The Goddess had drunk much blood, and the harvest was a good one. Thirty of the Ernaldori who had fled the Battle of Nymie Vale decided to settle in Ormsthane Vale. Gulik the Fat took three as clients, and hosted several additional warriors over the winter.
Korol started to proclaim a love poem to Vigdis, but was overcome by shyness. He spent much time outdoors brooding, and on one such occasion, spotted Orleving horsemen approaching. He raced back to the stead to warn of the attack. The defenders were caught unprepared, and were forced to flee. Intamorl Oddisson killed Utag Jarangsson, and the Orlevings burned down the stead and made off with the cattle.
Varmand proposed a bold plan: rather than wait for Malan to attack with his fyrd, he would raid Malan's allied clans, and force Malan out to defend them. He proposed to attack just after the Sacred Time rituals.
Korol asked Vigdis Guliksdaughter to marry him, and she agreed.
Varmand mustered his fyrd and set out for the Arfritha Vale, where the Tree Brothers clan (who had killed his father) lived. Mad-Blood Malan was there on circuit, and hastily set up a defense, though Varmand had chosen the high ground.
Before the battle began, Fistivos Guliksson stepped forward to challenge the Malani, and fought and wounded a mounted thane. Fistivos was only saved by his Shield of Arran.
The battle raged until darkness fell. Baranthos Guliksson fought well, killing a huscarl and a thane. As Varmand's herald, Korol negotiated an exchange of prisoners and a year's truce. Both sides had suffered heavy losses. The Varmandi lost 13 dead, and 52 had serious wounds. Only two of Varmand's huscarls remained fit, and Varmand himself was wounded.
Vigdis gave birth to Korol's son.
One of Jarstakos's clients was killed; the murderer never came to light.
Part 3 | Part 5
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