Broddi.—She smiled rather too often, the queen of the Northlanders!
Sigurd.—We shall be dead men, all of us, before seven suns have set, unless we bethink ourselves of some counsel.
Brand.—Give us some counsel, Broddi, or else my kinsman Kolbein will set our women busy dressing bloody locks also.
Broddi.—We have but little choice. Let us collect as many men as we may. I myself hope to collect two hundred men, for all the men of Sletthlid and Fljot are at home now, building boats. Yourself ought to be able to collect one hundred. All this troop we shall let come together at Holar and occupy the stronghold there, until more men come together. We would then have three hundred men, while Kolbein has no more than one hundred, because three hundred of his men have been sent west to guard Vididal and Vatnsdal. Then we shall march upon Flugumyr as fast as possible before he has had time to recall these men. There we shall inform him that we are come to seek composition.
Brand.—But, first of all, we must be absolved for the murder of Thorolf, so that men will not refuse our company and deal with us.
Broddi.—A pity that we need to, because it will delay us, and meanwhile Lady Helga will inform Kolbein about Thorolf’s death and egg him on against us. To Holar, then!
Einar (aside).—Thord Kakali ought to know about this in good time.
(Exeunt all except BRODDI and BRAND, who remain after.)
Brand.—When think you, Broddi, that all this slaughtering and warring will cease?
Broddi.—When all the world has become a wilderness again!
(The Cathedral at Holar. High altar in the center, and over it Christ on the Cross, an image of white alabaster, with bloody hands and feet and side, life-size. To either side, in the aisles, altars of the Virgin, splendid with images. On the floor of the aisle the tombstone of Bishop Gudmund Arason, surmounted by a statue of the bishop in his sacerdotal vestments, recumbent. Doors at both sides. The spectator is supposed to sit in the pews.)
(BISHOP BOTOLF, in full pontificals, stands before the altar. BRAND KOLBEINSSON, BRODDI, ALF, DEACON SIGURD, EINAR THE RICH, HELGI SKAFTASON, and six others kneeling before him weaponless with bared neck and shoulders. An invisible chorus sings the end of a Miserere. The music stops as soon as the psalm is finished.)
Botolf.—By that power which God gave to the apostle Peter to bind and to absolve all in heaven as well as on earth, which power he bestowed upon the pope, and the pope upon the archbishop, and the archbishop upon me, by this power I absolve you: Brand Kolbeinsson, Broddi Thorleifsson, Alf Gudmundsson, Deacon Sigurd Thjodolfsson, Helgi Skaftason, Einar the Rich, and you six other men, from the sin of your having been present at and caused the death of Thorolf Bjarnason; I absolve you from the excommunication of the Holy Church and permit to you church-going, and the association of Christian men.