5. The Death of Killer-Gest

     Within a few days of returning from the Thing, Thorfinn is set upon wreaking his revenge upon Killer-Gest for the false (?) accusations Gest made against his father and mother. They also know that the Tappans plan a similar attack. Seven men (including Thorfinn, Kjartan, Poul, and Ogmund along with two huscarls and the Lagakin Kitgari) set out from Brygjafael on this task.

     They visit the homestead of Groenholt on Manhattan island and dine with its patriarch Vigfus the Proud. Over dinner, they ask him for aid in the slaying of Killer-Gest. He sends his youngest son Ketil the Stout along with two house-carls, Eyolf and Vikar.

     The band land their boat in the late afternoon well south of Tjaraholt and approach the place on foot. During dinner, the buowin Kitgari goes into a trance. In the spirit world, he asked his wolf totem to search out a local to query the local spirits about the whereabouts of Killer-Gest. In a trance later that evening, the wolf returns to him harrying a huge black stallion. The stallion demands to know why he has been summoned, and lets slip the location of Killer-Gest -- but he also knows.

     The next day the band are gathered to ambush Gest as he returns from a local Lagakin village. He is riding his own black stallion while leading two others. Thorfinn and the huscarl Eyolf slip behind him as he approaches the village along the lakeshore. The others then rush out and fan out to hedge him in front. Gest turns and runs back towards Thorfinn and Eyolf as arrows fly in. His horse is disabled but he transfers to a second one. In a mounted clash of arms, Gest disables Eyolf's horse but both he and his horse are wounded.

     A chase then begins with Thorfinn in the lead. A brief clash with Gest wounds Gest but Thorfinn's shield is cleaved in a single blow and he is driven back. The band pair up as they try to catch him. Kjartan and the Lagakin Kitgari are the first to find him as he is leading his horse down a narrow streambed. An arrow from Kitgari and a rush from Kjartan both deliver grave blows to Gest. However, as he goes down he cuts the throat of his own horse and utters some unintelligible words. When Kjartan closes to finish him, he is surprised when Gest springs up as though fresh and is knocked down.

     Pinning Kjartan to the ground, Gest then holds a sword to his throat and threatens the others to back off. A fierce negotiation then ensues, which is resolved when Thorfinn agrees to fight Gest in single combat. Gest, still bloody from his wounds, releases Kjartan and immediately rushes at Thorfinn. Thorfinn is pressed back over a few clashes, but then Gest's shield comes loose and a slash from Thorfinn cuts its strap. Gest becomes enraged and rushes him when a lucky blow from Thorfinn beheads him.

     The band then cover up his body, but take his head back as proof to the Tappans. They find the Tappans besieging Tjaraholt, but placate them by offering them the head of Killer-Gest, which they take with them back to their village across the river.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Thu Jun 27 22:32:48 2002