29. The Settlement of the Feud

         As we begin, Tosti the Golden and Vigfus the Proud are conspiring together over the fight which they have been chosen to arbitrate. They view this as a continuing and escalating feud between Brygjafael and Tjaraholt, which started with the beheading of Killer-Gest. Over two weeks, they visit each other twice as well as sending people to consult with Aud the Deep-Minded (matriarch of Brygjafael) and Ivar the Black (patriarch of Tjaraholt).

         Meanwhile, the families are mostly trying to keep their people out of trouble. Kjartan and Poul are both recuperating from their leg wounds. Kjartan is largely recovered in a week, but Aud makes sure to keep him well away from Tjaraholt, not only because of the violent clash but also because she wants to keep him away from Silksif. After his leg is healed, he goes off to help the autumn cattle drive. Poul's wound is more serious, and is still bothering him two weeks later.

         At Tjaraholt, Silksif is recovering from her own leg wound. She spends much of her time spying on her lover Kjartan, magically going forth in the form of a raven with human eyes. At Grimholt, Skallagrim and his brother Eldgrim are hard at work on their meager harvest. Their land is promising but it was ill-tended this year, they will need more men to work it for a decent crop next year.

         While Poul is recuperating, Aud has much time to chat with him over the recent events. She conveys to him the essence of Tosti's thinking, which is that the feud seems to have gone deep enough that weregeld may not suffice. She mentions to Poul the idea that in addition to the settlement, marriage might be a better strategy to end the violence. Poul assumes that she is talking about Kjartan and Silksif, and conveys his approval of the idea to Aud.

         A little over two weeks after the death of Bront, Vigfus and Tosti come to Brygjafael for a meeting. They sit with Aud, Poul, and Kjartan to deliver their judgement. Tosti begins with a speech that the important result is an end to the violence, and that any transactions are a means to that end. He then announces the betrothal of Poul Audsson with Alfdis Fine-hair of Tjaraholt, which Aud confirms. Poul is shocked to realize what his mother was talking about, and feels manipulated but not neccessarily upset over the event itself. They then fall into discussion of the monetary arrangements, which take some time but are fairly ordinary.

         The negotiations are interrupted by the arrival of visitors: three canoes bearing nine warriors from the Mohican tribe. Their leader is Togquos, the brother of Rowtag -- the charismatic war chief whom Poul had allied with the year before. Poul invites him in, where he expresses the news (already known by rumor) of the death of grand sachem Abooksigun. In short, he asks them to appeal to the council of sachems to choose Rowtag as the next grand sachem. He feels that choosing Abooksigun's favored son Achak would likely tear the tribe in two, since Rowtag's followers (the Destroyers, or Pequot) would not accept him as their chief. As he mentions civil war, suddenly Poul's son Maushop notices a strange raven sitting in the window overlooking them, which cries and flies off. (This is Silksif in her bird form.) This is taken by all to be an ill omen.

         The same day, Vigfus and Tosti then come to Grimholt to speak with Skallagrim. Vigfus takes the lead here, and begins to lecture Skallagrim on the importance of peace-making. Skallagrim argues with Vigfus, pointing to the insanity of Bront as the sole cause, and that his crime is only in fighting well. Vigfus retorts back that the rule of law depends on dissuading the powerful warriors from using their power for gain. This quickly degenerates. Borgny then jumps in, pointedly telling Vigfus that if this were a rich, smooth-talking godi friend that he would be quick to pat him on the back and slip him a few coins with the other hand. Vigfus is naturally outraged, and retorts that they had better get used to sleeping on hard floors. He still stays as a guest, but little is said for a while.

         Some time the next day, Aud goes outside to discuss things privately with her grandson Kjartan. "I am not yet so old to have forgotten what it was like to be young," she says, "and I realize the attraction of women who are quick to show their affection." (a pointed and unflattering reference to Silksif). "However, I hope you see that the important part of a marriage is the relation between the families involved." She and Kjartan go on to discuss the daughters of Vigfus the Proud. Kjartan indicates that he has at least considered it seriously, and brings up Ketil's daughter Thjohild as well as Borgny's daughter Vagnhild. Aud points out that she has heard news that Vagnhild would be a poor match (i.e. monetarily after Vigfus' judgement), and also that two artistic temperaments would likely clash. She expresses approval at Thjohild, however. Unnoticed by both of them, a raven with green eyes watches this.

         Back at the main house of Brygjafael, Poul agrees to speak in support of Rowtag. Togquos then goes to speak with other houses. At Tjaraholt, he speaks with Harkel and Silksif. He subtlely insults Silksif in his comments, saying that he does not want her to speak. Like many Lagakin, he feels that magic and leadership are a male domain. When he senses his mistake from both Silksif and her brother Harkel, Togquos tempers this by saying that while he would not want her to speak, he does value her gifted insight and would welcome her observations.

         He then visits Syfjaourholur and Grimholt as well. Tosti expresses no commitment, but (aided by a nudge from Thorgerd) Arnor expresses his interest -- noting that Rowtag's forces helped save both he and Thorgerd from being eaten as Redaxe captives. At Grimholt, Skallagrim does not commit to anything, and Togquos leaves the next morning to visit Raudarbank. Later, however, Skallagrim reflects with his wife Borgny that their small harvest is now all but done -- and that Rowtag might reward any aid given.

         We end with Togquos returning from Raudarbank and joining with the various individuals who have agreed to speak for Rowtag.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Mon Feb 10 23:42:38 2003