The Saga of the People of Hrútafjörður

Session 4 - First Spring

Sons of Hegg, Ottar's Gift, Missing Slave

The winter had been good to Thorolf Bjornsson. Skum Heggsson paid Thorolf to help build the new farm, and with this silver Thorolf had finished his smithy, so he could forge metal for the people of the Hrútafjörður.

Skum paid Thorolf to make him a good ax, but with only a little metal collected from the bog, Thorolf, new to smithing, could not make the ax. So Thorolf took Jornunn Thorolfsson out into the bog to collect more iron. Once in the bog, where the fog was thick, they saw a group of men coming from the distance. Worried that these may be vikings, Thorolf told Jornunn to run home and warn Beara Nightwolf. Thorolf ran towards the sink hole, and the men followed him, shouting.

When Thorolf reached the sink hole, one of the men chased him, but sank into the bog. He cried out for help, and the other men circled the hole, not wanting to be sucked down. Seeing their swords in their sheathes, Thorolf thought to save this man, and threw him a rope and pulled him free. This man was named Koll Heggsson, and he was the brother of Skum Heggsson, Thorolf’s neighbor. Koll sword a blood debt to Thorolf, as Thorolf had saved him from the bog, and all those present knew this to be right, for a man who saves another’s life is owed a great debt.

Koll and his brothers Hrafn Heggsson and Sigurd Heggsson, along with three slaves, had just come to Iceland from Norway. They were looking for their brother’s farm when they became lost in the bog, and they understood why Thorolf ran, for there were vikings about. Thorolf invited the men to his longhouse for a meal, as it is right to be hospitable to travelers.

At his longhouse Thorolf had a great meal for his guests, and all were happy. As the sons of Hegg left for their brother’s longhouse, they all swore a great friendship with Thorolf, who had save Koll and treated them well.

On her lands, Thurid Vailisdottir was tending to a garden, as her brother Orm Vailisson was dead and his slaves were gone. Thurid did not know how to farm, as that was men’s work. Upon the road came Ottar Hrafnsson and his huscarl Arinbjorn the Ironarm. Ottar was a wealthy and influential farmer who lived close to Orm, and they had traded grains and were friends.

Ottar came and gave sympathy to Thurid, for her brother had died in a fire. Ottar was sorry that he had not come during the winter, but his wife had died and he was in mourning. He knew that Thurid was a great hunter, and as a gift he brought a falcon. This bird was from Miklagarðr, the great city of Constantinople, and had come to Ottar in trade. Thurid did not know how to hunt with the falcon, and Ottar said he would show her, while Arinbjorn watched her lands.

In the forests, Ottar spoke plainly with Thurid, that she, even as a shield maiden, would not be safe on her lands without a husband to protect her. As their lands were close, if he wed her, they would have a great holding and could become prosperous. He would treat her well, as she deservied. Thurid thanked Ottar for his honesty, but she would not wed him. She offered that Moeid Nirnsdottir and Volgard were both widows with land.

Ottar said that this was true, but he did not know the family of Nirn. He said that he would hold a great feast, and that all the people of the Hrútafjörður would come. There Thurid could introduce Ottar to Moeid or Volgard. Thurid agreed, for then Ottar would not pursue her. Coming back from the hunt, Ottar said that Arinbjorn, his huscarl, was a better man than any, and had eyes for Thurid. Thurid said that the Shattershields were a family with a long history, and only a man who could best her in combat would be worthy of her. So Ottar proposed that Thurid and Arinbjorn, who was known as Ironarm, would duel at the dinner, and all would be entertained. Thurid agreed, for she wished to duel the man.

Moeid, who’s husband Ulf Heggsson had died in the first winter, was not able to keep up the house well without a husband. Her scissors were missing, and her clothes had become shabby. One morning her slave, Hoef, who was a Celt, ran off. Moeid went to see Grim the Black to ask for help, and she enticed him with her feminine ways. Grim, though, saw Moeid as a child, and did not want her as a woman. He grew angry with her, for she kept asking things of him. Moeid left, for Grim told her to seek out her brother for aid.

Heimsgir Nirnsson had not seen his mother since the night of the fire, many months ago. As he tended the hof and praised the gods, his sister, Moeid, came to him, asking for help to find her slave. Heimsgir agreed, and while he searched for many days, he did not find the slave. Any who had seen him search would have said that his try was honorable.

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