28. The Death of Bront the Strong

         The session begins with the aftermath of Poul's demand in front of the barrow that they swear an oath upon his sword of not having moved Killer-Gest's body. After the sword burns Brom, Bront accusing Poul of Bront quickly accuses Poul of witchcraft, which Poul denies and begins to explain. In the meantime, Brom is slowly backing away, and then suddenly turns and runs.

         Skallagrim is quick to run after him as he attempts to escape. Silksif follows. Poul also tries to run after him, but he is blocked by Bront, who says that what his son does is none of Poul's business. Poul lets slip that the death of a family member is involved here, but Bront does not understand.

         Skallagrim eventually catches up to Brom and tackles him. Brom punches him in the leg, and his grip slips and he falls to the ground. Brom then tries to kick him on the ground, but he misses catastrophically and lands hard enough to knock the wind out of him. Skallagrim then pins him with Silksif's help. Bront then walks over to Brom and then demands that he come along, implying him that he would get his beating later. Brom wordlessly agrees to come along.

         As they prepare to leave, Silksif tells Bront that she thinks that he should return the sword and helm of Killer-Gest back into the grave. Bront retorts angrily that he will do nothing of the sort. [Greed card] Fed up, Silksif tells him "Very well, but it will be on your head!" Bront laughs and agrees, putting the helm on his own head as he walks off. Along the walk back, Kjartan finds a chance to speak with Brom, and advises him to go off to find his fortunes, noting that there was call for powerful warriors in many halls beyond Tjaraholt.

         As they near the house, Silksif suddenly realizes that Bront has been acting oddly ever since he put on that helmet. She holds the others back as they went inside, and informs them that she believes that Bront may be influenced by some evil spirit, perhaps Killer-Gest himself.

         When they enter the house, Bront walks up to his father Ivar's seat at the head of the household and sits down in it. Ivar is speechless for a moment, and then demands to know what Bront is doing. Bront responds that it has been a "long time" since he had been there, and was trying it on for size. Silksif tells Bront that he should take the helmet off. Bront is disturbed by this and walks up to Silksif. He says that what he enjoys wearing the helm, and that further he thinks that her necklace would look good with it. He is still holding Killer-Gest's sword, and looks at her threateningly.

         At this, Poul says pointedly "It looks like Bront the Strong goes a-viking in his own home." Things quickly escalate, and Bront then attacks Poul for his audacity. After the first exchange of blows, there is a brief pause. Skallagrim demands that Ivar stop this, but a huscarl and Brom are standing beside Ivar -- and he says that blood is thicker than water. The pause is broken when Thorgerd says "Let's get on with it and just fight him!" Bront/Gest then asks, "Is that a challenge?" Thorgerd replies "I killed you once already, I'll do it again." At this, Bront says "One good turn deserves another" and the fight is rejoined as Thorgerd rushes to join Bront in battle, with her husband Arnor at her side.

         At this, Bront hits Pouls gravely in the leg. Poul falls to the floot, but as he falls he wounds Bront in the leg as well. Kjartan, Thorgerd, and Arnor then all three join in the fight with Bront. Poul then quietly crawls on the bench behind them towards Ivar. Bront fights vigorously despite his wounded leg. Bront wounds Thorgerd in the abdomen.

         In the meantime, Skallagrim fights two huscarls who are defending Ivar. He chops off the head of one. The other one attacks Thorgerd, who turns around to defend herself. Skallagrim strikes the other huscarl in the leg, and Thorgerd finishes him off. Meanwhile, the third huscarl has moved to help Bront, but Lofthaena delays him and Harkel grapples him into submission.

         Meanwhile, Bront withstands his attackers bravely when Silksif runs and throws her cloak over Bront's head. He is blinded for a time, and then his wounded leg is crippled by Arnor. Bront falls to sitting on the house bench, and blindly swings his sword behind him, gravely wounding his cousin Silksif. Kjartan is enraged at this point, and nearly chops off Bront's remaining leg, at which point he falls upon the floor.

         At this point, Skallagrim again calls for Ivar to stop this. Ivar refuses and calls upon Brom to defend him. Brom, however, simply backs away from his grandfather Ivar. Skallagrim charges and wounds Ivar in the abdomen with his axe. Meanwhile, Kjartan attempts to finish off Bront, but his sword catches on the wooden bench -- and his sword also blocks Thorgerd's blow. Brom then pushed his way into the fray and stabbed his own father Bront in the belly with his sword. Thorgerd shouts in triumph at this, but Bront looks at her and says with calm dignity, "I'll see you later." After this, however, he thrashes and the helmet rolls from his head. He then looks with horror into the eyes of his son, still holding the sword which impaled him.

         At this point, the wounded Poul reaches Ivar from behind and holds his sword to Ivar, demanding that he cease. Ivar, bent over from his wound from Skallagrim's axe, concedes.

         The results of the fight were many. The Tjaraholters were clearly devastated, with Bront killed by his own son, two huscarls killed and the patriarch Ivar wounded. Skallagrim and Thorgerd would both have to pay significant weregelds. Brom was still regarded civilly by his mother Sigrid, but intends to exile himself for his crime of patricide. However, Silksif got him to promise that he would show them where he buried Killer-Gest's body. Also, while Kjartan was enraged by Silksif's wounding by Bront/Gest, he also noticed the glee with which she greeted the death of Bront. Afterwards, he feels that she manipulated the situation so that it's inevitable that her unpleasant relatives will be dealt with one way or another. Indeed she merits the name Silksif the Cunning.

         Lastly, Poul realizes that Alfdis is rather attractive, as well as being the likely heir of the bulk of Ivar's fortune rather than the Brom. Poul along with his nephew Kjartan had helped Alfdis with her divorce at the Althing of the previous year. Her ex-husband, Steingest the Handsome had slapped her in the Tjaraholt booth just as Poul and Kjartan were arriving, and they testified to this at the trial.

         On the spot, Kjartan suggests to Ivar that they decide on how to settle this. Kjartan suggests to Ivar that Tosti the Golden of Syfjaourholur arbitrate any settlement. Skallagrim suggests Vigfus the Proud as an alternate. Ivar chooses Tosti, however, who was the mediator who chose the weregeld for Gest's killing -- in which he set the price high. However in this case it is odd because Thorgerd and Arnor were attacked by Bront and they are part of Tosti's household. The fact that Ivar accepted Tosti as mediator could reflect Ivar's blind greed, but to the public it would be seen as a high compliment -- a trusting of Tosti's ability to judge fairly even when his own family is involved. Ivar also agrees to Vigfus as a mediator for Skallagrim. He attempts to require that the helm and sword not be mentioned to Vigfus, but Skallagrim refuses -- saying mockingly that he will do so only if the weregeld is one chicken.

         The next day, Kjartan, Poul, and Skallagrim returned to Tjaraholt to meet with Silksif and Brom. The two cousins met them outside, so that they would not again intrude upon Ivar. Brom showed the group where he had buried Gest's body in the forest nearby the grave-mound. It was buried beside an old twisted tree as the marker. Chillingly, they find the head of a Lagakin man in the hollow of the tree beside the makeshift grave. Brom doesn't know anything about this head. Gest's body, horribly, is undecayed. The horse refuses to carry or pull Gest's body. Indeed, it seems unusually exhausting for the men as well to carry it. However, we rebury it in the original grave with the cursed helm and sword.

         Kjartan realizes and discusses with Poul that no one is going to really press charges against Brom for anything, if Ivar doesn't do it. Remorse or no, he may have just gotten away with killing his uncle and father, as far as Viking law is concerned.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Mon Feb 3 23:14:55 2003