“That is my will, surely. There is no match in Iceland as this Ospakar, and I should win many friends by it.”
“Do this then, Bjoern. Send messengers to Swinefell and say to Ospakar that if he would still wed Gudruda the Fair, Asmund’s daughter, let him come to Middalhof when folk ride from the Thing and he shall not go hence alone. Nay, I have done. Now, I pray thee speak no more to me of Eric or of Ospakar. Of the one I have seen and heard enough, and of the other I shall hear and see enough in the years that are to come.”
HOW ERIC CAME HOME AGAIN
Swanhild made a good passage from the Orkneys, and was in Iceland thirty-five days before Eric and Skallagrim set foot there. But she did not land by Westman Isles, for she had no wish to face Gudruda at that time, but by Reyjaness. Now she rode thence with her company to Thingvalla, for here all men were gathered for the Thing. At first people hung aloof from her, notwithstanding her wealth and beauty; but Swanhild knew well how to win the hearts of men. For now she told the same story of Eric that she had told to Atli, and there were none to say her nay. So it came to pass that she was believed, and Eric Brighteyes held to be shamed indeed. Now, too, she set a suit on foot against Eric for the death of Atli at his hand, claiming that sentence of the greater outlawry should be passed against him, and that his lands at Coldback in the Marsh on Ran River should be given, half to her in atonement for the Earl’s death, and half to the men of Eric’s quarter.
On the day of the opening of the Thing Ospakar Blacktooth came from the north, and with him his son Gizur and a great company of men. Ospakar was blithe, for from the Thing he should ride to Middalhof, there to wed Gudruda the Fair. Then Swanhild clad herself in beautiful attire, and, taking men with her, went to the booth of Ospakar.
Blacktooth sat in his booth and by him sat Gizur his son the Lawman. When he saw a beauteous lady, very richly clad, enter the booth he did not know who it might be. But Gizur knew her well, for he could never put Swanhild from his mind.
“Lo! here comes Swanhild the Fatherless, Atli’s widow,” said Gizur, flushing red with joy at the sight of her.
Then Ospakar greeted her heartily, and made place for her by him at the top of the booth.
“Ospakar Blacktooth,” she said, “I am come to ask this of thee: that thou shalt befriend me in the suit which I have against Eric Brighteyes for the slaying of Earl Atli, my husband.”
“Thou couldst have come to no man who is more willing,” said Ospakar, “for, if thou hast something against Eric, I have yet more.”
“I would ask this, too, Ospakar: that thy son Gizur should take up my suit and plead it; for I know well that he is the most skilful of all lawmen.”
“I will do that,” said Gizur, his eyes yet fixed upon her face.