And so the men of the Hrútafjörður set forth on the tides to go a viking. They were led by Heimsgir Nirnsson, the wisest of the fjord and their goði. Next was Thorolf Bjornsson, who had healed from his wounds and was stronger than all the men of the fjord, and with his missing ear, was a terrifying sign for enemies to look upon. Also there was Ottar Hrafnsson, who had taken up Arinbjorn the Ironarm‘s daneaxe. Next was Skum Heggsson, the farmer, looking to return to his lands with plunder so he could survive the coming winter. With him was his brother Koll Heggsson, levelheaded, experienced in raiding, and the blood-brother of Thorolf. Finally there were Hrafn Heggsson, the quietest of brothers, and Sigurd Heggsson, who’s blood boiled for adventure and the seas.
With them came Thurid Vailisdottir, the shieldmaden of the Shattersword clan, who had fought Sigurd in a duel to accompany the men on their raiding. Though she was a woman, she was the most skilled warrior of them all. And though her sword had been shattered, she was skilled with her bow, and could take a man in the eye from 200 paces.
With the morning tide the vikings set forth into the harsh seas of north Europe. In their small longship they traveled south, with Sigurd navigating by sun and stars, and their course was true, for they reached the shores of Ireland in nine days. All made the voyage well but Heimsgir, who, not used to the sea, was struck by the sickness of the waves, and could barely eat.
With the morning sun they saw land. The rolling green hills of Ireland, the land of the Celts. They took shelter in a cove and made land, eating and resting from their hard voyage. Koll came to Heimsgir and spoke, “Heimsgir, there are no towns here. You are the one to lead us. Where would you have us go?” And Heimsgir, weak from the journey and untrained in the ways of raids asked Koll for his advise, as he was levelheaded, and had viked these shores before.
“Ah, Heimsgir, I would take our longship and sail along the coast. There should be towns for us to raid, and the towns on the coast will be rich with trade and fat for the taking.”
And so the raiders of Hrútafjörður took to the coast, and under the high sun saw a town in the distance, and heard bells from a high tower. Thorolf made his ideas known, “if we wait until the sun has set behind the hills, it will be dark, and we can come upon this town in secret, and they will not know that we have come for them until it is too late.” And all agreed that this was a good plan, so they waited until dusk, and then rowed into the port.
On a pier stood a man, and seeing the longship approach he called out, “Dia duit strainséirí, tá tú anseo chun trádáil,” but the Icelanders did not speak the tongue of the Celts, and it sounded like gibberish to them. Thurid stood, her wolf head cloak hiding her face, and struck down the man with an arrow to the throat. He fell in to the water with a splash, but the town was silent. The raiders tied the longship to the pier, and saw other, larger ships abound, but none were worthy of sailing the open seas, for they were trading ships for the coasts.
Thurid and Sigurd went off into the night to make a distraction, while most of the men set off towards the large stone tower deep in the town, for that is where an Icelander would hide his plunder if he had such a fortress. Thurid shot many men with her bow, and gathered up some straw to set it ablaze, and fired red arrows across the town. Soon there was shouting across the village, and people ran about yelling, “dóiteáin! Faigh uisce!”
Thurid hid in an alley and shot at those who passed, and killed a young boy. The boy’s father, seeing his son’s murder, charged Thurid with a knife, and cleaved the maiden’s shield in two, but Thurid put her shattered sword deep in his gut. She and Sigurd set out plundering the houses nearby, and all the acts that came with their viking.
Across the town, Heimsgir, Thorolf, Ottar, Skum, Koll, and Hrafn reached a stone wall surrounding the strange fortress. Ottar began swinging his daneaxe, but the thick wooden door held fast. Heimsgir saw that the wall was not so high, and he was not laden with armor. He climbed the rough hewed stone and lifted the heavy wooden bar from the door, which only two men would have been able to lift.
The men kicked down the door to the fortress, but found no warriors, only small men in robes, the tops of their heads shorn, and with no beards. These monks shouted at the sight of the Icelanders and fled to the other doors. Heimsgir, seeing the sign of the White Christ on the wall, knew that these were priests of the false god who had been taken up by his mother, Volgard Leifurdottir, and went into a rage. He fell upon the backs of the monks, slashing and stabbing, felling many of the coward followers of Christ, until a young monk struck him on the head with a heavy stone, and Heimsgir fell to the ground.
Seeing his goði fall, Thorolf skewered the murderous monk upon his sword, and the other men fell upon the monks, and killed all who had not escaped, until the floor was slick with the blood of Celts. The Icelanders took all the silver in the monastery, but left the books, for they had no worth. Thorolf took Heimsgir up into his arms and they made for the longship.
All having returned to the ship, the raiders of the fjord set off, for the many Celts were putting out the fire and were fighting the small party of raiders. Heimsgir lay on the boat, looking up at the new moon, and knew he was dying. Thurid said that Heimsgir would be fine, and kissed him, for she had always loved the son of Nirn, but he died in her arms.
Heimsgir saw wings come form Thurid’s back, and the valkyrie took him up the sky, and he saw the great hall of Asgard, and he was content with his death.
With their goði dead, and their small ship filled with silver, the men rowed back to Iceland. When they returned, all in the fjord came to the beach to see the raiders return with sacks of plunder, and Moeid Nirnsdottir stood with her mother Volgard, waiting for Heimsgir. Thorolf came with a body wrapped in cloth in his arms, and Thurid and Ottar stood beside him. Her head was covered by her wolf cloak, so that she looked like a beast. Moeid said, “Thorolf, I see that you have returned with great plunder, but where is my brother, who led you on this most successful raid.”
And Thorolf spake, “Heimsgir is dead.”
Ottar proclaimed, “your brother fell in glorious battle, in the best tradition of Thor. He fought dozens of Celtic warriors, and fell only when a coward stabbed him in the back!” But Volgard could not hear Ottar, for she wept the tears of a mother who has lived past her son. Volgard pushed aside the cloth to see her son’s face, and with her thumb marked the sign of the cross on his brow.
With a flurry of movement Thurid burst forth from her cloak, spear in hand, and stabbed Volgard in the throat. A shower of blood sprayed forth, and Moeid jumped back, while Thorolf stood in shock. Volgard slumped to the ground, and the life went out of her eyes. Skum and Koll came running, and brought Thurid to the ground and held her there, but she did not fight back, and you could see tears running down her face.
“What have you done mad woman!” shouted Ottar. “I was to ask Volgard to wed me, and my plunder was to be a dowry. You are a maniac, and you have killed my love for no reason!”
Thurid, whose voice was tight with sorrow and fury, replied, “Volgard made the sign of the White Christ on her son. She desecrated the body of Heimsgir, our goði. It is no crime to kill a Christian.”
Ottar choked on his outrage. “You are a murderer still, and all here saw you strike a woman down. I declare that you should be tried before a Thing, and be made a full outlaw, banished from Iceland for all time.”
Thurid agreed, “I would leave these lands, but who then would keep Hrútafjörður free from the Christians?”
Ottar declared, "if you left our island, I would defend the old gods from the Christians, for that is the obligation of the goði, as Heimsgir did. I am wise and just, and I shall be goði now and protect our lands.
With this Thorolf scoffed, “you would be a most terrible goði, Ottar. You are nothing but a rich farmer. You have no wisdom, and could not protect us from any Christians.”
“You dishonor me Thorolf, son of Bjorn,” proclaimed Ottar, “and in three days hence, when we have recovered from our arduous journey on the sea, I will duel you, to prove I am the man to be goði.”
“Duel me now,” retorted Thorolf, “or are you a coward who needs rest?” And with this Ottar drew his daneaxe and charged Thorolf, but Thorolf, who was young and strong as a horse, blocked the blow and cut deep into Ottar’s leg. “Give my regards to those in Valhalla.” And Thorolf cut Ottar’s throat.
Skum and Koll had released Thurid, and stood, watching Thorolf. “What of you two, friends and brothers,” questioned Thorolf. “Will you stand with me, and release Thurid?” And Koll spoke, “Thorolf, you are by bloodbrother, and I would follow you to the shores of Hel.” And Skum added, “I never liked Ottar. He was arrogant and would have been a poor goði.”
And so the six survivor of the raid took back much silver to their homes. Moeid took the body of her brother and burred him on her lands. Thurid returned to her land, but stood guard each day at the beach, asking all who came to Hrútafjörður if they followed the old gods or the White Christ, and killing the followers of peace. Sigurd came to her many times, as he wished to make her his wife, but he could not accept her vigil, and married another.
Thorolf returned home, and found his wife giving birth. Thus was a new generation of people, born of Iceland and not of Norway, brought into the land.