• Zoe Franznick

Egil's Saga, Pt. 2

Welcome back to Egil’s saga, wherein we will finally meet our protagonist — after a generation’s worth of trauma and family feuding. Rest assured that the drama will continue with the rest of the family.


We return to the saga after Thorolf’s death at the hands of two hired mercenaries. When his father, Kvedulf, heard tell of this news, he wept bitterly and recited a stave. Shortly after, however, Skallagrim made ready to go to the king and ask for atonement for Thorolf’s death. The king was impressed by Skallagrim’s size, but demanded that Grim himself become one of his men in order to receive any recompense. Skallagrim refused this offer and instead returned home and told his father this news. Upon hearing this, Kvedulf decided that he and his homestead would instead move abroad to Iceland.


After they packed their belongings, they sailed for Iceland, and happened to come upon the two mercenaries who has killed Thorolf. Kvedulf and Grim both went into battle-fury and killed these men and took their ships, but Kvedulf was given a mortal wound. He requested that he be put overboard onto a small ship and wherever his body washed up in Iceland, Grim make his home. They did so, and established a homestead there.


After some time, Skallagrim took a wife, Bera, and the two of them had several children. Of these were two sons, Thorolf and Egil. Like his namesake, Thorolf was a magnanimous and handsome child, whereas Egil was ugly and brooding like his father.


Once, while Egil was around three years old, Skallagrim was invited to his neighbor’s estate. He and thirty men went, and Thorolf with them, but Grim denied Egil from going. Undaunted, Egil rode after them on a draft horse and crashed the party. Yngvar, the host, gave Egil an egg for his great poetry and drinking, and Egil, in return, mocked his father and sang another stave.


Now, in Norway, one of Skallagrim’s friends, Brynjolf, had a son named Bjorn, and he eloped with Thora, the daughter of Thorir, another close friend to Skallagrim. The two escaped Norway in secret and landed on Iceland, where Bjorn introduced himself to Skallagrim.


Grim, recognizing the son of his friend, invited him in, not realizing he had gone against the will of his father. However, news came from Norway that Bjorn was on the run, and Skallagrim became very angry with Bjorn. Thorolf, however, had become friends with Bjorn and appealed on his behalf. Grim allowed Thorolf to do as he willed with the man. Together, the two went abroad and did much viking. At this time, Thorolf also appealed to Thorir and made atonement for Bjorn’s elopement.


While they were abroad, Thorolf and Bjorn came to a town where the king’s son, Eric Blood-Axe, was also harbored. Thorolf noticed him admiring his ship, and offered it to the prince as a friendship-token, as well as to restore his family’s relationship with the king. The king himself did not take this well, but allowed the prince to continue his friendship with Thorolf.


Soon after this, Thorolf wanted to go home to see his father. King Harold sent an axe with him as a present to Skallagrim, but when Grim used it to kill two oxen, the blade broke on then stone beneath.


While all of this was occurring, Egil remained at home. As a child, he often wrestled with the older boys, and once, when he had lost a game of ball, he sought revenge against the child who beat him. He split the boy’s head open with an axe.


Another time, Egil was beating one of the older men, Thord, when his father interfered and beat Skallagrim badly. Upset at this treatment, his nurse yelled at Grim, and Grim turned his anger on her, chasing her to a cliff, at which point he dashed her against the rocks beneath.

When Egil was old enough, he often asked to go with Thorolf on his journeys, but Thorolf did not want to deal with the trouble that his younger brother made. In revenge, Egil loosed all of Thorolf’s ships from the dock to keep him from leaving. However, Thorolf got his ships back and left once more to go pillaging. When Skallagrim instructed Thorolf to return the broken axe, saying it was a poor gift from a king, Thorolf instead hurled it into the sea as he departed Iceland.


So now we are up to chapter forty-two.


Thanks for joining us in this week's episode of The Maniculum Podcast. Looking for more? Check out our Master List series for the full collection of segments at the end of our show, and for more gaming and world building ideas, check out The Gaming Table section of our blog, Marginalia!


Searching for our sources? Read Egil's Saga here, and check out our Library for more! More references for interested scholars:

  • An Exhaustive Defense of Fanfiction. Sarah Z. Link.

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