If you are as brave as you appear, you will come. You will be well rewarded! Follow me! Hurry, or they will kill him.
EIVOR: Kill him? Do they not want a ransom?
HROREK: Just hurry. We are near. Go on, they are up ahead.
EIVOR: You know where they are. You lead.
HROREK: Fine. Follow me.
[EIVOR starts brutally killing bandits.]
BANDIT: Kjotve has no power here!
[EIVOR realizes that there was no Jarl and that it was a trap. In a rage he goes to Hrorek.]
EIVOR: This pathetic gamble has cost them their lives.
HROREK: They threatened to kill me if I did not help.
EIVOR: So to save your life, you led others to their death.
HROREK: Our village was burned by Kjotve the Cruel. We had to flee to the forest. Those who survived grew mean and desperate. Olaf, one of the men you killed, said we had to fight for our land. But he only wanted to kill for silver.
EIVOR: There was no need for this fight. Kjotve is dead by my hand. I have lifted his boot from your neck.
HROREK: Olaf, you lifeless fool! You almost murdered our rescuer!
EIVOR: Your second mistake was choosing me as your prey.
HROREK: That was not a mistake. You looked like a good fighter. I was hoping you would kill or weaken Olaf so I could escape.
EIVOR: You are young and still foolish, so I will spare you your life. But cross me again or harm anyone I cherish, and you will join your friends in Helheim's foul forests.
HROREK: You will never see me again! I will be a white rabbit in the snow!
[“A Desperate Bounty” mission synchronized. EIVOR rides to his old village.]
EIVOR: Home. Or... it was home, once. Now it is nothing but bone. When Father first showed me this passage, I was so excited. I won every game of hide and fetch after that. Hacksilver. Gems. Precious things. How did Kjotve's dogs miss this? I loved climbing up here. Made me feel as high as a raven. Mother used to sing me to sleep by this hearth. Her voice made me feel safe. I have not felt safe since then. Not really. I spilled ink on this throne... the stain is still there, in the furs after all these years. Father was furious. This room, my old bed... they felt much larger when I was young. A lifetime ago, it seems. Mother. If I had followed your orders, would you have lived? Would you and Father have triumphed? This is where Father and Mother left this world. I would have died with them, in dishonor, if not for Sigurd.
[He sails away and rides to some village.]
A New England
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Welcome, traveler, to our lush and fertile shores!
EIVOR: I did not expect to find anyone on this island.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: And why not? This is England. Home to a nation of Saxons and Danes. Our shores are open for trade.
EIVOR: England? It is not what I expected.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Many from Norway find the trip dizzying, but fortunately, you have me to guide you. I know the land better than my own son.
EIVOR: Are you all right?
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: My son. Nesting with the Picts north of Hadrian's Wall. Who knows what schemes they are hatching... ...or the sort of people they might send to spy on me.
EIVOR: You said something about a tour.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Of course, of course, a tour. Follow me. This is the city of Lunden, first built by the Romans during ancient times. We have not seen builders like that since.
EIVOR: I guess they had to work with what they had.
[They walk around and come to the cliff.]
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: These are the Dover Cliffs, famous for their blue birds.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Here is Jorvik, the Dane city of trade. Keep this between us, but King Alfred has a plan for Jorvik.
EIVOR: I see.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: This is Hadrian's Wall. Our last line of defense against the barbarous Picts.
EIVOR: It is a line of sorts.
[They go deeper into the woods and come out to a hut.]
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: At the end of our tour is Wincestre, the heart of Wessex, where--Where is King Alfred? Those honorless Picts! They have taken the king! We must seek them north of Hadrian's Wall! Where are you, my king?
EIVOR: I am sure he is somewhere.
[Hysing finds a stuffed dummy designed for archery practice and falls to his knees in front of it.]
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Do not worry, my king! I am coming! Do not worry, my king!! I am coming! My king! What happened? Why won't you speak?
[A man appears.]
DJON THE WOODSMAN: Who in Hel's name are you? Why are you going through my things? Thor's balls, you found it! Why did you take it back? You set him off again.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Traitor! The king won't speak to me! You cut out his tongue!
DJON THE WOODSMAN: He has no tongue!
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: Because you cut it out!
EIVOR: You are his son.
DJON THE WOODSMAN: Do not feed this fantasy. His wits wither and become those of a babe. I took him here to ease his madness, but it grows worse. I try using reason or playing along, but he hears only what he wants to hear.
EIVOR: "Only what he wants to hear", hm? I have an idea that could help... if you let me. Old man, your king is worn out from his ordeal. I can hear him speak, very softly. He is praising you. He wants to thank...
DJON THE WOODSMAN: Hysing.
EIVOR: He wants to thank Hysing for his loyalty to the crown.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: What else does he say?
EIVOR: The Picts, terrified at word of your approach, will pledge themselves to the crown if you spare their lives.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: They will?
EIVOR: And they agree to pay a daily tribute of food and other goods in exchange for free passage through your lands.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: It is a good deal and greater news. Thank you. You may leave the king in my care now.
DJON THE WOODSMAN: This will only lead to further delusion.
EIVOR: You will know at least that he eats every day. And maybe, someday, the fog will lift.
DJON THE WOODSMAN: Forgive my ill will. I knew this would be a difficult end, but sometimes the weight bears down heavily.
EIVOR: There is courage and honor in what you do and the gods know it. Good luck to you.
[“A New England” mission synchronized.]
EIVOR: Looks like England is united.
HYSING THE WORLD-WISE: The Picts have been fine subjects. King Alfred is pleased.
DJON THE WOODSMAN: The peace holds. For now.
[EIVOR sails to Alrekstad. He sees a screaming child on the way.]
NORSE CHILD: (battle cry)
EIVOR: What is all this? Who bangs the drums of war?
KAIJA: Look at you. A battle-hardened vikingr! Just what we need.
EIVOR: O, and what do you need this battle-hardened warrior for?
KAIJA: One day we will be the greatest warriors beneath our banner. Skalds will write songs of the Wolf Pack. But, we must first practice our raiding.
EIVOR: (laughs) Going on a raid? Then we shall raid. Three wolves, and I will be fourth to your lead.
KAIJA: Wolf Pack! Onwards!
EIVOR: Wolf Pack!
KAIJA: They ran, four warriors, like four limbs of one clawing body. Each limb built to kill! Destroy!
[EIVOR shows his skills and helps children train.]
KAIJA: They arrived at the village, torches, axes, and blades at the ready. Ready for the slaughter.
NORSE CHILD: To war!
NORSE CHILD: (battle cry)
KAIJA: His bones shatter on impact! His insides are all outsides now! Full of lust for blood and battle, the Big Wolf smashes pots and bodies alike. Together, the Wolf Pack stands in the wreckage of the enemy village. Nothing remains but thralls to be taken, and flaming carnage! Come and kneel before your raid leader, Big Wolf!
EIVOR: A successful raid.
KAIJA: Yes! With your help, we slaughtered the Raven Clan for good!
EIVOR: The Raven Clan, you say?
KAIJA: Yes! Just like Kjotve Jarl's stories! One day, I'll be just like him! Death to Styrbjorn, death to the Raven Clan!
NORSE CHILD: (battle cry)
EIVOR: Kjotve's young raiders. I'll see you wolves on another battlefield one day.
NORSE CHILD: (laugh)
[“Battle Born” synchronized. EIVOR arrives at Alrekstad. He goes shopping.]
NORSE MAN: Welcome! Welcome! Come see what I have! Made with the finest ingredients! You should always have some of these! These are locally sourced! I'm giving you such a good deal! You should always have some of these! You couldn't have made a better choice. Can I tell people this used to be yours? You sure there isn't something else you wanted?
[Coming out of the store EIVOR sees a swearing couple - a woman and a man.]
RAID-LOVING HUSBAND: My love for you rises tall and strong, like the Tree of Life!
EIVOR: Does everyone in Alrekstad play their love-games so loudly?
RAID-LOVING WIFE: No, it is just my husband. He cannot satisfy his wife.
EIVOR: Ah. Old age?
RAID-LOVING WIFE: No, he is still young and fit. It was not always so. You could not keep us apart when we were raiding.
EIVOR: H-he would plow you during raids?
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Our first time was in the middle of a burning village... after a while, the crew made us stop. They said it was distracting.
EIVOR: Love can burn brighter near death. Have you tried revisiting these memories?
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Ja, but talking about it is not the same. I need to feel it. Smell it.
EIVOR: So, you need to bring the excitement of the raid into your bed.
RAID-LOVING WIFE: You could help us pretend we are raiding! That will make my water flow! Come, we must tell my husband.
EIVOR: I was only... Well, all right.
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Grab your weapon, you big, strong vikingr! Today, we raid!
RAID-LOVING HUSBAND: A raid? Now?
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Join me in the blood-dance! Fill me with your battle lust!
RAID-LOVING HUSBAND: O... yes! Yes! Let us go viking! Maybe you could start by breaking things? And scream as you do. Like it is really happening. It is... amusing, but not arousing.
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Ja, it does not feel real enough.
EIVOR: Maybe you need more fire, like your first time.
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Yes! Burn down our house! Burn it to the ground!
[EIVOR breaks oil barrels and sets the house on fire with a torch.]
RAID-LOVING HUSBAND: That did it! I am as hard as Heimdall's Tower!
RAID-LOVING WIFE: Then ram me like the Valgrind Gates and enter Valhalla! Take all plunder you want, vikingr! Take us also, and let the love-hunger consume you!
EIVOR: Another time, maybe, but I will help myself to your chest.
[“The Rekindling” synchronized.]
NORSE MAN: Your clan is a foul stench! But we are strong, ergi (weakling)!
NORSE MAN: Yes! Strong with stink! Step closer, seal-face. And say that again!
NORSE MAN: I said your stench is strong. That's your only strength. Your stench.
NORSE MAN: I will feed your teeth, wrapped in your tongue, bacraut (asshole)!
[EIVOR walks in a bar.]
NORSE MAN: Shall we lock horns? Sink it faster than me, you are the winner. Got a wager in you? Put your silver on the barrel! The hoard it is! Ha! We drink!
EIVOR: Ha! Drool-monger! Be kissing a flagstone soon.
[He wins the bet and goes to a tavern to see SIGURD.]
SIGURD: You have just won your heart's desire, Eivor. Yet by the look on your face, you have lost your will to live.
EIVOR: Gorm is here with the last of his men. Why does that troll dare show his face?
SIGURD: Leave it for another day. We are here under Harald's truce. And Gorm is too weak to try anything bold.
EIVOR: He is a seed-stain on his father's trousers. I should wipe him from this world.
SIGURD: Not tonight, Eivor. Leave it. Basim, watch over this one and see that he warms himself with drink. I will find my father and escort him to the longhouse.
BASIM: As you wish.
[SIGURD leaves the tavern.]
EIVOR: Is Hytham well?
BASIM: He will heal, but never fully recover. It is fortunate that you were able to succeed here he failed.
EIVOR: My resolve was strong.
BASIM: When you slew Kjotve, did you see a sigil on him? Silver, the size of my palm, bearing the symbol of an ash-tree.
[EIVOR throws a medallion on the table, which was brought to him by a raven.]
EIVOR: Take it. Trade it for what you can.
BASIM: I know where Gorm is camped. If you wish to see him without anyone the wiser, there is a trick I can teach you.
EIVOR: Already looking for another apprentice? All right, I'll bite. What do I do?
BASIM: Use your cloak to obscure your face. Blend into the crowd, divert attention, hide in plain sight.
EIVOR: A gift of knowledge from a man I hardly know. Is this your way asking me to join your brotherhood?
BASIM: Not at all. So long as men and women fight to secure honor and freedom, their allegiance hardly matters to me.
EIVOR: I suppose there is no shame in using deception when honor is at stake. And Gorm is a stain on that honor.
BASIM: Then let's see what can be done to cleanse that stain. Give it a try.
[They leave the tavern.]
BASIM: A few things you should know before you step into his camp. Walking unseen through hostile territory is an exercise in subtlety. A hood makes you forgettable, dismissed at a distance. Remain far from watchful eyes and you will be invisible to them. Do not draw blade or hammer, for these and other sudden movements can break your disguise. And in case I wasn't clear, you will need to put up your hood for the trick to work. Gorm is there, in the camp ahead.
[EIVOR slowly walks to Gorm’s cabin.]
NORSE MAN: What were you thinking? Drinking mead on an empty stomach.
NORSE MAN: You have to eat something before drinking that much.
NORSE MAN: How does that go ... "Feed before mead"?
NORSE MAN: I have some roasted lamb on a spit. Are you coming?
[EIVOR enters the cabin.]
EIVOR: You argr (cowardly) shit! Take up your weapon and follow me beyond these walls. Let Odin's favor land where it may.
GORM: You dare not break the king's peace here, so fuck you and your god talk. What say you to that?
[EIVOR hits him in the face.]
GORM: (laughs) You can beat me, but you will not kill me. Not under Harald's truce.
[Two warriors enter.]
NORSE WARRIOR: You are all subject to King Harald's truce. Break his peace and you will be cast out of Alrekstad.
EIVOR: I will give you no trouble. (to Gorm) You were shat into this world without honor, Gorm. And you will leave as a turd dumped into Hel's deepest ditch.
GORM: Keep crowing, Eivor. You only make yourself an easier target.
[EIVOR leaves the cabin.]
EIVOR: (to himself) The Althing will have started. I should find Sigurd.
[He enters the king's house. There is a big feast.]
SIGURD: Tell me Gorm still lives, Eivor.
EIVOR: It pains me to say... he does.
SIGURD: Thank you. His day will come. Uh... gods, I hate long speeches.
EIVOR: Only when you're not giving them.
KING HARALD: Many of you knew my father, Halfdan the Black. A great man who achieved great things.
NORSE WOMAN: They buried Halfdan's leg near our temple! The crops have never grown taller!
NORSE MAN: They buried his arse near ours and we get nothing but a muddy river!
KING HARALD: I dream of something greater. A vast kingdom of warriors, in numbers the world has never seen. United under one king. One rule! Too much blood has been spilt fighting one another. Today we unify and turn our blades outward to conquer new lands! And who better to lead us to glory than me? I was blooded before the age of ten and I led the greatest army Norway has ever seen. But they say a wise king seeks honest counsel. So I ask, who among you rejects this new arrangement?
HJORR: I am not your enemy, King Harald, but I will not be your subject. Tomorrow, we sail for greener shores, and so, my kingdom is yours.
KING HARALD: This saddens me, noble Hjorr. And does your wife agree? Is she not tired of limping ever westward?
LJUFVINA: My husband and I are as one in this, Lord. We do not limp together, we fly.
KING HARALD: I am sad to lose a woman of your spirit, Ljufvina. But I hold no grudge. May the fates grant you good luck.
GORM: My king! I offer you my axe and my oath, ironclad!
KING HARALD: Gorm Kjotvesson. You dare show your face in this hall? Did not King Styrbjorn and his son Sigurd rid our lands of your foulness?
GORM: The Raven Clan dishonored me, great king! They poisoned my father, Kjotve! They made a mockery of his honorable death.
EIVOR: Bacraut! (Asshole!) You lie!
SIGURD: Hold, Eivor. Let it play out.
KING HARALD: This is a serious charge, Gorm. And a false one at that. My uncle saw your father die. Eivor Wolf-Kissed. You are Kjotve's slayer. This man has slandered your clan. What shall I do with him?
EIVOR: I would send him to Hel, as I did his father.
KING HARALD: Understandable, but a quick death is too good for a draugr (ghoul) like him. Gorm, I name you Worm and call you exiled. Leave these lands by the next full moon or I will feed you to the crows myself.
STYRBJORN: King Harald, may I speak?
KING HARALD: The floor is yours, King Styrbjorn.
STYRBJORN: My people have held our land since the days when Odin himself walked among us. My kingdom is humble, but we have paid for it in blood. Our victory over Kjotve is proof that we will not lay down without a fight. All here have buried friends, brothers, and sisters... sons and daughters. And I for one have had my fill of death. Let those who seek war look beyond our shores. If King Harald brings peace, then I am happy to bend my knee to him.
SIGURD: What? What in Hel's name are you doing, Father?
STYRBJORN: Securing a lasting peace, Sigurd. Our days of fighting are finished.
SIGURD: You said nothing of this to me, not a word! And I will not yield a title that should be mine by right!
STYRBJORN: Then war will continue. Men will die, villages will burn, you foolish boy! This is our only way towards true peace!
SIGURD: You will die a thrall, you drink-addled cow! Alone and toothless in a bed of straw!
[He leaves the room.]
STYRBJORN: Forgive my son. He is ruled by his emotions.
KING HARALD: I take no offense, Styrbjorn Jarl. And I thank you for your fealty. It is natural to fear change. To resist it. But all things change, and all things end. The lessons of Ragnarok are clear. We will speak again soon.
EIVOR: That was an ambush, lord. Did you know of Styrbjorn's plans?
KING HARALD: For some days, yes, I did. But it was not at my urging. This was his decision alone. Do you dream of a glorious future, Eivor? A warrior like you would be a boon to my clan.
EIVOR: I dream of a glorious death, but not at the cost of betraying my family.
KING HARALD: I wish I understood you better. For those I do not understand, I do not trust. And I cannot stomach a lack of trust.
EIVOR: You have nothing to fear from me, King Harald. My loyalty lies with my brother, Sigurd, and I bear you no ill will.
KING HARALD: Then know, that if you stay in Norway, both you and your brother must serve under me. Take tomorrow to think on this. But let us leave these matters for another time. Tonight, we will eat and drink like gods and wake in a kingdom made new.
[The next day EIVOR leaves the king’s house and returns to Fornburg. “Birthrights” synchronized.]
The Seas of Fate
EIVOR: Harald's colors. He is already marking his territory.
DAG: Marking? Gods, he's spraying like a horny pup.
EIVOR: Harald may be young, but he is clever. Do not underestimate him. He came of age very quickly.
[He notices a few warriors nearby.]
NORSE WARRIOR: You, there, what are you doing? If you wish to have words, come closer.
EIVOR: Are you one of Harald's men?
NORSE WARRIOR: I am. The king wishes to make a survey of the land he now rules. Nothing more.
EIVOR: Let me ask, are you one of the conquered? Did Harald take your lands as well?
NORSE WARRIOR: No. My family has lived under his banner since the days of his father, Halfdan the Black.
EIVOR: Well, welcome to Fornburg, warrior.
[He walks into a store.]
NORSE WOMAN: Welcome. I can fetch this if you want. A solid purchase. A smart purchase. This is available for purchase. Thank you for selling to me. That all you need?
EIVOR: I have to go, see you soon.
[After that he visits his favorite blacksmith.]
GUNNAR: How can I help? Do you need anything else?
EIVOR: I will free you from this bond.
GUNNAR: And I will be ready when you need me.
[EIVOR is running through the village looking for his brother.]
SVEND: First they will demand taxes, and soon after they will be living in our homes!
TOMES: Keep your voice down! They will hear you!
SVEND: Fine by me! If those bacrauts (assholes) come to our door, I will carve them new shit holes!
NORSE MAN: You look like you know a thing or two about dice.
[He finds SIGURD in Harald's house.]
EIVOR: It's Eivor. Open the door.
ALVIS: Come in, but keep your voice down. You will alert Harald's men.
TEKLA: Where will we live?
HOLGER: The English will fight back! The wars will never end!
GUDRUN: Or they will push us into the Christian ways.
SIGURD: Quiet! All! Give me a chance to speak! Two days ago, we rid this land of Kjotve and his dogs. Yet today we do not celebrate. Today we cower under a cloud of fear. But it need not be like this. We are not the heel-trodden subjects of a boy-king! We are the Raven Clan. Our destiny is our own!
TEKLA: Did you know about your father's oath to Harald?
SIGURD: I did not. And for that, my anger burns hotter than any man's here. But I will not let that drive me into despair. We cannot stay in Norway, not under Harald's boot, not without fueling more war. So we push forward. To newer lands. To England! And there make a new home. A kingdom of our own.
RANDVI: The Sons of Ragnar Lothbrok have been in England eight winters already. Is there any land left for a clan of our size?
SIGURD: More than enough, wife. Of the four kingdoms of England, only one is truly pacified.
DAG: I have no desire to wear Harald's leash. I like this idea.
ALVIS: A saga for the ages, I agree!
GUDMUND: It will take time and resources to build ourselves a new home. But the riches taken from Kjotve's raid would suffice.
SIGURD: No. That belongs to my father, as a fair compensation. In England, we must start anew.
BRAGI: You would start us with nothing, in a land we do not know, among people who hate us?
EIVOR: Kjotve's riches would go some way to easing our passage, Sigurd. I bested him. It is within my rights to claim his goods.
SIGURD: Our leaving must not be an assault on my father. It is a time of renewal for us.
EIVOR: If you object, I understand. Let your father keep Kjotve's riches. England will have riches and cargo enough for us.
SIGURD: Good. I did not want this cloud hanging over us. It is a wise leader who considers the need of others.
RANDVI: To England then, before the day is out. Pack what you need, but no more than that.
EIVOR: And tighten your lips. The last thing we need is the attention of Harald's troops.
[The meeting is over. VALKA approaches EIVOR.]
EIVOR: How much did you hear?
VALKA: Enough. A new path is revealed and your journey will be challenging.
EIVOR: Will you not join us?
VALKA: For my mother's sake, I cannot, but our threads will cross again before the final day. Until then, farewell.
[A day passes. EIVOR goes to the docks to meet his brother.]
NORSE WOMAN: I don't like the way those soldiers watch me.
NORSE WOMAN: I find it flattering.
NORSE WOMAN: You think one will marry you and carry you off to the capital?
NORSE WOMAN: Would he?
NORSE WOMAN: He would take his pleasure and move on, you moon-eyed, magpie. Leaving you with a little soldier to raise by yourself.
SIGURD: Eivor, the wind favors us! We should set sail without delay.
EIVOR: You made quick work of packing. Well done.
RANDVI: The dream of new lands is a powerful lure.
EIVOR: As is the promise of glory. But the act of leaving so beloved a home, there is a sadness to it.
SIGURD: Having doubts?
EIVOR: No. Not at all. The die is cast.
SIGURD: Then let fate guide our journey. Are you ready?
EIVOR: I am ready. Let us take to the water and leave unbothered while we have the chance.
RANDVI: That chance has passed. Look.
[A boat is sailing to the dock.]
EIVOR: Fate flies on swifter wings than we.
SIGURD: King Harald's banner.
STYRBJORN: Sigurd, what is this assembly? What are you planning?
SIGURD: An exit, Father. As graceful as I can. For if I cannot be king in the land of my birth, I will start a new saga. In England.
STYRBJORN: Nonsense. Your place is here, Son. At my side. There will be other victories soon, other glories.
SIGURD: My choice is made, Father. Do not hope otherwise.
STYRBJORN: It is easy to lose one's way on the road to glory. Do not let false victories blind you to what is true.
SIGURD: You talk of false victories to me, old man? A sad old bear who destroyed his honor with one bent knee? The further I sail from this place, the louder I will sing.
EIVOR: I will be his anchor, lord.
STYRBJORN: No, you must be his better half. May Aegir bless your voyage.
[SIGURD and EIVOR board the boat.]
DAG: The time for tears is over, you weeping sacks of wool! Put some muscle into those pulls!
BRAGI: Ration your strength, Dag. We have an ocean to cross.
DAG: All right, you lazy bacraut. Sigurd, what's our course?
SIGURD: The Sons of Ragnar established a settlement near the coast. We set sail for that. Bragi! Sing a song to lift our hugr (spirits)!
DAG: To rouse the gods! Inspire a mighty fart from Thor to speed us on our way!
SIGURD: An ocean lies before us, Eivor. And on its far side, a new kingdom awaits.
EIVOR: You know England well from your travels?
SIGURD: I spent a season in their Kingdom of Mercia. A temperate land. Lush and wild. By now, the Sons of Ragnar will have claimed its heart.
EIVOR: Do we mean to join their army?
SIGURD: They will join ours! In time, all of England will know of Raven Clan and the glory we brought to that fractured land. So to England, glory and destiny!
EIVOR: To England!
DAG: To England! Or Valhalla!
[LAYLA, one of the most important and interesting characters in the series, picks up her ass from the Animus and smokes a cigarette. Her ears are ringing. She comes to the tap to drink water and... does not do it, and then goes outside to listen to the radio.]
NEWS ANCHOR: In a lecture at the University of Cambridge, Dr Siercke told a worried audience that scientists have few answers for them...
DR. SIERCKE: Since the mass coronal ejection of 2012, the strength of the earth's magnetic field has increased by a factor of fifty thousand. This has resulted in huge disturbances in radio and satellite communications, dangerous bands of radiation around the poles, and as we can all see from our window, an aurora borealis that never burns away. Unfortunately, we are stumped as to why this is happening. And if we cannot find an answer soon, it may change the way we live, the way we communicate... even the way we evolve... forever.
NEWS ANCHOR: Dr. Siercke went on to say--
[She turns the stupid shit off with a smile.]
SHAUN: Bought you more electrolytes! Ooh! New and improved citrus flavor!
LAYLA: Thanks, Shaun.
[She looks at… uh… EIVOR’S grave?]
LAYLA: How do we fix this? How are you the key to everything? You're a long way from home, Eivor. Hm.
[And this is the end of such an important story arc. Having forgotten about her in a second, we return to EIVOR.]
LAYLA: (looking at a country toilet) Oof... I'd rather walk into town than use this. (looking at the sky) It’s beautiful, but it's not normal. (sitting near a campfire) I should do this more often. Relaxing. (walking to a van) I'm not going anywhere. Not yet. (sees a deck of cards) Would love to play a round, but I have bigger things on my mind. (sees a tool stand) Some quality stuff here.
[She walks into a hut.]
REBECCA: Did you get my tea?
SHAUN: Oh... Mint tea is not actually tea, Becs. It's an infusion... it's really just dirty minty water.
REBECCA: I don't care what you call it, Shaun. Did you buy any?
SHAUN: Of course I did, love.
REBECCA: Hey, sorry about pulling you out. The generator was sputtering.
LAYLA: That's fine. I needed air.
REBECCA: How was the Animus data stream? Comfortable?
LAYLA: Felt pretty stable after a while.
REBECCA: Good. Just give me a sec, and you can jump back in.
LAYLA: Another satellite came down. Did you see?
SHAUN: I did. One of Abstergo's.
LAYLA: That's good.
SHAUN: Well, most of North America just lost its GPS service. So... It depends what you mean by good, really.
LAYLA: Right. Even when we win, we lose.
REBECCA: Okay, we're all set. Whenever you're ready, you can jump back in.
SHAUN: Hello, Layla.
LAYLA: Shaun, what do you make of the grave out there?
SHAUN: Well, it overturns a few hundred years of scholarship about the first Europeans to set foot in North America. Apart from that, it's just a bunch of muddy bones, isn't it?
LAYLA: Can we talk about this thing on my neck for a second?
SHAUN: Ah. The mood stabilizer. Yes.
LAYLA: It's not harmful, is it? I mean, I feel good. But I want to make sure there's no ... side effects.
SHAUN: There shouldn't be. It's only blocking outside signals, a passive effect. So the staff doesn't, you know... mess with you.
LAYLA: Shaun, what happened last year, I-- I had no control over that. I... I tried to resist.
SHAUN: I understand. And your old team... maybe they don't, but we've seen that sort of thing before. Still, if you want to work with us and get to the bottom of why the world is about to end for the second time in eight years... ...then you wear that thing until we say otherwise. William's orders.
LAYLA: I know. It's not a problem.
SHAUN: It's just a few more weeks, yeah? Just until we figure this out.
LAYLA: You're right. I know you're right.
[She walks away.]
LAYLA: Shaun has been busy...
LAYLA: You gonna put this in the fridge, Shaun?
SHAUN: Of course. In half a minute.
LAYLA: Remember, tomatoes go on the counter. Not the fridge. Please enjoy your stay! (reads a note on the fridge) Remember, all the garbage must be packed out. And please water the plants once a day. Yeah, I won't remember that. (looking at a picture on the wall) That's quite nice. Soothing. (looking at Alexios’s staff) I went through hell to bring you here. It had better be worth it. (that’s a fucking lie - read the previous game) Shaun, don't forget to water the plants while I'm under, okay?
SHAUN: I'll add it to the calendar. And tattoo it on my leg.
[She sits at her computer.]
LAYLA: Let's have a look.
[She reads her super boring emails and listens to her audiologs. I almost fell asleep trying to even read this shit, so I have no desire to rewrite it. I'll leave it to the awesome Assassin’s Creed Wiki in our community. I swear to God this text had to kill some people with its dullness. In my opinion, only one of the audio recordings is noteworthy.]
(A strange message broadcast from an unknown source north of the arctic circle. The message was broadcast for nine days. then ceased. analysis ot the message revealed coordinates to a gravesite in New England, USA)
UNKNOWN MALE VOICE: I lived, I died, and now I sleep. And in my sleep I dream. And in my dreams I see an end to the doom that will grip the earth once again. Find the Wolf-Kissed, find the Mad One, find me, and save us all from another death.
[Layla FINALLY picks her ass off the computer.]
REBECCA: Feeling okay?
LAYLA: Better. But I'm worried that it could happen again, the two data streams.
REBECCA: I can't promise it won't. I barely understand it myself.
LAYLA: It felt like... two minds. Fighting over one brain. It hurt, like a shotgun to the head.
REBECCA: Right. There's something about this Viking's DNA sample that feels dense ... noisy.
LAYLA: Could it be the staff? Interfering somehow?
REBECCA: How do you mean?
LAYLA: My headaches, my temper. They started the day I got that thing.
REBECCA: I hope you're not making excuses for, you know... your friend.
LAYLA: Jesus, no. I'm not.
REBECCA: Sorry. Just... take it easy. And if you feel yourself slipping again, let us know.
LAYLA: I'm trying. I really am.
[She walks away.]
LAYLA: (looking at a couch) Be nice to sleep in a real bed when this is over.
REBECCA: All right, time to go. Norway to England takes about a week by Longship, so I'll scrub ahead. (Layla’s looking at Alexios’s staff) Layla? You okay?
LAYLA: Sorry. Can you play the message again?
SHAUN: We have the transcript if you're looking for something. I can go and--
LAYLA: No, I wanna hear it.
LAYLA: I don't mean to be cryptic, it's just... That message led us here, to this place. Toa Norse grave in North America. So those bones out there are the only lead we have... our only chance at fixing this planet before it's too late.
REBECCA: Here it is.
UNKNOWN MALE VOICE: I lived, I died, and now I sleep. And in my sleep, I dream. And in my dreams, I see an end to the doom that will grip the earth once again. Find the Wolf-Kissed, find the Mad One, find me, and save us all from another death.
SHAUN: Unsettling, that is.
LAYLA: That pulse in the message. Are you sure it's just coordinates? Nothing else?
REBECCA: Nothing I can find.
LAYLA: Okay. I'm ready.
REBECCA: Here we go.
[Layla FINALLY lies on the Animus and we return to the actual game.]
The Swan-Road Home
[Our viking’s ships sail to the shores of England.]
SIGURD: There she is... England. Our new home.
DAG: Not a patch on Norway, but we'll make this land our own soon enough.
EIVOR: I am glad to see any land at all. And will be happy to have my feet on solid ground again.
SIGURD: We must not rush our landing. All you see here is Saxon territory. The Kingdom of Mercia, largely unpacified. There will be eyes watching us from the trees, with bows drawn and traps set. We must be wary. Randvi! Dig in your oars! All standing!
RANDVI: Have you spotted something?
SIGURD: Not yet, but let us go ahead to clear the path of any dangers. Then follow our lead when the sun brushes the horizon.
RANDVI: Understood! May Thor bless you all on your way! We will see you soon!
SIGURD: Sail on.
DAG: Yes! I am ready for whatever these green-thumbed fairy folk have to throw at us.
EIVOR: Sigurd, do the Sons of Ragnar know that we are coming?
SIGURD: They do not. But they will not scoff at our visit. Of the four kingdoms in England, the Sons of Ragnar have settled only one. The rest is ripe for the taking.
DAG: Do we mean to join their army?
SIGURD: No, no. We will speak with them, get the lay of the land. And carve this country into as many pieces as we see fit.
DAG: Look ahead there. Is that what passes for a town? Plain brick and a single rune to their timid god?
SIGURD: That rune is called a rood, Dag. The cross upon which their god was sacrificed. It sits atop a monastery, a place of worship.
DAG: That cross killed their Christ, and now they display it in worship! Bizarre.
EIVOR: We carve idols of our gods and make wishes before them. Like our sacrifices to Odin the One-Eyed.
DAG: But we do not worship the wolf that kills him! That is the difference.
SIGURD: Whatever strangeness we see in these Saxons, they must think the same of us.
DAG: The hammer! Now there is a symbol worthy of a god. A bolt of Lightning would take that cross clean off! Look there! What are they doing?
EIVOR: Ritual drowning.
SIGURD: Baptism, Dag. Are the ways of Christians really so unfamiliar to you?
DAG: Not at all! I simply forgot. And someone has to keep the conversation up. It must be priests and worshippers alone in that place. We could storm this port with ease, sack it without breaking a sweat.
EIVOR: Is there much in the way of treasure there?
DAG: Always! They shape precious metals and cut jewels to their gods. There will be a fortune there!
SIGURD: Later. Dag. There will be time enough for raiding once we have settled. Come to! Stop the boats! Pull up over there, The way forward is blocked by a chain spanning the river. We must remove it before pressing on.
DAG: A chain? Can we cut through it?
SIGURD: It's too thick for axes. But there must be a way to release it somewhere in that camp.
EIVOR: I will go.
DAG: And I will be right behind you!
SIGURD: No, Dag. You stay here. Should trouble come our way, I want you defending the ship.
DAG: A good idea. Send out the arrow and keep your sharpest axe at hand, eh?
SIGURD: Something like that.
[EIVOR jumps ashore and sneaks toward the military camp.]
EIVOR: This chain is huge. And poorly anchored, it appears. I might be able to shoot it.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: A Dane! A Dane has come!
EIVOR: Done. The path is clear.
SIGURD: The chain is away! Eivor, back to the boat! We should be close now. Barring any more surprises. Fine work, Eivor. I say we go back. Sigura. Cowesthose dos a good knock around
DAG: I say we go back, Sigurd. Give those dogs a good knock-around and take whatever treasures they have. Easy pickings.
SIGURD: Not today. Dag. We press on until we reach our goal. We cannot afford another surprise.
SIGURD: Now be on your guard. It should not be far.
DAG: Gods I'm ravenous! I hope they have food and ale on hand when we arrive. You should have sent word ahead of Us, Sigurd. To get something on the spit.
SIGURD: If Halfdan, Ubba, and Ivarr Ragnarsson are lacking food in England, then all of us will starve. Have no worry.
DAG: Ah, I can see it now! A suckling pig, tender and juicy. And ale as gold as the treasures that we failed to steal back there.
EIVOR: A man of simple pleasures, aren't you, Dag?
SIGURD: And he is happier for it. For my part, I look forward to standing in the footsteps of the giants that built this land.
DAG: What giants?
SIGURD: The great Romans and their empire. giants of a forgotten age. They held dominion here, long ago, and their ruins dot the landscape. Every brick and stone tells a story of conquest and glory, and now they are rubble and ash.
DAG: Ready to be remade! We will rebuild their empire, brick by brick! And ours will not crumble to dust.
SIGURD: All things end, Dag. Ruins are not a warning, they are a testament. Look there, just ahead. Where the Sons of Ragnar make their camp.
DAG: At last. To find our feet on steady ground.
EIVOR: Sigurd, hold back. Something isn't right.
DAG: Good eye. There is too little movement for an army. Only tents and a few men.
EIVOR: Not the army we hoped to find?
SIGURD: No... let us get a closer look.
EIVOR: Those are not Norsemen. They are too ragged and soiled.
SIGURD: We should proceed on foot, lest they spot the boats.
EIVOR: Dag and I will go together.
SIGURD: We all go. If they are friends, I wish to meet them as a jarl. And if they are foes, then we fight them all, together. Who are these men?
EIVOR: They speak with twisted accents. English, no doubt.
SIGURD: Dag, Eivor... on me.
[They dock at the pier. “The Swan-Road Home” mission synchronized.]
SAXON BANDIT: Oi, what's this? A mess of filthy Danes befouling our riverways? You there. Give us your name.
SIGURD: I am Sigurd Jarl of Fornburg. And you are?
SAXON BANDIT: Men who do not take kindly to Dane invaders creeping into our camp. You'd best move along, pagan. Spare yourselves a slaughter.
SIGURD: You threaten Norsemen with a play of swords, and expect us to cower?
DAG: I have been eight days at sea without a drop of blood to whet my axe. So spare the chatter, bacraut (asshole), and draw your weapon.
SIGURD: Let's finish them.
DAG: It feels like home already!
[The fight begins.]
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Who are these people!
SIGURD: You had your chance to turn away! And it passed you by!
DAG: Like a blade through butter!
[They kill the bandits and start sacking their camp.]
SIGURD: Have a look around, all of you. I want no more surprises.
EIVOR: Right. I will check the longhouse.
SUNNIVA: All scraps and rubbish over here. What a mess.
NORVID: Keep an eye on the roads running from camp. An ambush could come from anywhere.
SUNNIVA: Foul food for foul fighters.
YANLI: W-wait, who are you? Are you with those brigands as well?
EIVOR: Sigurd! Dag! In here! Those men had prisoners.
SIGURD: Eivor... look at this.
EIVOR: A noise trap. Might be something inside. I will have a look
YANLI: You there, untie us! Let us walk and we will not hurt you!
EIVOR: Quite bold in those bindings. I like your spirit.
ROWAN: We are very agreeable people, I promise! You need not kill us.
SIGURD: Peace, friend. We have no need or wish to hurt you. What are your names?
YANLI: Yanli. I'm a merchant, not a bandit like those others. And this is Rowan.
ROWAN: R-Rowan, that's right. I'm a stable hand, that's all. I keep horses and... well, I did. 'Til those brigands sold them off.
YANLI: They meant to sell us next, as slaves to the nearest bidder. But I'd rip their eyes out before I let that happen.
SIGURD: And how did you find yourselves here?
YANLI: We came to trade with the Sons of Ragnar, at Halfdan Jarl's asking. But they were gone when we arrived.
SIGURD: Unbind them. You know the Sons of Ragnar?
ROWAN: Aye. Sold many a mare and stallion to the brothers. Good men, always paid me fair.
SIGURD: From the look of this camp they've been gone for some time. Where will you go now? What will you do?
YANLI: Rebuild my stocks. Start anew. I have friends and allies across the land to aid me but… it won't be easy.
ROWAN: Every town and village needs a stable. To keep horses fit and trim. I'll find my footing again. Somewhere.
DAG: What are you thinking?
EIVOR: That we could use their skills as we get settled. Having access to trade and someone to tend our mounts would be a boon.
SIGURD: My thoughts as well. Any friend of the Ragnarssons is a friend of mine. Right, Dag?
DAG: Whatever you think is best, Sigurd.
SIGURD: Yanli, Rowan... I am Sigurd Jarl of Fornburg, son of Styrbjorn. This is Eivor... and Dag. Both of you are free to go, but more than welcome to stay, if you are willing to pull your weight.
YANLI: We'd be happy to. If only to get back on our feet.
SIGURD: Then let it be done. The Raven Clan welcomes you. From strangers into friends into family. (a horn is heard) The others have arrived. Come.
EIVOR: I have a good feeling about this place.
[The Vikings begin to settle a new camp in a completely new world for them.]
SIGURD: Honored family, friends... welcome to your new home!
[Some time passes.]
SIGURD: Fine work. A long house to rival any I have seen. Now come. Randvi has found something I would like you to see.
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. 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'll 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.
[“Unwelcome” mission synchronized.]
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.
[After eating, EIVOR runs off to talk to GUNNAR.]
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.
[EIVOR runs to the longship and guides the rowers to the nearest monastery.]
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: 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!
[They dock and run toward a tall structure in the distance, drowning out the surroundings with their war cries. This is Alcestre Monastery.]
BRAGI: Eivor. Look there. A monastery.
DAG: I stand ready... only say the word!
EIVOR: That is all we need for Gunnar... but if there is more, we should claim it.
[They kill the defenders and plunge the chests after which they return to their longship.]
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.
[They return to the settlement.]
GUNNAR: Back so soon? And with good news, I hope.
[EIVOR builds him a forge.]
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.
[After that he runs to speak to his brother and meet Hytham along the way.]
EIVOR: Hytham. Now that you and Basim are settled, what will you do?
HYTHAM: We have work to do. Starting in the cities of England. Lunden, Jorvik, Wincestre... all three are infested by members of the same order to which Kjotve belonged. But their reach extends much further than this. Of all the lands on earth, I believe England is the most overrun.
EIVOR: Do they cause here the same turmoil Kjotve caused in Norway?
HYTHAM: Not just turmoil. They spread a plague of delusion, teaching men and women to abase and abuse themselves in exchange for power.
EIVOR: You have strong feelings about this.
HYTHAM: Of course. This is the sole purpose of the Hidden Ones. To liberate the body and spirit of man from any unnatural shackles. But we have not operated in England for over four centuries. Since the fall of the Roman Empire, the Hidden Ones have not had a presence here. This absence has given the Order of the Ancients ample room to grow and thrive. Our task will not be an easy one. But with a bureau, Basim and I could begin our work. If you have the time and spare resources to build one, we would be most grateful.
EIVOR: I will see what I can do.
[Near his brother’s house he sees a woman.]
EIVOR: What is it you do here, again?
GUDRUN: Whatever you need for your longship, my husband and I are happy to help. We have quite an eye for these things. But right now, we're more concerned with you building us a place to do our work. Get on that soon, won't you?
EIVOR: I will see you later, friend.
GUDRUN: Until next we meet!
EIRA: I like living in the longhouse! I feel like a jar!!
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.
[He leaves. EIVOR checks out his new apartments.]
EIVOR: A letter box, for messages and requests. A bed better than many I have slept in. And a good place to recover. Hm. Not much, but it is mine.
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. Farewell, Eivor!
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, 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.
EIVOR: Ride in safety, Brother. I will follow as soon as I can.
DAG: Yes! And I will keep our raiders sharp. 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.
The Alliance Map
ROWAN: Eivor, my stable is a bit spare just now, but if you can build me something better, promise you the finest of beasts. A busting table would be a great toon here will be what
EIVOR: A bustling stable would be a great boon here. I will see what can do. Can you remind me what you do here?
ROWAN: As a stablehand and a gameskeeper, I am happy to help you with any matter concerning your horses or your raven. But for the moment, I'm a little stuck. If you could build me a stable, I can set up shop.
EIVOR: How did you come to have such an affinity for horses, Rowan?
ROWAN: They were my best friends growing up. I was a sickly boy with a stammer, and the horses were the only ones who never teased me. Over time, I suppose I came to understand them as well as you may understand people. I listen when they speak, and vice versa.
EIVOR: I'm off, be well friend.
ROWAN: Bye, Eivor.
[EIVOR builds him a stable.]
ROWAN: That's a damn fine stable we have now. Lord, look at it!
EIVOR: What have you got for me today?
ROWAN: Nothing more today? Take care. Until next time.
EIVOR: Can we do a bit of training?
ROWAN: Absolutely! I'd trust you on any horse now. Do you need anything else?
EIVOR: I must take my leave, so long.
ROWAN: Make sure you talk to your raven regularly. They like that.
EIVOR: I should meet this abbess, Wulfhilda.
RANDVI: Ah, there you are.
EIVOR: You wanted to see me? As Sigurd has so ordered, it falls to us to expand our presence in England.
EIVOR: He wants to forge alliances. Ironclad, with every Norse, Dane, and Saxon here.
RANDVI: Right. We are the outsiders here. Making friends will help.
EIVOR: Where do we start?
RANDVI: My scouts come and go daily with interesting news and tidings, and I am beginning to get my bearings in this fractured land. As I learn more, I can give you insight into each territory, before you commit to a journey there.
EIVOR: Of course.
RANDVI: Once you have gained an ally in a territory, return home and speak to me. We'll decide your next move then.
EIVOR: I understand. So where do we start?
RANDVI: You have two options just now. Join Sigurd in Ledecestrescire to the north, and meet with the Sons of Ragnar Lothbrok. Or head south to Grantebridgescire to meet an army of Danes led by one Guthrum Jarl and his second, Soma. I should add, our young friend Hytham has been conferring with his own contacts in the cities. His research could be useful in winning us alliances throughout the cities of England. Speak with him and see what he needs.
EIVOR: I want to see the alliance map. Tell me about Grantebridgescire.
RANDVI: A force of Danes, called the Summer Army by the Saxons, is camped north of Grantebridge, at some ruins across the river. We should curry favor with their leaders, Guthrum and Soma, if we hope to win their trust and allegiance. My scouts did not meet them in person, so I can say little for the state of their army. Consider this a starting point.
EIVOR: Tell me more about Ledecestrescire. I should like to join Sigurd soon.
RANDVI: He traveled to a town called Repton to meet Ubba and Ivar Ragnarsson. As I hear it, they are on the verge of exiling the current King of Mercia, with the hope of installing a king of their own.
EIVOR: A bold endeavor. I should be there to help, however I can.
RANDVI: I think you should.
[EIVOR chose Ledecestrescire.]
EIVOR: I won't keep them waiting.
RANDVI: Good. I will send word to Sigurd and the Ragnarssons, pledging your assistance. If I were you, I would go by ship. Repton is quite a distance north on the river Trent.
The Sons of Ragnar
[EIVOR begins his long journey to the city of Repton.]
The White Lady of Tamworth
[EIVOR finds a woman in a tower and skinny warrior near its door.]
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: (behind the door) Can anyone hear my cries? Please help! This brute has me trapped in this sultry tower.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Shut your mouth. A lady you may be, but here, you are my prisoner. And you will do as I say.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: I'm trapped! With no means of escape. So helpless, O, I need someone, anyone! Can anyone hear my cries? Please help! This brute has me trapped in this sultry tower.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: A challenger approaches!
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, bless!
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Step back, Dane. I am sworn to this lady, and unafraid to kill the likes of you!
[EIVOR pokes him with his blade.]
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: No more! I yield! Find another champion, lady!
EIVOR: Strange... It is over. You can come out now.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Tarquin? My thegn, what has happened?
EIVOR: Your captor fled. Felt a little soft for my liking. What are you really doing in there?
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, God, no! It was only a game. A romp! My dear Tarquin, how could you!
EIVOR: I saw a man holding you against your will.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: All a part of the seduction! O, God! You really thought my life was in danger? And you risked your own ... you, o, you are so brave. A fine protector.
EIVOR: Tell me you are joking.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Please, you must fight for me. Who knows what lurks below? What vile people might come to harm me! I need a protector, stout and resolute! Please, stand guard below.
EIVOR: If I do, will you come out?
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, assuredly. Just ... stand at the door below. That will place you directly between me and any bad, bad men.
EIVOR: Trouble coming
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, good.
EIVOR: Real trouble. Keep quiet--
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, woe is me. A king's daughter who has run away from her royal house with all of its rare jewels in tow.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Huh. Well now ... I'd say that's worth a look.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Help me, O Savior! Rescue me from this dastardly man! A courageous traveler has come to my rescue! Please, Lord, guide their hand! Yes! You've done it again! I think we are destined to do this forever.
EIVOR: I think it is time I take my leave.
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Are you still there? My savior? O dear...
[“The White Lady of Tamworth” world event completed.]
DAG: Have you heard me tell the tale of the six Christian missionaries I lured away from their faith, into the worship of almighty Thor?
BRAGI: You showed them how to turn their crosses into hammers, simply by flipping them over. And they fainted with joy. That tale?
DAG: Ah, yes. Yes, indeed. (everyone laughs)
BRAGI: Some years ago, I took to sea with a sword-dancer called Egil. A brooding warrior with a face of stone and oak-hard arms. On a raid in Courland, we shored up along the edge of a forest and explored until we came to peopled parts. A large farm. It was night and all were asleep, so we set about plundering the place in the quiet of eve, taking sheep and goats as we pleased. It was then that Egil saw a farmhand and pressed the boy for the family's hidden silver. The farmhand squawked like a crow. Being hid beneath an anvil at the smith's forge, the silver was no trouble to lift. In secret, we took it and the boy back to the ship. It was then that Egil grew sad, for when the farmers woke with the crack of day, they would know they had been robbed, but not by whom. So Egil ordered three of us to follow him, back to the sleep hushed hamlet. As we burned the houses, Egil shouted his name... "I am Egil, Son of Skallagrim! And I am the man who deprives you of everything but your life!" I never sailed with Egil again.
EIVOR: Repton. Sigurd should be here with the Ragnarssons.
[He enters the hall of one of Ragrar’s sons… Ivarr the Boneless… sorry, just Ivarr. The Torturer.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: No! No!
IVARR: Stay still.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Ah! P-please!
IVARR: Who stands before Ivarr Ragnarsson? Are you Sigurd's drengr (courageous warrior)? Aygor?
EIVOR: Eivor. If you keep that up, you'll stain the floors.
IVARR: Eh. The place could use some color.
EIVOR: Who are they?
IVARR: All spies. Dressed to look the part of a peasant. Got feisty. Pitchfork. From this rabid little one. Was a time when you met and slew your enemy on the field before they could dream of things like sending spies.
[The blinded man poke the tortured with a sword by accident.]
EIVOR: And now we shake hands and make deals.
IVARR: Not my thing.
EIVOR: I figured.
IVARR: I love them whipped, weeping, and reeking of piss. Hey! (give the blid man a coin) Good boy. You're free, Saxon piggy! To run amok through the Mercian fields.
EIVOR: I would have let him down easy!
IVARR: Hm. Follow me. I'll give you the tour.
EIVOR: What do you call this place?
IVARR: I call it The Shithole. To the Mercians, it is Repton. Their most revered kings are buried below the church. Imagine their weeping when we drove them out!
EIVOR: You plunged your knife deep into the heart of this kingdom.
IVARR: That is right. We've got a number of Saxon nobles lined up with their lips puckered, ready to kiss our asses. The only holdout is King Burgred and his war-thegn, Leofrith. But my brother is brewing a plan to deal with them.
EIVOR: I take it that's here we'll find my brother.
IVARR: Right. Talkers they are, Ubba and Sigurd. Might want to dig the wax from your ears.
[They enter the tent of the sons of RAGNAR. UBBA is arguing with a large woman in combat gear. She is very unhappy about something.]
TONNA: Don't play me for a fool, Ubba. I know Burgred's sent a weregeld your way. I'm not going anywhere, bacraut (asshole). You have the king on his heels because of me! Because of my men!
UBBA: For which you were paid! But that price does not change because you have caught a whiff of our hacksilver hoard!
TONNA: You forget, I am a sellsword. I ask what I please, and I take what I'm owed.
[Ivarr punches her in the stomach.]
IVARR: If I wanted to hear you talk shit, l'd gouge out your tongue and shove it up your ass. Now, fuck off.
[She walks out of the tent.]
SIGURD: Haggling over silver is a bad look for the son of Ragnar Lothbrok. But worry not, Ubba, have the warriors you need.
UBBA: If this is one of them, my worries have vanished.
SIGURD: Eivor! Wolf-Kissed. You have come at just the right time. Ubba and Ivarr here are hunting a king.
UBBA: And when we've caught him, we mean to crown another. Our dear Thegn Ceolwulf here.
CEOLWULF: It's not a role I begged for, but it's what Mercia needs just now. A man to fairly rule both Saxons and Danes.
EIVOR: I can't imagine the current king is too happy about all this.
CEOLWULF: Burgred is furious, of course. But this is our new reality. And won't sit idly while he drags our kingdom through the dirt.
UBBA: The king has refused our offers of peace. Ceolwulf means to change that. He'll be a new king for a new England.
SIGURD: For now, Burgred is holed up in his fortress at Tamworth, making a final stand.
IVARR: Another shithole, only further south.
UBBA: We've held a siege there for weeks, to no effect. So no more knocking. Now we batter the gate to splinters. If we take Tamworth, remove Burgred, and crown Ceolwulf… come morning, this shire is ours. And Mercia soon after.
CEOLWULF: Yes, remove. I cannot stress that enough. Burgred is not to be harmed. My legitimacy as king hangs on this one simple fact.
IVARR: You rob all the joy from war, Saxon.
CEOLWULF: Not every victory needs to be marked by the slaughter of a king.
IVARR: Ah, but it is much better.
SIGURD: His request is fair, Ivarr. And we will honor it.
EIVOR: Ceolwulf betrayed his present king. Maybe tomorrow he betrays us too. Why trust him?
CEOLWULF: How can I answer that with any hope that you'd believe me? I only want what is best for the people of Mercia. And I want what's best for my son. In Burgred's Mercia, where Danes and Saxons murder one another daily, it's not possible.
EIVOR: This is a good plan, Brother. I am ready for the coming fight.
SIGURD: Agreed. Yet remember this. Whatever you stand to gain here, so do we. An alliance between my clan and Mercia's crown.
UBBA: See this man installed on his throne and you will have it, I swear.
EIVOR: The bold Sons of Ragnar bellow to sound the spear din and the thunder of shields. So let fall the arrow storm. The battle begins.
UBBA: Ah! You never said this one was a poet!
IVARR: I need to piss.
UBBA: We have a forward camp just north of Tamworth. Will you go with us?
SIGURD: Lead the way.
UBBA: Take in the sights of Repton if you like. We will be at the docks when you're ready to go.
CEOLWULF: I'm glad you and your brother have come. If only to bring some measure of calm.
EIVOR: Ease yourself, Ceolwulf. We all stand to benefit. And you'll be remembered for this, for years to come.
CEOLWULF: For all the wrong reasons, I fear.
[EIVOR goes out to get some fresh air. It’s night already.]
EIVOR: A lively town. Quite a lot to see here.
[And, of course, he needs to go shopping before the big events.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Welcome! Always good to have. Take care of yourself out there!
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: You look so strong and powerful! I'm only buying these because I like you. Leaving already? Shame.
[In the morning, EIVOR goes to talk to UBBA at the docks.]
UBBA: Sail southeast. Bring the men to the gates of Tamworth. We'll flood the fields, and Burgred shall weep at the sight of what the future holds for this kingdom! Eivor... is your axe sharpened?
EIVOR: I'm ready for the spear din.
UBBA: And the thunder of shields, yes! It's good to have you with us.
EIVOR: To fight beside such legends is an honor. I've only heard tales of your conquests. Now I get to live them.
UBBA: We'll weave our sagas together, thread upon thread.
[Ivarr and Ceolwulf’s son, Ceolbert approaches.]
IVARR: Come on, boy. We'll forge a man from your softness, hammered on the anvil of war.
CEOLBERT: One does not need to fight to be a--
IVARR: Move! Move!
UBBA: Calm, Ivarr. The fight's not here.
IVARR: Aye. The fight is nowhere to be found in this boy.
UBBA: A boy who happens to be Ceolwulf's son. Why is he not in his quarters?
IVARR: Our future king wants a battle hardened heir. Time he proves his worth, don't you think?
EIVOR: Not yet crowned king and already grooming his successor. That shows some boldness.
IVARR: Right. And bold kings need bolder sons.
IVARR: He comes with us. And should anything happen to this little sprout, I will bear the punishment our future king inflicts.
UBBA: He'll want to remove your head.
IVARR: Ah ah! You hear that, boy? You die, and I'll have to kill your father too.
SIGURD: Mount up, Eivor. It's a long ride to Tamworth.
[EIVOR sits on a beautiful white wolf that he had recently purchased.]
UBBA: You'll have to endure my brother. He always finds new ways to humor himself.
EIVOR: I'll keep that in mind.
UBBA: And both eyes open.
IVARR: You smell that, Ceolbert? The stink of jealousy. Of our budding friendship, I think.
EIVOR: What is Ceolwulf's son doing in Repton at all?
UBBA: It's Ceolwulf's way of proving his loyalty. And there's no safer place for a traitor and his son than the middle of a pack of Danes.
EIVOR: Safe from who? You and Ivarr seem to have brought this shire to hell.
UBBA: The fyrds are with us, the common folk. But Burgred still has his soldiers all over Mercia. They're devoted to him. And they'll die defending him.
CEOLBERT: Your voice, Eivor. You sound different than the brothers.
EIVOR: Good ear, lord. Most in England cannot tell the difference. But not all Danes are Danes.
CEOLBERT: From where do you come, if I may ask?
EIVOR: North of the Dane lands. A place called Fornburg, in Norway,
CEOLBERT: I didn't know there was a land north of there. What are the people like?
EIVOR: You ever see a herd of sheep follow each other off the edge of a cliff? They're like that. The ones who remained, anyway.
SIGURD: Couldn't have said it better myself.
CEOLBERT: Was it a mass exodus from Norway then?
SIGURD: It was. Norway is now the province of a young king. Harald by name, a boy wise beyond his years.
CEOLBERT: Are you not angry that he has displaced you and so many others?
SIGURD: I was... for a time. But our weeks at sea have softened my brow-fire. If I am honest, I realize I quite admire King Harald. By words and by weapons both, he has pacified the country call home. For the first time in any man's memory or any skald's song, Norway has one king. Just one. And that is quite a feat.
CEOLBERT: That is impressive, truly. England is half the size of Norway, and yet we have four kings for our four kingdoms.
SIGURD: You see? How could I not be impressed? No, Harald is a good man with grand ideas. I can see that now.
CEOLBERT: I am only six years his junior, and have yet to see my first battle. I cannot imagine the skill and cunning he has.
SIGURD: Your first battle is coming young Ceolbert. From this day on, you may see rapid progress.
CEOLBERT: I'm not sure I want so swift a rise.
SIGURD: In truth, Ceolbert, it is my father who bears the heaviest weight of my anger. Not King Harald. My father gifted my birthright to Harald without my consent or knowledge, as easily as if he might hand over a barrel of mead. It was not merely a deception, it was a betrayal of trust. The prick of which still stings me.
CEOLBERT: Be it a blessing or a curse, family is always first.
SIGURD: A good line, boy. Were you not an aetheling, I would hire you as my skald.
CEOLBERT: Skald... it sounds something like Scop, our court poets. Is that what you mean?
SIGURD: Right again.
CEOLBERT: Fascinating. The harmony between our words and yours is quite something. As if we were distant cousins, separated by an ocean of time as well as space.
SIGURD: (laughs) I like the thought of that, I do!
[They ride into town and dismount from their horses at the castle. On its wall stands the local king, Burgred. Beside him stands a seemingly battle-hardened warrior in Roman centurion armor. He has fresh scars on his face.]
KING BURGRED: Look at these pagan rats! Ravenous, unseemly beasts, teeming over holy ground!
LEOFRITH: Have a care, lord. These pagan rats outnumber us.
KING BURGRED: I can see that, fool! What do we do about them!
LEOFRITH: I advise we strongly consider their demands, lord. We don’t survive a fight.
IVARR: Is that you, Leofrith? How quickly you recover. I'm beginning to wonder if it is a man'or a god beneath all that armor.
LEOFRITH: A man of God stands before you, Ivarr. Proud and resolute.
UBBA: That's Burgred's war-thegn. Killed a dozen of our men in an ambush along the river Trent. It was Ivarr's axe that stopped him.
IVARR: That is a poor description of a perfect thirty-yard toss.
KING BURGRED: Enough jawing, heathens! Speak your piece.
UBBA: We've come for your crown, lord.
IVARR: With or without your head attached.
KING BURGRED: I admire your ambition, pagan. But what you ask is impossible. No Dane ever has or ever will occupy Mercia's sacred throne.
EIVOR: Would you settle for a Norse? We're not as gentle but we're much better poets. (the other laughs)
KING BURGRED: Norse. Dane. Dog. You're all the same to me, all godless. (spits)
LEOFRITH: My king, may I suggest a more measured approach to this--
KING BURGRED: I grow weary of this palaver! You have trampled our lands, toppled our monuments. We've given you silver. Fed your people. And yet in spite of all this, your encroachment on my kingdom continues. No more! We will die defending what is ours, whatsoever the cost. If you want my crown, Ubba Ragnarsson, you must pry it from the hands of my bloodless corpse! Man the walls!
UBBA: Back to the camp. Round up the men. We're taking Tamworth tonight! Eivor, tell the captain we're ready to march. Ivarr and I will round up the men. Do you know your way around a battering ram?
EIVOR: I've seen them in action.
UBBA: I want you at the helm of ours. You're strong and agile.
EIVOR: I'll be there.
SIGURD: As will l.
[EIVOR rides to speak to the captain at the War Camp.]
NORSE WARRIOR: Who are you?
EIVOR: I'm with the Ragnarssons. It's time to roll out the battering ram.
NORSE WARRIOR: Burgred wanted a fight. Now we'll give him one. Are you ready to march now?
EIVOR: Let's go. It's time to capture a kingdom.
SIGURD: What are we going to do about him? (nods at Ceolbert)
EIVOR: Ceolbert... something wrong?
CEOLBERT: I know these men, Eivor. I've supped with them. Not two weeks ago, Leofrith showed me how to wield a greatsword. He's a friend.
SIGURD: Friendships end. Often at the point of a spear.
CEOLBERT: It cannot be that cold. Least of all with Leofrith. He is only following orders.
EIVOR: When the march begins, find an empty tent and stay there.
CEOLBERT: Do not think me a coward. I am not afraid of war. I do not want to kill my friends.
EIVOR: There's no other way. Fight or hide. It's up to you.
[Evening is coming. The warriors are preparing for the battle for the castle. EIVOR leads them into battle.]
EIVOR: Destroy the gate!
UBBA: Slaughter the soldiers! Leave the king to me!
SIGURD: Forward! Push forward!
EIVOR: Gate's down! Push through! Push through!
IVARR: Burn the houses to cinders! Leave them no place to hide!
SIGURD: What a tale to weave into our saga. Look at us, side by side with the Ragnarssons. We're a long way from Fornburg, Eivor. This... this is our destiny.
EIVOR: The path is blocked. We must destroy that barricade! Protect the ram! Cut down their marksmen and elites! Or they'll thin us out, one by one!
SIGURD: Saxon blood feeds this land, and it is we Norse who march all over it!
IVARR: Burgred! I'll find you, you little rat! Do you hear me!
[And… all the defenders are killed. EIVOR runs to BURGRED’S keep.]
EIVOR: It's over, Burgred! Lay down your weapons and surrender.
[He kicks out the door to the keep.]
UBBA: Take three men and search the rear. Look around. See what you can find. I'll send for Ceolwulf... tell him we found a throne.
[Ivarr sits in it and smiles.]
IVARR: Ah, that was a good scuffle, hm? But I did notice we were short one aetheling. Where was the son of our king?
EIVOR: Ceolbert was around. It may be you missed him.
IVARR: Your lies are just like you, Eivor. Big and bold.
[EIVOR searches the surroundings.]
EIVOR: (thinking) Burgred called for help. Enlisted the aid of powerful men... but who are these warriors he speaks of? Seems Leofrith is at odds with his king, but bound to duty. A loyal man. Hmm... a chronicle of payments made. Like a ledger. There's a symbol here... a clan emblem maybe? The brothers should see this. (outloud) Ivarr, I've found a letter. There's a symbol here.
EIVOR: Your men have any luck?
UBBA: Nothing. You?
EIVOR: This. Do you know that symbol?
UBBA: Tonna's sigil. It seems she has been dealing with Burgred as well, the wretch.
SIGURD: She was the mercenary barking at you in Repton, yes? She is playing both sides of this war.
CEOLWULF: She could have told him anything. Sold him secrets. About me, about Repton, our
IVARR: Why bother with all this pageantry? Fashion a new crown and stick it on your melon. There you have it, you're the new king.
CEOLWULF: That is not how it works. Not in Mercia.
EIVOR: You were one of Burgred's thegns. You must have some sense of where he'd be.
CEOLWULF: Burgred had his secret haunts, but he never told me of them. Kept me quite in the dark... for good reason, I suppose.
EIVOR: Tonna is our only lead. We talk to her, find out what she knows.
IVARR: I would sooner launch my face into my axe than face her.
UBBA: That might improve her impression of you.
IVARR: We have the same father, Eivor. But his mother was a sow.
UBBA: Meet us at Tonna's camp when you're finished here. And bring your patience.
IVARR: And your axe!
CEOLWULF: Eivor... a word if you would.
EIVOR: Go, I'll catch up.
SIGURD: I will join the brothers, Eivor. Meet us at Tonna's.
CEOLWULF: My son told me what happened earlier, with Ivarr pressuring him to fight. He said you intervened.
EIVOR: You would be mourning your son if I hadn't. He's not a fighter.
CEOLWULF: No, but he should be. By trial or by training.
EIVOR: He'll come around in time, but keep him from Ivarr if you can. He's the furthest thing from a mentor.
[“The Sons of Ragnar” mission synchronized.]
[EIVOR goes to see SIGURD.]
IVARR: This is not going to end well.
UBBA: Just keep your wits about you.
SIGURD: Calm, Ivarr. Me and Eivor will take care of this.
IVARR: I know.
EIVOR: Sigurd, is there a problem?
SIGURD: We'll go see Tonna, just the two of us. Ivarr and Ubba will wait here. Better if Tonna thinks we've come alone. The truth is, I don't think any of us can stop Ivarr from cleaving, her head open. It's all he was spewing the whole way over here.
EIVOR: Right. Shall we?
SIGURD: We'll return shortly.
IVARR: A small fortune for whoever sends Tonna to Hel.
EIVOR: I'll hold you to that.
[They walk to Tonna’s keep.]
EIVOR: From what I overheard in Repton, the brothers had an arrangement with Tonna. What happened?
SIGURD: She's a mercenary. Ubba used her for men and information. But that relationship soured now that Burgred is all but defeated. From what I heard, Tonna has a hunger for two things, soft silver and a stern hump. Neither of which earns you true loyalty.
EIVOR: If she can't be trusted, what use is she?
SIGURD: That is for us to find out. We may be able to satisfy her...
EIVOR: And if we can't?
SIGURD: Ivarr did tell you to bring your axe.
TONNA: And here they are. As expected.
SIGURD: If she takes a liking to you, keep talking.
EIVOR: She is more your type, I think.
SIGURD: No, no. This is your challenge.
TONNA: Sigurd. What brings you strolling into my camp this brisk day?
SIGURD: I suspect you already know.
TONNA: Yes. The embers on the air betray you. And yet, if you are here talking to me, King Burgred remains at large. (to EIVOR) And who are you, lovely dove? Want to perch your ass on my lap?
EIVOR: Not interested.
TONNA: And why not? I've been told I have a rather expert tongue.
EIVOR: Only good for yawping, I see.
SIGURD: Enough blabbering. You know why we're here.
TONNA: "Where is King Burgred?" That is what you want. And what makes you think I have the slightest idea?
EIVOR: We found letters, records of trade. The two of you have a history.
TONNA: What can I say? The king pays well for my services. If only I could say the same for those two Ragnarsson clods.
EIVOR: You're dealing with me now. And I want to know what you know. Name your price.
TONNA: Very well. I could use another cow. You can cover the cost.
EIVOR: You take me for a fool?
TONNA: I take you for desperate beggars. I can smell it on you, like dung heap. Now that's my price. What say you?
EIVOR: You heard me the first time. But I'll get what I need, one way or another.
TONNA: No, no. You have shot your chance. And if you show your faces around here once more, I will tear you limb from limb.
[She walks inside her keep and closes the door.]
SIGURD: Well, that is not the result I was hoping for. I hope you have another idea.
EIVOR: Tonna keeps a close eye on whoever she deals with. If Burgred is keeping records, so is she. Somewhere behind those walls.
SIGURD: See what you can find. I'll go back to the brothers.
TONNA: (from inside) Keep those gates locked. If they come within a foot of here, kill them.
[EIVOR quietly gets into the camp.]
NORSE WARRIOR: What happened out there?
NORSE WARRIOR: The Ragnarssons came through, just like Tonna said they would.
NORSE WARRIOR: I suppose they didn't reach an agreement.
NORSE WARRIOR: Ha. What gave it away?
EIVOR: Tonna's longhouse. I should have a look around.
TONNA: Bad idea, lovely dove. Now I'm going to make you regret it. I am taking your head back to the Ragnarssons. That'll teach them to cross me.
[EIVOR kills Tonna.]
EIVOR: Straight to Hel with you. Tonna's house. I might find something useful there.
[He finds a secret hatch.]
EIVOR: Clever. Let's see what secrets you keep, Tonna. (finds a letter) This might be something. Looks like Burgred once paid Tonna to steer the Ragnarssons away from two areas. Burgred's private haunts perhaps? He could be at either one. Shouldn't have been so greedy, Tonna. Right. Back to the brothers.
[He gets back to UBBA and IVARR.]
UBBA: Eivor. Tell us you learned something.
EIVOR: Ledecestre and Templebrough Fort. What do you know about them?
UBBA: Hm. Ledecestre is a large village. And Templebrough... it's an old military fort, not much else.
EIVOR: Burgred could be at either one. We should check both. As soon as possible.
IVARR: And what do we do with Tonna? I would bet the sweat off my sack she's writing to Burgred now, offering silver for a warning about us.
EIVOR: You won't be seeing her again. Not unless you are bound for Helheim. I'll collect now, if you don't mind.
IVARR: Ah. This one takes after me, Brother.
SIGURD: We should get moving, drengr (courageous warrior). I can take the fortress at Templebrough.
UBBA: I will join you, Sigurd.
IVARR: That leaves me Ledecestre, then. All by my fucking lonesome.
UBBA: Bring a friend, Brother. Maybe Eivor dares to be called that.
EIVOR: Go on ahead. I'll catch up with all of you soon.
[“Bartering” mission synchronized.]
An Efficient Cremation
[On the way to his brother's house, EIVOR notices a man trying to blow up a pyre.]
NORSE MAN: This is taking too long. I need more fire, more oil! They must burn, they must burn…
[EIVOR approaches him.]
NORSE MAN: Please! My family, they've died unjustly. They need to be burned! But this fire won't do. I must burn them before they turn into vengeful draugrs. There must be something around here that burns…
[EIVOR looks around the house.]
EIVOR: Oil jars for the fire. This should be enough.
[He takes a barrel of oil and throws it into the fire. The pyre begins to burn furiously.]
NORSE MAN: Thank you! Thank you. Now may they rest in peace...
EIVOR: Will they truly rest? You said the draugrs, your family no less, would return vengeful.
NORSE MAN: It's my fault. I killed them. My greed robbed me of my senses and now my family. My brother was to inherit my father's wealth. But it was my right! They called me a lout, a disgrace. They were right. Now our family fortune sits in the house. Worthless when there is nobody left to enjoy it with. A favor, I beg of you. Slay me so I may join them in Helheim and beg their forgiveness.
[EIVOR does what the Norse man asks him to do.]
EIVOR: Men like you deserve something worse than death. I hope your family condemns you, even in Helheim.
[“An Efficient Cremation” mission synchronized.]
[On his way through the woods, EIVOR meets a strange man. He is cheerful and carefree.]
Skal to Your Wealth
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I'll tell all my friends of this fortune. I thought you were a cheat, a swindler! But you were right! Lord light your way.
[A man was coming out of a large, two-story hut. EIVOR decides to go inside and find out what happened to him there. On the second floor he finds a potion dealer.]
EIVOR: What has spurred his little heart?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Ah! My soon-to-be highly coveted elixir. You see, one gulp puts you to sleep, and when you wake up, you are suddenly richer.
EIVOR: (laughs) I have not heard this ruse before.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: It sounds like one, I know, and I cannot explain how it works. But it does. Take that gentleman's elation as proof. He and many others have returned to me, all with different tales to tell, but all wealthier in the end.
EIVOR: All right, give me the elixir.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: I don't have any on hand. To brew this elixir involves great risk. You must be certain you are up for the challenge.
EIVOR: Won't know until I hear it.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Very well. There are two crucial ingredients you must bring me. Bear testicles and fresh lichen.
EIVOR: Where can I find these ingredients?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: There's a den just west of here where the bears have taken a liking to winter chanterelle. As for the lichen, you can find some growing in the well outside. Be careful.
[EIVOR goes in search of the ingredients for the potion.]
EIVOR: Here's what I needed from the bear. Lichen for the alchemist's elixir.
[After that, he returns to the dealer.]
EIVOR: Here, I have brought what you asked for.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Very good. Let me get to work. I will have the elixir ready shortly. There we have it. One Elixir of Miraculous Wealth. Enjoy.
[EIVOR drinks the potion and becomes ill. He falls to the floor. When he comes to, he finds himself in a completely different place.]
EIVOR: (groan) Cursed alchemist... (sees a skeleton) Looks as though this one took the elixir as well. Ended up here, but could not get out. I should return to the alchemist. See if he knows what happened.
Winchell the Robesfree
[EIVOR manages to get out of the underground garden. On his way to the dealer, he sees a naked man standing on a rock, screaming into the sky.]
WINCHELL: Let the wind tickle my skin forever, I made you what you are! My principles led to your great nudity! To all tyrants of garb! Let it be known you are vile garment mongers! And you will know my name is Winchell the Robe-Free!
EIVOR: Why are you naked?
WINCHELL: Because my uncompromising lack of clothes brings me joy. Yet my very own sect of Pious Nudists tossed me aside!
EIVOR: Nudists? Those who bare their skin for pleasure?
WINCHELL: Indeed. We-we bare our skin at all times! In the tradition of great Greeks and Romans. Yet some say I am too ... enthusiastic. Nude in prayer, at mealtimes, at work. In the streets and alehouses. Everywhere! For Jesus loves us best as we were born! But the group I founded has expelled me! O, if I could exact revenge, steal their clothes and render them nude forever, I would! That assembly of traitors act like all is well. One day, I will head down there and render them eternally nude, as God wanted.
[EIVOR goes to a nudist camp.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: A fair Dane joins the ranks of the liberated!
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Greetings, Dane. This is our private celebration of skin. We are open to all who strip. Would you join us?
EIVOR: I met a man who claimed to have created this club. What happened to him?
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: O, Winchell... yes. He was a bit too... hmm... assertive for us. He was overly tempted by bare flesh. So we had to send him away.
EIVOR: I would be honored to join your group. Where do I place my clothes so I can start-dancing?
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Wonderful! A new member. Simply place your clothes in that crate hidden by the tent and partake in the liberation. Dear friend, relax your body and cast away your loins! There's a fresh gorgeous beast of a soul joining us!
[EIVOR looks around the camp, approaching the various nudists who are lounging by the water and bathing.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: O! That's the crate where we put our clothes. Feel free to store yours in there too. Just put your… ( EIVOR grabs a box of clothes and runs away) hey! Stop that. Put it down!
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Our clothes! Leave them, stop it thief! Garb thief!
[The nudists rush after EIVOR, but soon stop.]
ANGLO-SAXON WOMAN: Let the Dane go! Someone we know in society will see us! Quick, find shelter!
EIVOR: Now you're nude forever. As Winchell wanted.
[He brings the clothes to Winchell.]
EIVOR: Now they will adhere to your principles.
WINCHELL: Yes! You have carried out my revenge! Wonderful. Now they must revel in their nudeness forever! If you like I have a luminous text with my teachings. A breviary of why one must trust their body's exposed sinew. Enjoy!
EIVOR: Be well, Winchell the Chest-Free.
[“Winchell the Robesfree” mission synchronized.]
[Saying goodbye to the nudist and returns to the search for the dealer. He soon finds him.]
EIVOR: You, alchemist. What happened to me after I drank that piss?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: How should I know? I told you. I cannot explain how it works. What I can say is the elixir hit you particularly hard. You stumbled out of here, then began sprinting across this forest as if you had a nose for something. Very feral. I was worried, but I'm glad to see you are all right. Your wealth has swelled, has it not?
EIVOR: In a manner of speaking. I awoke in a cave beside a dead man clutching some treasure.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Hmm... I've not heard that outcome before.
EIVOR: One of your customers on the same pursuit, I think. Only he was not so lucky.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Perhaps I should shelve this elixir for the time being. At least until I can better understand its effects.
EIVOR: Good thinking.
["Skal to Your Wealth" mission synchronized.]
[EIVOR rides to Repton. At the harbor he sees two men and decides to talk to them.]
JUNGULF: I've heard all Danes are cursed with slow brains and fat tongues! Care to prove me wrong?
EIVOR: Most men choose to be loud or stupid. Impressed that you manage both. I'll take you on!
JUNGULF: Brilliant! Some flyting spirit. How about a wager?
JUNGULF: Thank you.
EIVOR: Let us begin!
JUNGULF: I have sparred against champions and bested each one.
EIVOR: O, to beat such a braggart, will surely be fun!
GODRICH: Ah! Quick to bite back! Be careful, Jungulf!
JUNGULF: You're a misfit, a half-wit, a foolish old grouse.
EIVOR: You're a weakling, a milksop, a cadger, a louse.
JUNGULF: I'm the greatest of flyters, a master of verse!
EIVOR: Your pride is appalling, and your rhyming is worse.
GODRICH: Got you there, Jungulf! Ha!
JUNGULF: I'm impressed. You are sharp as that axe on your belt.
EIVOR: As promised. I will have my winnings now.
JUNGULF: Take the gold. You've earned it.
[After that, EIVOR goes shopping. He walks into the armorer's shop.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Yes this will strike fear into the hearts of your enemies! Oh good, just what I was looking for! I hope to see you again soon!
EIVOR: I will see you later, friend.
[Next, he walks in on the stables.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: What can I tempt you with? It's like you were born to ride! Until next we meet!
The Old Guard
[EIVOR leaves the city and explores the surroundings. He finds a small camp and a man singing a song.]
NORSE MAN: (humming) Care to sing a song? Helps me pass the time.
EIVOR: That song... you have spent some days on a longship.
NORSE MAN: O, many. See this salt blasted hair? Took a pummeling over the years, all that sea water. Feels like hay now.
EIVOR: Better keep away from the horses, then.
NORSE MAN: Hah! You are very quick. And sturdy by the looks of you. But you are not from that Ragnarsson camp there, in Repton. I would have recognized you.
EIVOR: I belong to another clan. What are you doing away from yours?
NORSE MAN: I have been cast out. Too old, too frail. Deadweight, as they say. I will have to get used to watching the sights of war from afar now.
EIVOR: No shame in that. Not many of us can say they lived long enough to simply retire. You have earned it.
NORSE MAN: But have I? Or have I missed my chance? I thought I knew what lay ahead, but now that is foreign to me.
EIVOR: Embrace it. Sail the seas. Write your songs and bellow out on the winds. Sounds nice to me.
NORSE MAN: You are far too young to speak so wise. There is a bright future for you and your clan. I would like to add to it. Take this key, and if you find yourself in Repton, seek out my quarters near the docks. There's a large tree out front. Inside, you will find a few of my most prized items. Take them. I no longer have any need.
EIVOR: You honor me.
NORSE MAN: Call it a gift, from the old guard to the new. Odin guide your way, young drengr.
EIVOR: (thinking) I should keep an eye out for this old raider's home if ever I am in Repton. This must be that old raider's place. He said he wanted me to have his things.
[He opens the door and searches the house. Inside are only musical instruments and song lyrics, as well as some metal ore and leather.]
EIVOR: Is that everything? This crate is filled with songs. Must have taken a long time to write them all out. I should return this crate to the old raider.
[He carries the box to the old musician.]
EIVOR: These are some trinkets you left behind, old man.
NORSE MAN: Ah! You've come back. Why are you wasting your time with me?
EIVOR: This crate has all of your written songs. This is not a gift I can accept or repay. You will want to revisit these someday. They should stay with you.
NORSE MAN: I had forgotten all about them. Something to work at on this new journey of mine.
EIVOR: You have only the setting sun to tell you when to stop.
NORSE MAN: And maybe not even then! That is twice you have earned my admiration. Please, tell me your name.
NORSE MAN: Eivor. If the gods will it, I will find my seat' at Odin's table before you. And there I will speak of you, so that when the time comes to claim your seat, they will greet you by name. Farewell.
["The Old Guard" mission synchronized.]
Rumors of Ledecestre
[EIVOR travels to Ledecestre, a Saxon farming village built on the ruins of a Roman city. She finds Ivarr on top of a building.]
IVARR: Good timing. We would have stormed the place without you.
EIVOR: What have you seen?
IVARR: Soldiers aplenty. Wagons going in and out. The weasel Burgred is here, I’m sure of it. The bathhouse there, and that church, see? I sent a scout to check them both. Should be back at any moment now. Did you see Ubba and Sigurd in Templebrough?
EIVOR: No. And if Burgred is hiding here, I won’t have to.
IVARR: There is a lot we would not have to do if we stuck to killing kings. Thanks to my brother, we are into making them.
EIVOR: Ubba has his way and you have yours, that much is clear. I’m not here to play favorites.
IVARR: No, you are here to make your mark. I know what it means to be a young drengr [courageous warrior]. You think of glory and destiny.
EIVOR: You’ve got me all figured out.
IVARR: I know your type, Wolf-Kissed. But me, I am not looking as far into the future as you.
EIVOR: Time’s up for your scout, I’d say. He’s either dead or run off.
IVARR: Give him a chance.
EIVOR: Can't risk them seeing us, and Burgred slipping away again. You stay here and wait for your scout, I’m going in.
[She goes to the church first.]
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Keep it up, lads. Every little bit helps.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: The farmers are starting to push back.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Then kindly remind them of their duty to Mercia, and to their king.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: You heard Leofrith. Secure whatever food you can. That Danes won’t hesitate to burn our fields.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: And if we can’t eat, we can’t fight.
[EIVOR assassinates them. In the basement of the church, she finds Leofrith’s orders.]
EIVOR: Crates full of food and supplies. Burgred is not giving up without a fight.
[EIVOR goes to the old Roman bathhouse.]
EIVOR: This must be the bathhouse. Need to find a way inside.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: This is bollocks! We should be out there, fighting to take Tamworth back from the Danes!
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: We’re to secure our food-stores first. Leofrith’s orders.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Leofrith’s orders...pah! The king’s grown tired of him, you know. That’s what all the men are saying.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Tired? How do you mean?
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Are you blind? He questions Burgred’s orders every chance he gets. Has done ever since the Danes showed up.
[EIVOR kills them. Using a key she acquired from one of the guards, she unlocks a door.]
EIVOR: Have you lost your mind?
CEOLBERT: I feared you were one of them.
EIVOR: Keep quiet. What are you doing here?
CEOLBERT: I’m...I was looking for Burgred.
EIVOR: You are Ivarr’s scout…
CEOLBERT: I hoped I might find Burgred myself, and talk him into surrendering. But he is not in Ledecestre.
EIVOR: How can you be sure?
CEOLBERT: Leofrith passed this way with some men. I eavesdropped. It seems they’re only stockpiling food here. But he did say something of interest...gave orders to send more men to Burgred’s wife, the Lady of Aethelswith. She’s in Templebrough. She would know what Burgred’s hiding.
[Clashes of iron outside interrupt him.]
CEOLBERT: Do you hear that? The sounds of battle.
EIVOR: Ivarr...let’s get you out of here, now. Where are you going?
CEOLBERT: I know my way around. We’ll go through the market. This way!
[They escape the bathhouse and plunge into the battle outside in the marketplace.]
IVARR: Find the king! Put him on his knees before me!
CEOLBERT: They’re everywhere!
EIVOR: Stay close to me.
CEOLBERT: Wh-what do I do?
EIVOR: Fight, man. Fight!
IVARR: Burgred! Where are you, you little shit! Burgred!
[In the heat of battle, Eivor kills The Baldric. She enters the dream-like world in her mind.]
HUNTA, SON OF HUNTA: My battle kennings have worn thin...I am no longer the reed among shields. The glimmer-blood, the hallowed skull-crack.”
EIVOR: The scourge of swan-roads.
HUNTA, SON OF HUNTA: The iron-throng, the lender of silvergelds...I only wished to be a freebooter. Someone who writes their own destiny.
EIVOR: Be glad you head to Valhalla with a poem on your lips.
[EIVOR touches him and he fades to dust. She returns to reality.]
EIVOR: Are you hurt? Speak up!
CEOLBERT: I...I don’t think so...my God...I didn’t want it to come to this.
EIVOR: They would have killed you, Ceolbert. You had no choice. Now don’t move.
IVARR: Where is your king, Saxon? Where is he?
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Lord our Father, grant me salvation--
[Ivarr chops off his head.]
IVARR: When does their God find the time to answer so much mumbling and whispering?
EIVOR: You’re reckless, Ivarr! Ceolbert could have been killed.
IVARR: Who am I to stand in the light of a boy searching for his balls?
EIVOR: Don’t excuse yourself. You enjoy this too much.
CEOLBERT: Stop. It wasn't Ivarr who sent me. I sent myself.
EIVOR: Have caution, boy. Until your father is crowned, you’re Mercia’s enemy, not its champion. You understand?
CEOLBERT: I understand.
EIVOR: Good. Now return to Repton and remain there until we call.
IVARR: Will you not stay, Wolf-Kissed? There is no king, but we have corpses to loot!
EIVOR: Burgred’s Lady Aethelswith is in Templebrough. I’m going to find out what she knows.
IVARR: Take everything!
["Rumors of Ledecestre" mission synchronized.]
The Walls of Templebrough
[EIVOR travels with her crew to reach Templeborough, home to the ruins of a Roman fortress. She reaches a small camp on its outskirts, where UBBA and SIGURD are keeping soldiers hostage.]
UBBA: You did better than your tight-lipped men. He’ll never say anything again.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: We’ve told you everything. Won’t you please let us go?
UBBA: That depends on what happens here.
SIGURD: Eivor, there you are.
EIVOR: What’s with the prisoners?
SIGURD: Men from the fortress out on patrol.
UBBA: We squeezed them. Burgred’s not here. It’s his queen they’re guarding, Aethelswith. They must have separated after Tamworth.
EIVOR: I heard as much from Ceolbert in Ledecestre.
UBBA: Ceolbert? What was he doing there-- Ivarr…
EIVOR: Too long a tale for now, but he’s fine. I sent him to Repton. What’s the plan here?
SIGURD: It won’t be long before someone comes looking for these men. We need to get inside and find Aethelswith.
EIVOR: Capture a queen to find a king...it might work.
SIGURD: Only one way to find out. (to UBBA) See if you can get anything more out of them. Me and Eivor will take care of fetching Aethelswith.
UBBA: Odin guide you.
[EIVOR and SIGURD set off.]
SIGURD: The Saxons won’t welcome us through the front door. We could find a quiet way in, or we can your longship. I’m beside you either way. Ah, Eivor, I have dreamt of this day.
EIVOR: Of scouring the shire in search of a king?
SIGURD: Of going a-vikingr! With you! With our brothers and sisters! Conquering new lands. Forming lasting friendships. And if it takes chasing some weasel across a new land, so be it. I am right where I wish to be.
EIVOR: As am I, brother.
[EIVOR decides to stealthily infiltrate the fortress. They reach its basement to find a group of women.]
SIGURD: You three, scurry! Lady Aethelswith, I see Burgred has done his best to hide you away. But what is lost must always be found.
AETHELSWITH: Let my handmaidens be free of this place. They have nothing to do with our quarrel.
SIGURD: You hear that, Eivor? Noble. Selfless. This is the sort you must strike a bargain with. A woman of quality. (to AETHELSWITH) We seek only your king, lady. Tell us where Burgred hides, and we will leave without an ounce of blood split.
AETHELSWITH: Please...I-I don’t...I don’t know.
EIVOR: Effective, Sigurd.
SIGURD: She is only naive to her present danger. But she will soon understand.
[AETHELSWITH raises her hands in surrender, but EIVOR notices that her hands are worn and calloused.]
EIVOR: Wait...those are the hands of one who washes linens...a servant. She is a decoy.
AETHELSWITH: Guards! Come quickly! The Danes, they’ve found me!
EIVOR: (to SIGURD) Watch the handmaidens! I’ll follow Aethelswith.
[EIVOR chases the real AETHELSWITH out of the castle and follows her down a river, where a soldier is attempting to sail her away to safety.]
AETHELSWITH: They’re coming! Faster! You must go faster!
[EIVOR shoots the guard with her bow and climbs aboard the small boat, tying AETHELSWITH up.]
AETHELSWITH: Stay away from me! Help! Help me! My husband will send you all to Hell!
EIVOR: Quite clever, Your Ladyship. You are certainly making us work for it.
AETHELSWITH: Keep your hands off me, pagan!
EIVOR: Have you lost your sense of hospitality?
AETHELSWITH: (she spits)
EIVOR: I regret asking…
[EIVOR begins to sail AETHELSWITH toward the camp.]
AETHELSWITH: Let me go! I demand it!
EIVOR: After what you put me through? I would have to be mad.
AETHELSWITH: Do you understand what you’re doing, pagan? I am the Lady of Mercia! You’re wasting your time. I won’t talk. Not to you, not to any of you barbarians.
EIVOR: You may reconsider, if only for your people. For who knows how many more might die at the hands of us barbarians?
AETHELSWITH: You don’t frighten me.
EIVOR: Then you are a fool.
[They arrive at the camp.]
UBBA: Lady Aethelswith...you have seen better days.
AETHELSWITH: God will sear your soul, heathen! If He can find it. (she spits)
UBBA: Quite the catch, Eivor. She is as much of a poet as you.
AETHELSWITH: Where’s my Kadlin? What have you done with her?
SIGURD: Your handmaiden, you mean? The brave one dressed in royal finery? She’s in chains with the others.
UBBA: I’ll take them back to Tamworth. Get them talking.
AETHELSWITH: If she has so much as a scratch on her…
SIGURD: (to EIVOR) I will inform Ceolwulf. He might have some ideas on how to get through to her.
EIVOR: I will meet you there. Sigurd...what about these prisoners?
SIGURD: We’ve got what we need. Let them go.
[“The Walls of Templebrough” mission synchronized.]
Tilting the Balance
[EIVOR returns to Tamworth.]
UBBA: (to SIGURD) Your turn. She won’t talk to me.
SIGURD: Eivor will handle it. Go on.
EIVOR: (to AETHELSWITH) You’ve exhausted my friend Ubba here, but I’m wide awake. Maybe tell me where Burgred’s hiding and let him rest happy.
EIVOR: Stone-faced and tight-lipped, all for a king who hides like a cowardly vole, too scared to protect his family and his people. (she pulls out a drinking cup.) Thirsty?
AETHELSWITH: (she smacks it away.) My husband does what he must for Mercia. How could he do otherwise, knowing that even his closest friends could betray him? Give that traitor Ceolwulf my message...he may win this earthly battle, but the Devil has won the war for his soul.
EIVOR: He stabbed you in the back, true. But the people of Mercia are scared, and Ceolwulf offers them a balm for that fear.
AETHELSWITH: I spit on him! Whatever life he makes in Mercia will be built on the graves of the nobles who gave their lives to defend it.
EIVOR: The longer you drag this out, the truer that becomes. We’ve taken Repton, Tamworth. Now Templebrough and Ledecestre. With each victory, your hope for peace recedes.
AETHELSWITH: Yet Burgred has what you do not. The loyalty of his people. Good men. Faithful men.
EIVOR: Who? The thegns and ceorls of Mercia? No, no. Only Leofrith remains loyal. And he too will fall.
AETHELSWITH: Yes, goodly Leofrith. He will die defending his king. And win or lose, he will send a hundred more of you to Hell!
IVARR: Eivor...Your Ladyship...do not mind me. Only here to count my spoils.
[IVARR throws three human heads on the ground, and the pigs begin to eat it.]
AETHELSWITH: O, God!
EIVOR: Out, Ivarr! Now!
IVARR: All right, all right! But if you mean to stay, mind the smell after they finish this. (he leaves)
AETHELSWITH: M-my God! Get me out of here! Please!
EIVOR: Talk now and we’ll draw you a nice warm bath.
AETHELSWITH: You...you are asking me to betray my husband! How can I do that?
EIVOR: If you don’t, you will betray countless others. In legend, you may be remembered as the king and queen who abandoned their kingdom in its darkest hour. But there will be peace. This is Ceolwulf’s promise, and it will be honored. You have my word.
[After the screen fades to black, EIVOR walks outside.]
SIGURD: Does the caged bird sing?
EIVOR: Burgred is hiding in an old crypt to the south, where the Alne and Awry rivers join.
IVARR: A crypt...now tell me this is not a sign from the gods.
EIVOR: It’s a long way to carry a king. The three of you must clear a path back to Tamworth. Where can we meet?
UBBA: Bring him to the bridge at Venonis. It’s a straight line through. We’ll deal with any trouble there.
[SIGURD and UBBA leave.]
EIVOR: How many more times will I have to curtail your spectacles, Ivarr?
IVARR: Spectacle? That’s just me.
[EIVOR sets out for Offchurch.]
EIVOR: Heavy guard for a musty crypt. It cannot be the dead they’re protecting.
[She sneaks her way it, assassinating some guards on her way, and enters the large crypt.]
EIVOR: He’s got to be down here. What are you hiding, Burgred? I must be getting close.
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: Bloody crypt sends chills up my spine (EIVOR kills him.)
[Eventually, EIVOR enters a large room with a single soldier guarding a door.]
ANGLO-SAXON SOLDIER: My lord! Intruders! (Eivor kills him as well.)
KING BURGRED: What’s going on out there!
[Using the key she obtained from the guard, she enters the room where Burgred is hiding.]
KING BURGRED: No...no no no! It can’t be! (He pulls out his sword.)
EIVOR: That’s a bread knife, my lord. Do you mean to butter me?
KING BURGRED: Stay back! Back, I say! I’ll fight you!
EIVOR: If you insist.
[EIVOR fights KING BURGRED unarmed.]
KING BURGRED: You’ll have to kill me!
EIVOR: Luckily for you, it won’t come to that.
KING BURGRED: This kingdom is mine. Mine!
[EIVOR kicks his ass and ties him up.]
KING BURGRED: [groaning]
EIVOR: Time to go, my lord. We’re late for the crowning ceremony.
KING BURGRED: Y-you think you’ve...won? You haven’t Leofrith...I sent him away with orders to destroy you.
KING BURGRED: The mess you’re in...you don’t know the half of it.
[EIVOR carries KING BURGRED outside and puts him on her horse.]
KING BURGRED: Agh! Get me off this thing!
[They arrive at Venonis.]
SIGURD: Eivor! This way!
EIVOR: We need to go. Fast!
SIGURD: Right behind you.
IVARR: Burgred, you old beauty! I hardly recognized you there.
KING BURGRED: Agh! Put me down!
IVARR: Only way you go down is with a rope around your neck.
SIGURD: They’ll be coming for him. Stay alert.
[A bunch of soldiers charge toward them on their horses.]
UBBA: Trouble ahead. Go, we’ll cover for you.
KING BURGRED: Help!
IVARR: Eivor, stick his face in the horse’s ass!
SIGURD: More of them.
KING BURGRED: To me, my soldiers! I’m here!
ANGLO-SAXON SOLIDER: Free the king! Whatever the cost!
NORSE WARRIOR: Move! Move! Inside!
NORSE WARRIOR: We will fight them off!
[EIVOR arrives at the gates of Tamworth with KING BURGRED.]
EIVOR: Here we are. Look familiar?
KING BURGRED: No...no...you, you Godless slugs. You won’t get away with this.
UBBA: Change has come, Burgred. All that remains is a coronation. A witan with the lords of Mercia.
AETHELSWITH: Burgred, my love!
KING BURGRED: My lady! Are you injured? Did they hurt you?
AETHELSWITH: No, no. I’m fine.
EIVOR: Move along, lord. Your king awaits.
KING BURGED: Your death will come, Danes. Your end was writ the moment you came for me. I have made damned sure of that! The Zealots will know your names soon enough. No matter where you are, or how far you travel, they will hunt you down!
SIGURD: Enough of that, you squeaking sparrow. (he punches KING BURGRED in the face.)
UBBA: Let my brother be the lunatic of Tamworth.
IVARR: Zealots...what does he mean?
EIVOR: Ignore him. Desperate pleas and prophecies, nothing more.
IVARR: Walk with me, Wolf-Kissed. We have some time before the ceremony.
[“Tilting the Balance” mission synchronized.]
Heavy is the Head
EIVOR: Where to?
IVARR: Nowhere in particular. I only want to celebrate.
EIVOR: Didn’t think you were the type.
IVARR: You have drawn a dark conclusion about me, haven’t you? That is all well and good. I’ve drawn some about you as well.
EIVOR: Are you leading a lamb to slaughter?
IVARR: See what I mean? Dark. Too dark.
[They arrive at some tables where some warriors are drinking.]
IVARR: You there...get lost.
[The warriors leave, and EIVOR and IVARR sit down instead.]
IVARR: Sit down. I know I have been a cock. But you are a good fighter, I respect that. Let it be said that Ivarr the Boneless considers Eivor a friend.
EIVOR: Who calls you “boneless”?
IVARR: Some bacraut [asshole] I killed in Hibernia. Used his guts to shine my spear. Called me boneless because I move like a reed in the wind.
EIVOR: Not because you’re always too drunk to plow?
IVARR: [He takes a long sip of his drink.] Valhalla. That is where I am bound. I can smell the blood and taste the mead. I will sit beside the high one with my axe in hand.
EIVOR: A fitting end for a Ragnarsson.
IVARR: You would think, eh! Me, Halfdan, we’ll be there. But Ubba...no...I do not think we are chasing the same victory. Not anymore.
EIVOR: What does Ubba want?
IVARR: To grow old and fat on a farm somewhere, with little Ubbas to chase about.
EIVOR: He wants an heir. It’s a common dream.
IVARR: Not for a warrior! Not for drengir like us! He was different before. But this place, England...it softened him.
EIVOR: People change. And it may be that you change with them, or you go your separate ways. If it bothers you so much, why not strike out on your own?
IVARR: Because he is my brother. I love him. And I will do what it takes to drag him back around to my way of thinking. We are warriors, all. And that is to the death.
[A compilation of EIVOR and IVARR getting shitfaced ensues. EIVOR wakes up in the woods in the middle of the day.]
EIVOR: [groaning] Outdid myself again. Ugh. Did I miss the crowning?
[She goes to Tamworth's longhouse.]
CEOLWULF: Where is my son?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: We sent word to Repton, but we’ve had no word, lord. I suggest we carry on.
[UBBA and IVARR enter with KING BURGRED.]
KING BURGRED: You sought me out, old friend. And here I am, standing before the throne from which I reigned not long ago.
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: You stand before us to accept this witan’s unanimous decision. That you are unfit to rule and hereby deposed. We demand the abdication of your kingdom and your crown to Thegn Ceolwulf.
CEOLWULF: Mercy has spoken, lord. The crown…
KING BURGRED: Is that you, old friend? Ah, yes, I see it now. Forgive me. The robes of righteousness sit so loosely upon your shoulders. If the heavens mismark me as king, forgive its obscuring light! Amen! Now...where is my crown?
[The ANGLO-SAXON MAN presents it to him on a cushion.]
KING BURGRED: Forgive my nerves. Here I am, an upright man who never once learned how to bend the knee. And yet...I shall try. [He kneels before CEOLWULF] Ah, how simple it is. How easy to kneel without fear...and feeling.
IVARR: He’s mocking you, man! I’d kill the fucker.
KING BURGRED: Worry not, Dane. I shall resign this crown, and this pagan invested kingdom, and the favors of these two-faced men...but I will do so on my own terms. My demands are simple. Firstly, you must--
[CEOLWULF punches him in the face.]
CEOLWULF: You fool, look around you. You have no leverage here. Plead for your life, for it’s the only thing these men will grant you.
KING BURGRED: Yes...yes. Forgive me, I...Do not harm me, I beg of you. Please. I’ll go anywhere. Here! I resign it! Here!
CEOLWULF: Take this lord and his wife to Rome. He is hereby exiled, never to return.
[A soldier takes KING BURGRED outside, and CEOLWULF crowns himself.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: The witan recognizes King Ceolwulf of Mercia, second of his name. A just king. A merciful king. God save the king!
[The crowd cheers.]
SIGURD: (to EIVOR) He’d better be worth all this trouble.
NORSE WOMAN: Mercian soldiers! Marching on Repton!
IVARR: Loyal to the ugly end, the bastard.
EIVOR: Gather what men you have and split them between the north and south gates. That should divide his forces.
CEOLWULF: Ceolbert is there. Eivor, you must save my son.
EIVOR: He’ll come through this. I promise.
SIGURD: I will stay here with Ceolwulf. Go.
[EIVOR travels to Repton to find it burning and battle-ridden.]
EIVOR: They’ve breached the walls. I must find Ceolbert. (to UBBA) Have you seen Ceolbert?
UBBA: No, but we caught sight of Leofrith fleeing across the river. He was chasing someone.
EIVOR: It has to be Ceolbert. He’s the only one worth taking in this mud sink.
[She makes her way past the river to the Isle of Waifs and sees LEOFRITH and CEOLBERT battling.]
EIVOR: Ceolbert! He’s in trouble.
CEOLBERT: I won’t back down, Leofrith! I will not! Please. You do not want to do this.
EIVOR: Leofrith! Let him walk. You answer to me.
LEOFRITH: I answer to my king. I silence Danes...with this. [He holds up his sword.]
EIVOR: Lay it by, Leofrith. There’s nothing left to fight for. We’ve stormed Repton. Only a matter of time.
LEOFRITH: I cannot do that.
EIVOR: Then you will die.
LEOFRITH: Someone will.
[Battle scene begins.]
EIVOR: You can’t win this, Leofrith. Even if you defeat me, the Ragnarssons have won the day.
LEOFRITH: I have fought many a Dane in my time. I’m still standing.
EIVOR: You’re slowing.
EIVOR: You’re a strong-willed thegn. Burgred was lucky.
LEOFRITH: To stand in the way of you and Mercia is my duty. I’ll die before I yield.
EIVOR: You’re finished.
LEOFRITH: Not yet. Fight me, heathen!
[EIVOR defeats him.]
LEOFRITH: Go on then. End it.
EIVOR: No appeal to your god? Or your king?
LEOFRITH: I swore an oath to serve Burgred to the death. I fought. I lost. We both know how this goes.
[EIVOR enters the dream-like world, and ODIN appears beside her.]
ODIN: An honorable thegn fighting a dishonorable war.
EIVOR: Burgred abandoned him, betrayed his trust. If I were Leofrith, I’d want to know.
ODIN: Why rob him of his last glory? A warrior ready to meet his god and back in his praise. To live will only lead him to shame.
EIVOR: It’s not an oath he would keep if he knew the truth.
ODIN: Then choose. Truth...or glory.
[EIVOR returns to reality.]
EIVOR: Stand, Leofrith. Live to fight another day.
EIVOR: Your loyalty to Burgred is not a loyalty returned. He resigned the crown and fled to Rome. He’s gone.
LEOFRITH: You lie…
EIVOR: Lie to a man seconds from death? What would I gain? He saved himself and left you to die. All this fighting, it’s for nothing. For no one. To betray someone so trusted, so close...it’s a dishonor worth a thousand deaths.
LEOFRITH: Eivor...you have shown me a great kindness. It...it is only fitting that I do the same. At Venonis, there is a statue with a scroll laid in a small bowl. You must burn it.
EIVOR: A scroll?
LEOFRITH: Your name is on this scroll. At Burgred’s request, I put it there. When it is found, the Zealots who read it will hunt you.
EIVOR: Who are they?
LEOFRITH: It doesn’t matter now, you haven’t much time. Burn the scroll. Or they will never stop hunting you.
EIVOR: Where will you go now?
EIVOR: (to CEOLBERT) Come on. Let’s take you back. Careful, you’re injured.
CEOLBERT: I’m all right. Really. A few nicks and cuts from the battle, that’s all.
EIVOR: These wounds will heal quickly. You’re lucky.
CEOLBERT: I threw myself at him, Eivor. But he only toyed with me. He knew I couldn’t touch him.
EIVOR: You should have stayed hidden, Ceolbert. This wasn’t your fight.
CEOLBERT: It was. It was our fight. Yours, mine, my father’s. I had to help.
EIVOR: And you did. You showed courage today. Bravery. You’re a boy no longer.
CEOLBERT: Back there, with Leofrith...I didn’t think you’d spare him.
EIVOR: There is no honor in killing a man misled. He believed his king would die fighting for Mercia.
CEOLBERT: He knows the truth now.
EIVOR: And with that truth, he forged a new path. You were right about him, Ceolbert. And right to believe the line that divides us can be thinner than it seems.
[They meet up with everyone in front of a church.]
IVARR: Ceolbert! Look at you, bloody and battle-worn! Could be chieftain of your own clan with courage like that!
UBBA: No less than the King of Mercia, Brother. One of these days…
CEOLBERT: And how is my father taking to his new role?
UBBA: See for yourself.
EIVOR: You’re an odlingr now. Or aetheling, I think you’d say. Next in line for the throne. It’s an honorable title. One that demands good judgement. Be careful who you trust.
CEOLWULF: My son, are you well?
CEOLBERT: Yes, Father. Well enough.
EIVOR: He honored you today.. Fought bravely, against many stalwart foes.
CEOLWULF: You have my thanks, all of you. And my blessing.
EIVOR: Ubba and Ivarr lost countless men in this fight. You want to show your thanks? Hold to your end of the bargain.
CEOLWULF: Of course. All of England will soon know that the Kingdom of Mercia has a new and powerful king.
EIVOR: The remaining kingdoms of England won’t respect your path to power.
CEOLWULF: Nor will many in my kingdom. Burgred’s soldiers will stand tall in the face of this turmoil, all across Mercia, against us.
SIGURD: That we shall remedy soon enough. I am riding for Oxenefordscire directly, to forge an alliance with some thegns there.
EIVOR: Shall I go with you?
SIGURD: Not ‘til I know more. Linger here a while if you can. Strengthen our friendships. I will send for you soon enough.
CEOLWULF: Sigurd, I would feel better if Ceolbert was away from here, until Mercia is more stable. Would you welcome him among your clan?
SIGURD: Hm. Do you have a horse, young aetheling?
CEOLWULF: I do. A young steed called Theobald.
SIGURD: Good. I can ride with you as far as the river Nene. You may find your way from there.
CEOLWULF: Thank you, Sigurd. This puts my mind at ease.
SIGURD: Be ready for my call, Eivor. It will come!
[SIGURD, CEOLWULF, and CEOLBERT leave.]
UBBA: You and Sigurd make a good pair. The future of England will be pagan from top to bottom. (pulls a band from his pocket.) Take this, Wolf-Kissed. As a sign of friendship. And should you call, the Brothers Ragnarsson will come.
EIVOR: You honor me, Ubba.
[IVARR secretly picks up a broken axe from a fallen soldier.]
IVARR: See that? Sly bastard, trying to win your heart. Well, two can play at that game. [He hands Eivor the “gift.”]
EIVOR: How kind of you, Ivarr.
IVARR: My pleasure. Our friendship is the best thing to come from this mess. Maybe Ceolbert too, the brave little twig.
EIVOR: That’s good to hear…
[UBBA and IVARR leave.]
EIVOR: Now then...Leofrith said there are hunters after me. Zealots. If I don’t clear my name, I’ll be marked for death. I should head to Venonis.
[“Heavy is the Head” mission synchronized.]
[Ledecestrescire Arc completed.]
EIVOR: Now, it seems the winds call me back to Randvi. Best tell her the good news.
[EIVOR travels to Venonis before the next dawn.]
EIVOR: There. That’s the statues the Zealots use.
[Approaching an old Roman statue, she takes the paper and burns it with her torch.]
EIVOR: Done. Nothing but smoke and ashes now. That should be those Zealots off my back.
[“Hunted” mission synchronized.]
To Serve The Light…
[Having saved enough money, Eivor builds a bureau for assassins.]
HYTHAM: This will make a fine space for my work, Eivor. Thank you.
EIVOR: Well, if your work benefits us, I will see that you keep it, for as long as you live among us.
HYTHAM: I believe it will, for we have common cause against our enemy. They have dug their claws deep into England. Eradicate them where they are strongest and the alliances you seek will be far easier to come by. In Lunden, they now operate without restraint. If you were to eradicate them, the city would be in your debt.
EIVOR: I will talk with Randvi about your idea. Get her thoughts.
HYTHAM: Good. Yet before you do, there is something else. A gift I wish to share.
EIVOR: A gift?
HYTHAM: I cannot show you here. Will you walk with me?
EIVOR: I will. Lead on.
[They walk to a nearby boat and talk on the way.]
EIVOR: I hear a heaviness to your breathing, Hytham. Does your wound still trouble you?
HYTHAM: It does, I am afraid. There is a pain in my chest for which I have no remedy.
EIVOR: Rest easy then. So long as your mind stays sharp, you will recover.
HYTHAM: Of course. Though I am reluctant to displease my mentor.
EIVOR: You would risk your health and your life to please Basin. What do not understand.
HYTHAM: I should not expect you do. When we first arrived, I noted a shadow of suspicion in your eyes. A doubt, a wariness.
EIVOR: Is that a question?
HYTHAM: No. Only an observation.
[They get in the boat.]
EIVOR: Are you well enough to steer this boat?
HYTHAM: I am, have no worry. It is only prolonged stresses that exhaust me. My energy runs low rather quickly
EIVOR: And what is this gift you wish to give me?
HYTHAM: It will not come from me. It is a gift you must give yourself.
[Eivor moors the boat and they continue their journey on foot.]
EIVOR: More riddles. What fun you are.
HYTHAM: Let me say it another way. My gift is not for giving or taking. It is a way of living.
EIVOR: Still no clearer.
HYTHAM: It is a thing better demonstrated than described.
EIVOR: Then I will wait.
HYTHAM: Forgive my jest. This gift we call a Leap of Faith. It is one of our Brotherhood's most sacred rites. It is not a tool we use against our enemies, but an act we embrace to strengthen our resolve. Like your meditation, it centers our minds, steadies our hands, and purges fear from our hearts. And more practically, it aids our movements, in flight or in stealth.
EIVOR: You call it a leap. And we are climbing a rather steep hill....
HYTHAM: There it is again, the shadow of a doubt. Nearly there. Our destination is there.
EIVOR: I suspect you mean to throw me from this cliff. Is that it? Please tell me if I am near the mark.
HYTHAM: And spoil the surprise? To perform the Leap of Faith, you must give yourself over to something greater.
EIVOR: The gods?
HYTHAM: yourself. Embrace the hope that death will not come before you are prepared to meet it. Believe this and you will fear nothing.
EIVOR: Our deaths are prefigured, weaved into the fabric of the world. To fear this would be a waste of worry and tears.
HYTHAM: Good. Then your mind is already attuned to my lesson.
[They come to the edge of a high cliff...]
HYTHAM: I will leap first. On my word, you must follow. Lean into your faith, into your strength, and take flight.
EIVOR: You want me to jump. From here.
EIVOR: (smirks) I would sooner grow wings and fly away. Thank you for the lesson, but--
HYTHAM: Wait. And watch. (jumps)
EIVOR: Hytham! Pig-headed fool, are you injured!
HYTHAM: (from below) You see? My faith proved stronger than my fear!
EIVOR: And that loam cushioned your fall!
HYTHAM: (from below) Eivor, I have not seen this side of you before! Do not feed your fear, conquer it!
EIVOR: Hmph. I have seen my death in a vision. It was not here, not today.
[He jumps right into the hay.]
HYTHAM: A perfect fall. And how did it feel?
EIVOR: You spoke true. It was madness and vigor, a purging of fear. A gift I give myself. I see that now. Thank you for showing me the way.
HYTHAM: Of course. And thank you, Eivor... for hearing me out.
EIVOR: You called this Leap of Faith a sacred rite. Do all Hidden Ones practice this same ritual?
HYTHAM: As far as I know. It is a rite of initiation that dates back to just before the birth of the Christian Jesus.
EIVOR: Are you hoping to initiate me?
HYTHAM: I might try if I believed you would join. But that is not my purpose in England. Basim and I are hunting larger prey.
EIVOR: The Order of Ancients.
HYTHAM: Yes. You remember the medallion you took from Kjotve's body? That is their symbol. They are a plague, one we hope to purge from this world. Like us, they act in secret. But their aim is to rule the world, not free it from unnatural fetters.
EIVOR: The desire to rule is not unique to this order. Sigurd and I want the same. A land to call our own and the honor that comes with it.
HYTHAM: Do not compare yourself to such people. The Order has no honor, no principles. No humanity. Yet they sit on a great many of England's thrones. If you seek to pacify England for the safety of your clan...
EIVOR: ...then it may be in my interest to give you aid. I understand.
HYTHAM: You desire alliances. We seek to rid England of its deepening rot. Where these hopes meet, our cause does too. You may think this land ruled by harmless jarls and bumbling thegns, yet took more closely and you will find a deeper threat. The Order's invisible hand touches all. It shapes everything, instilling its poison into every level of society. From the lowliest fishmonger to the richest merchants, from wealthy thegns to useless kings, The Order has corrupted all.
[Eivor and Hytham return to the bureau.]
HYTHAM: Basim has given me one task here. To locate and eliminate The Order of Ancients in England, in whatever dark corners they reside. If we work together towards this end, it will benefit us both. You will have greater influence over the kingdoms of England.
EIVOR: And you will have more medallions to count.
HYTHAM: Exactly. You should begin in Lunden. I have credible reports that The Order is working now to seize the city.
EIVOR: I will speak with Randvi about this.
HYTHAM: And while you are there, be on the lookout for our symbol. Centuries ago, the Hidden Ones had bureaus built around England. There were six, I believe. If you can find them, search them well for documents bearing the same symbol. It will greatly aid my studies.
EIVOR: I will. Thank you, Hytham. For all of this.
Report on Ledecestrescire
[EIVOR sails back to Ravensthorpe and enters the longhouse.]
CEOLBERT: So this is where you devise your plans. A cozy room, well lit and fortified.
RANDVI: I advise. Sigurd and Eivor devise. But yes, it happens right here.
CEOLBERT: My father told me once, that all a good army needs is bread, water, and an accurate map.
RANDVI: Axes and shields are useful as well. But I think your father is on to something.
CEOLBERT: Yes, he was simplifying of course. You’d need clothes and rest as well...and good company, of course.
RANDVI: Not as pithy when you say it like that.
EIVOR: Ah, glad to see you’ve made it, Ceolbert.
CEOLBERT: Thanks to Sigurd. He was a good guide and even better company. He told me some incredible stories. The best ones were about you.
EIVOR: Hopefully nothing too embarrassing.
CEOLBERT: There were a few gems.
RANDVI: Not to interrupt, Eivor, but what of Ledecestrescire?
EIVOR: The alliance is won. The Sons of Ragnar are friends to our clan.
RANDVI: Glad to hear it. Well done to you both.
[Pledge complete: Ledecestrescire.]
The Thousand Eyes
RANDVI: Eivor, a word of note...Someone has set up shop outside. A trader, I believe. When you can, ask him his business here. He seems to represent a larger guild. The Child’s Eyes. Or the Eyeless Children?
EIVOR: Eyeless children?
RANDVI: No, that cannot be right. Ask him yourself.
CEOLBERT: (to RANDVI) You have not been long in England, have you? I see by this map, you have barely scratched Mercia.
RANDVI: Give it time, little lord.
CEOLBERT: Wessex untouched. Northumbria, barren. You still have much to see.
RANDVI: Yes. It is a work in progress.
[EIVOR heads outside to a small tent where two merchants have set up shop.]
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Good day! A new customer!
EIVOR: Whether I am or not, I am the one you will speak with. Randvi tells me you are...merchants?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Ah! Hello, hello. Are you the leader of this bustling encampment?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: We come on behalf of the Thousand Eyes. Vendors of uncommon goods and exotic treasures from all corners of the world. If you need it, we have it. If we don’t have it, you don’t need it. Such is our pledge.
EIVOR: I see. And is this child with you?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: Child?
UNKNOWN VOICE: Child?
ANGLO-SAXON MAN: My friend, you look upon the Master of the Thousand Eyes! THe head of our guild! A legend, a hero of the people, and the richest merchant west of the Indus! You look upon...Reda!
EIVOR: He means...you?
REDA: He does, Eivor Wolf-Kissed. It is a pleasure to meet you at last.
EIVOR: You seem...strangely familiar.
REDA: Perhaps we have met in another life. But, most likely, I have a common face.
EIVOR: And what is it I can do for you, or you for me?
REDA: It's quite simple. For a fee, I can connect you to a shadow market that stretches from the dunes of Egypt to the moors of England.
EIVOR: What sort of fee?
REDA: It varies with the item. But there is a small hitch. Through this market, all prices are paid...in opal.
[He pulls out a piece of opal.]
EIVOR: Interesting...what a strange color it has. May I hold it?
REDA: You may hold it and keep it, Eivor. A gift from Reda for your immeasurable hospitality. Now look here! Browse what wares I have to offer.
[EIVOR can’t afford shit.]
REDA: Nothing for now, no matter! My selection changes daily. You will soon find something you like. Now that you are friends with me, you are also a friend of the Thousand Eyes as well!
EIVOR: And what does this mean?
REDA: Observe my outfit, note the scarf I wear. As you travel, you will meet many of my associates, clad in these same vestments. These are my people, my other Eyes. Seek them out for trade or contracts. Oblige them and you will earn a tidy sum. And I might even feel inclined to reward you myself.
EIVOR: An interesting offer.
REDA: Good to hear. Now if you will excuse us, my apprentice has a tent to secure.
EIVOR: You are staying for a while, I suppose?
REDA: O yes, and you needn’t even thank me! We would be honored to call this our home. Good day!
[“The Thousand Eyes” mission synchronized.]
The Great Scattered Army
[EIVOR boards his ship and sails to the camp that RANDVI was talking about. On the way he is entertained as usual by DAG's tales.]
DAG: You may not know this, but Ragnar Lothbrok once asked me to lead his early assault on England myself. This would have been eight, maybe ten years back. It is hard to say. The winters blow into one another like a great white fog. But I remember, as if it were yesterday. Ragnar appeared at my home, unannounced. Naturally, I welcomed him. He had traveled a great distance, only to see me. Sol poured him ale and fed him bread and listened as he talked. He was feeling anxious about his journey. Leading so many men into such a great war, it was a burden he could not handle. It was then, with tears wetting his lids, that he said, "Dag, teach me the art of war. Lead us to England and to victory!" But I shook my head. "Ragnar," I told him "I have two weddings I must attend soon. Were it not for these, surely I would help you." Ragnar bowed his head. "Thank you, Dag," he said. "Though you will not be on my ship, you will be present in spirit. And that is enough."
[EIVOR lands on the shore and explores the nearby ruins.]
EIVOR: Randvi mentioned this place. The last known location of the Summer Army.
[At the top of a dilapidated castle, EIVOR finds a man.]
EIVOR: Hail! What has happened here?
MAGNI: Who is asking?
EIVOR: Eivor of the Raven Clan.
MAGNI: I have heard the name! You helped the Sons of Ragnar overthrow the Mercian King! Well met.
EIVOR: Did you and your men fail to take the village?
MAGNI: No, no, we had it for a time. Was nothing but a cluster of wattle-and-daub huts when we came. We made it lively. Grantebridge was a thriving hub of trade and song under the care of Soma, our jarlskona. But the Saxons took it back. (spits) They appeared within the city, as if rising from the shadows, and drove us out.
EIVOR: What about the city walls? And your guards?
MAGNI: The walls were unbreached, the guards unaware. It was like they burst out of the center of the city itself! Setting aflame everything in their path, shouting some nonsense about an ancient order of warriors. By the time I saw the fires, too many of us were killed or captured. Our jarlskona, Soma, she bellowed a retreat and we took refuge in the ruins. But in the chaos, we were separated. She and the bulk of our forces fled north-east into the swamps. I'd follow if we were fit to. We need her iron fist.
EIVOR: I can find Soma. Be ready when we return.
MAGNI: She'll be deep in the fog of the Fenlands by now. Find her longship. That's your best bet.
[Grantebridgescire Arc Started - Song of Soma. EIVOR returns to his ship.]
DAG: Looks like Ragnarok itself came for Grantebridge.
EIVOR: A great battle raged nearby... hold course. We'll see what else lies within the fog.
[EIVOR and his warriors land on a small island and engage in battle with other Norse. Having been defeated, EIVOR explores his surroundings.]
EIVOR: Soma cannot be far. I should have a look around.
NORSE WARRIOR: Cut us loose. Hurry!
EIVOR: There, a beached longship. Dane markings. This was a fine longship. Fit for a chief. It must belong to Soma.
[He finds SOMA in a camp nearby. She commands her warriors trying to save the wounded.]
SOMA: Take him to the shelter for warmth. Slap some moss on that gash and wrap it well.
NORSE WARRIOR: (moaning)
SOMA: Egil? Egil, look at me. Remember the boars you felled our first day in England? Hold his arms. Nine, large and fat. Fed us for a week. Yeah?
NORSE WARRIOR: Yeah--
[She's fixing his broken leg.]
NORSE WARRIOR: (howl)
SOMA: You'll be chasing more in a month, my friend. (to EIVOR) You come like a Valkyrie out of the fog. But we have no dead to give you.
EIVOR: You must be Soma.
SOMA: Let's talk elsewhere. Give them a chance to rest.
EIVOR: Quite a hit you took. How many were lost?
SOMA: It's kind of you to ask, but with so much blood in the water and death on the air, I'd know your name and purpose first.
EIVOR: Eivor of the Raven Clan. I came for you, looking for a friend and ally,
SOMA: I see. I'm Soma, Lord of Grantebridge. Though it seems an order of lunatics wishes to strip me of that title.
EIVOR: The Order of the Ancients?
SOMA: Sounds right. The Saxon called Wigmund is one of them. He robbed me of my city, forced us into these swamps. I've rallied some of my soldiers, but my three advisors are missing. If we hope to retake Grantebridge, I'll need them at my side.
EIVOR: Tell me about them.
SOMA: They are my best, my inner circle: Birna, Galinn, Lil. We may as well be of the same blood.
EIVOR: If I can reunite them, and we retake your city, can I call you a friend and ally?
SOMA: If you can do all that, you can call me whatever you want.
EIVOR: Who is this Wigmund? And what does he want?
SOMA: He's a flailing ealdor man under the old king. A bitter man digging his fingernails into Grantebridge, just to say he can. He's made many attempts to unseat me before. This time, he managed the trick.
EIVOR: What happened to Grantebridge?
SOMA: The ealderman, Wigmund, seized it from us. I'm not sure how he managed, but he will not keep it. Not for long. He has supporters outside the city, but this attack seemed to come from inside the walls. From the heart of Grantebridge.
EIVOR: Let's find your advisors.
SOMA: Agreed. We'll look for signs of their longboats along the river. And if we are swift, we will find them before the wolves do. The fog is more hindrance than hiding place now. Let's light the way back.
[“The Great Scattered Army” mission synchronized.]
Orphans of the Fens
The Stench of Treachery
An Island of Eels
Reporting on Grantebridgescire
Have You Seen This Man?
Breaking the Order
A Wise Friend
The Measure of a Norseman
A Triumphant Return
A Fury from the Sea
Reporting on East Anglia
Carrying the Torch
A Little Problem
Taken For Granted
A Rivalry for the Ages
Walls and Shadows
Firing the Arrow
Bleeding The Leech
Smashing the Compass
Reporting on Lunden