All night long Gudruda sat in the bride’s seat. There she sat in the silver summer midnight, looking on the slain who were strewn about the great hall. All night she sat alone in the bride’s seat thinking—ever thinking.
How, then, would it end? There her brother Bjoern lay a-cold—Bjoern the justly slain of Brighteyes; yet how could she wed the man who slew her brother? From Ospakar she was divorced by death; from Eric she was divorced by the blood of Bjoern her brother! How might she unravel this tangled skein and float to weal upon this sea of death? All things went amiss! The doom was on her! She had lived to an ill purpose—her love had wrought evil! What availed it to have been born to be fair among women and to have desired that which might not be? And she herself had brought these things to pass—she had loosed the rock which crushed her! Why had she hearkened to that false tale?
Gudruda sat on high in the bride’s seat, asking wisdom of the piled-up dead, while the cold blue shadows of the nightless night gathered over her and them—gathered, and waned, and grew at last to the glare of day.
HOW ERIC VENTURED DOWN TO MIDDALHOF AND WHAT HE FOUND
Gizur went north to Swinefell, and Swanhild went with him. For now that Ospakar was dead at Eric’s hand, Gizur ruled in his place at Swinefell, and was the greatest lord in all the north. He loved Swanhild, and desired to make her his wife; but she played with him, talking darkly of what might be. Swanhild was not minded to be the wife of any man, except of Eric; to all others she was cold as the winter earth. Still, she fooled Gizur as she had fooled Atli the Good, and he grew blind with love of her. For still the beauty of Swanhild waxed as the moon waxes in the sky, and her wicked eyes shone as the stars shine when the moon has set.
Now they came to Swinefell, and there Gizur buried Ospakar Blacktooth, his father, with much state. He set him in a chamber of rock and timbers on a mountain-top, whence he might see all the lands that once were his, and built up a great mound of earth above him. To this day people tell that here on Yule night black Ospakar bursts out, and golden Eric rides down the blast to meet him. Then come the clang of swords, and groans, and the sound of riven helms, till presently Brighteyes passes southward on the wind, bearing in his hand the half of a cloven shield.
So Gizur bound the Hell-shoes on his father, and swore that he would neither rest nor stay till Eric Brighteyes was dead and dead was Skallagrim Lambstail. Then he gathered a great force of men and rode south to Coldback, to the slaying of Eric, and with him went Swanhild.