30. An Appeal to the Mohican Sachems

         The session begins by picking up on the actions of Kjartan. While aiding with the harvest at Brygjafael, he had spoken to his grandmother Aud and agreed to a marriage with Thjohild Ketilsdaughter of Groenholt. Later, they work out the arrangements and Kjartan requests to go ask Vigfus himself.

         Kjartan arrives at Groenholt and is greeted warmly by Vigfus. After accepting Vigfus' hospitality, he tells Vigfus of his purpose. Vigfus seems to approve, and consults with her father Ketil the Stout, who also approves in his loud and jolly manner. Ketil brings Kjartan to Thjohild to ask her, but when faced with her Kjartan is rather tongue-tied. Her first reaction is to say that she would be happy to get out of the rat race of being one of eight granddaughters of a rich man. Kjartan tells her that he has thought about marriage and the things needed for a good one are a sense of humor, intelligence, and tolerance, and so he thought of her. She says she's surprised and had expected more honey tongued words, but appreciated the sincerity. They leave it at that. Some of the other granddaughters seem a bit miffed; Thjohild is not the most beautiful or the oldest or best connected. Hallgerd, her older sister, who is very beautiful, is clearly not bothered at all. Kjartan suspects her of having great ambitions, but can't imagine what they are.

         While Kjartan is away at Groenholt, Rowtag's brother Togquos and his men return from Raudarbank accompanied by five men from there. They are lead by Melnir, the elder of the two commanders from last year's expedition. He is accompanied by four huscarls, including a Lagakin huscarl who is introduced as Thorbrand.

         Meanwhile, at Grimholt, Skallagrim has been fretting about the decision which will be made by Vigfus. Fed up with this, his new wife Borgny shoos him out of the house, telling him to go speak for Rowtag, to make sure to enunciate clearly, and to bring back good presents. He goes to Brygjafael where Togquos and Melnir are preparing to leave. He quietly suggests that they would make a more impressive entrance if they took one of Brygjafael's two longships instead of going by canoe. Pouls accepts this and brings along one huscarl to help man it in a fitting manner.

         The longship leaves with Poul, Kjartan, and the huscarl Amundi along with Melnir and his four men. They stop at Syfjaourholur to pick up Thorgerd and Arnor. Then, at Togquos' request, they stop at Tjaraholt and pick up Silksif. Kjartan awkwardly tells Silksif that he is engaged, to which she responds: "I know already -- did you think I wouldn't? Congratulations on your upcoming marriage to Thjohild Ketilsdottir." Kjartan is creeped out by this, and comments "News travels fast." Silksif replies "Faster than you'll ever know." Kjartan then appeals to her, saying "I just want you to know it's not that I don't have feelings for you..." But Silksif interrupts, "That's fine. With Poul's marriage to Alfdis, you're no longer necessary to me." Kjartan walks away confused and disturbed.

         While en route, the men talk about their plans for what to do. Skallagrim talks a lot with Thorbrand, Melnir's christianized Lagakin huscarl. He explains that his birth name was Pajackok, but after being a thrall since a raid at age 12, he earned his freedom and was christened Thorbrand. Skalagrim emphasizes the things they have in common -- being exiles and huscarls -- and tells Thorbrand that he has advanced through his military might and is now a landowner. Thorbrand seems encouraged.

         Melnir starts a very frank secret discussion of what we will do and say and why. He is clearly set on supporting Rowtag to become Grand Sachem, over Abooksigun's favored son Achak -- the skilled diplomat and youngest. His view is that the Vinlanders want the Mohican's as a buffer state against the Redaxes. Not choosing Rowtag will at worst lead to the tribe splitting up, and at best give a leader who is less warlike and effectual as a buffer.

         Others offer their views.

         On the second night, when they have entered Mohican territory but not yet reached the stronghold, Silksif enters into dreams to prophecy. She speaks in turn with Turtle (the totem spirit of Abooksigun's and Achak's clan), Wolf (the totem spirit of Rowtag's clan), and Bear (a lesser clan spirit with whom she had contact with before). The Turtle expressed the view that the Wolf's view was short-sighted, and looked after the short-term interests of its own rather than tending to the environment -- he describes chasing its quarry into a wasteland. The Wolf prophecies that if Rowtag is not chosen, then the Pequot as a tribe will be strong in a time when the Mohicans are only a memory. The Bear suggests that succession is not the most important issue, though her wisdom in backing Rowtag is sound. He suggests that there are dark spirits, related to the horned serpents, which are influencing events -- in particular in Rowtag's clan, though Rowtag himself shows no taint yet.

         Upon arriving at the Mohican stronghold, they are soon greeted by Rowtag, who is happy to see them. He greets them and offers them his hospitality as sachem. They make a point to wander about, though, and collect rumors from among many people. It appears that the split is roughly along clan lines, with Rowtag's clan supporting him, Achak's clan supporting him, and others undecided. They also talk to Achak himself, in particular to find out if he would reject a subordinate position of power if Rowtag was made grand sachem. He emphasizes that he does not think that war is neccessary. He did, however, seem to be willing to work within the system if Rowtag was chosen as grand sachem.

         Over the two days waiting for their audience with the council of sachems, Rowtag's reputation seems to grow from the respect shown to him by the Vinlanders [1]. On the evening of the second day, they are granted their audience with the council of sachems. The sachems are all generally older men (over 40) -- Rowtag and Achak are unusually young for the position. First Kjartan, then Skallagrim, then Poul each make an appeal to the council. They lay out the arguments they discussed earlier.

         However, at the end of their appeals, the council seems negative. Upon reflection later, it seems that the sachems may have viewed the Vinlanders' appeals as unwarranted intrusion by outsiders into Mohican affairs. By chance, however, the council is interrupted by a messenger coming in. The council breaks their audience without explanation, but the Vinlanders quickly learn that Redaxes have attacked a Mohican settlement[2].

         There is quickly a flurry of action as preparations are made to assemble a force to respond to the attack come morning. At the quarters for the guests, Silksif is waiting -- keeping her agreement with Togquos not to speak to the council, but perhaps not feeling pleased about it. Kjartan arrives, returning from the council audience as preparations for war are beginning. Without explanation, the two are soon locked in passionate embrace[2].

  1. The result of a "Popular Recognition" Wyrd card played by Bill
  2. The result of a "Inopportune Arrival" card played by Bill
  3. The result of a "Sudden Reversion" card played by Heather

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Wed Oct 8 13:43:53 2003