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Arnkel Takes Up The Blood-Feud For Vigfus.

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #33

Thereafter went Thorgerd out under Lava, and bade Stir take up the suit for Vigfus his kinsman. He answered: "But I promised Snorri the Priest last spring, when he sat those suits of ours with the Thorgestlings, that I would not go against him with enmity in cases for the taking up of which there were many as nigh of kin as I. Now wert thou best to seek to Vermund my brother for this matter, or other kinsmen of ours."

So then Thorgerd fared out to Bearhaven, and prayed Vermund for aid, and said that the case came most home to him, "because Vigfus was wont to trust in thee the best of all his kin."

Vermund answered: "Now am I bound to lay down some good counsel for thee; yet am I loth to go into these matters instead of other kinsmen of ours, but I shall give thee help both with furtherance and counsel such as I may get done; but first I will that thou fare west to Ere and find Steinthor, Vigfus's kinsman; he is now at ease to fight, and it is now high time for him to try himself in some kind of case."

Thorgerd answered: "Much ye make me do for this suit, but I will not spare my labour if it be to its furtherance."

Thereafter she went west to Ere and found Steinthor, and bade him be leader of the case.

Steinthor answered: "Why dost thou bid me this? I am but a young man, and have had nought to do with the cases of men. But there are kinsmen of Vigfus nearer to him than I am, who are more forward than I withal; neither is it to be anywise hoped that I should take this case from their hands; but I shall not part myself from those of my kin who may have this blood-suit to look to."

No other answer got Thorgerd than this. So she made for home thereafter and then east again along the firths to find Vermund, and told him what things had come to, and said that the whole matter would be thrown over unless he became leader thereof.

Vermund answered: "It is not unlikely that some stir will be made concerning these matters for thy comforting. However, I shall now once more lay down a rede for thee if thou wilt but do thine utmost."

She answered: "Most things would I undergo therefor."

"Now shalt thou go home, and let dig up Vigfus thy husband, and take his head and bring it to Arnkel, and say to him thus, that that head would not have weighed with others the taking up of the blood-suit after him, if need there had been thereof."

Thorgerd said she wotted not where these things were coming to in the end, but she saw well enough that they spared her neither labour nor heartburn. "Yet even this will I undergo," said she, "if thereby the lot of my foes be made heavier than before."

Thereafter she fared home, and went in about this business as she was taught in all wise; and when she came to Lairstead she told Arnkel that the kin of Vigfus would that he should be the leader in taking up the blood-suit for the slaying of Vigfus, and that they all promised their help.

Arnkel said that he had said before whereto his mind was given about the suit.

Therewithal Thorgerd drew from under her cloak the head of Vigfus, and spake: "Here is now a head," said she, "that would not have begged off from taking up the suit for thee, if there had been need thereof."

Arnkel started back thereat, and thrust her from him, and said: "Go," says he, "and say so much to the kin of Vigfus, that henceforward they waver not more in their help against Snorri the Priest, than I shall in the leading of the suit; but so my mind tells me that, however the case goes, they shall lay land under foot or ever I do. But I see that these thy doings are by Vermund's counsel; but no need will he have to egg me on wheresoever we brothers-in-law are in one place."

Then went Thorgerd home. The winter wore, and in the spring Arnkel set afoot the case for the slaying of Vigfus against all those who had been at the slaying, except Snorri the Priest; but Snorri set forth a cross-suit for the unhallowing of Vigfus for plotting against his life and for the wounding of Mar; and men came thronging on both sides to the Thorsness Thing.

All the Kiallekings gave help to Arnkel, and theirs was the biggest company; and Arnkel pushed on the case with great eagerness.

But when the cases came into court, men went thereto, and the cases were laid to award by the urging and peace-making of men of good will; and so it befell that Snorri the Priest made a handsel as to the slaughter of Vigfus, and great fines were awarded; but Mar should be abroad for three winters. So Snorri paid up the money, and the Thing came to an end in such wise, that peace was made in all the suits.