The Marriage Proposal
Tróndur Avenges Sigmundur's Murder
With Sigmundur out of the way Tróndur í Gøtu and Laf quickly became the most powerful men in the Faroe Islands. Tróndur, who feared that Sigmundur's boys, once they reached manhood, might seek out the Jarls of Norway to avenge their father's death, offered to take care of Turið and her children, but the " Mighty Widow " would hear none of it. Despite knowing that her husband had not directly been killed by Tróndur, his actions had led to his disappearance, and presumed death.
A few months later Tróndur í Gøtu and Laf returned to Skúvoy to seek a lasting peace in the islands by matching Laf with Tóra in marriage. Tóra, who was tired of being auctioned off like a sheep at the market, told Laf that she would only marry him if two conditions were met. First he must take an oath that he had nothing to do with her father's death. And second, and more importantly, Laf and Tróndur had to find out how her father died, and if he were murdered, who had killed him. Turið, Tróndur, and Laf could not argue with the wise conditions set forth by the daughter of Sigmundur Brestisson, and a fair agreement was made by all parties.
Unfortunately this task was a difficult one that was easier said than done. If Sigmundur and his companions had died in the ocean, beneath the waves, then his body might be lost forever, and the manner of his death never proven. And if he had made it to shore, and was murdered there, no one was going to freely come forward and admit to such an evil deed.
Tróndur and Laf followed the currents for months around Skúvoy, and Suðuroy, but could not find any sign of what happened to the former Chieftain of Skúvoy. Then they sailed to each of the islands in the area and searched the beaches for their bodies, or even the smallest scrap of cloth that might prove that they had washed up on that shore. Once again they found nothing and returned to Eysturoy.
As the months went by Tróndur í Gøtu could not stand to watch his friend in such pain. Laf loved Tóra and wanted to marry her very much, but until he fulfilled their agreement, and had proof of how her father met his end, there could be no talk of a wedding. Tróndur also wanted to end the speculation of how the Chieftain of Skúvoy had died because many accusing fingers in the Faroe Islands were being pointed in his direction.
One day Tróndur called together everyone to his homestead in Eysturoy who had been with him on that fateful day two winters before. They discussed in great detail what had taken place at Skúvoy, and each gave their opinion as to what they thought had happened to Sigmundur. There was a great consensus among those gathered that the chieftain was strong enough to swim to the nearest land, and that taking into consideration the prevailing currents, Sandvik was the most likely land that he would have made it to.
Tróndur and Laf decided to pay Thorgrim the Wicked a visit at his Sandvik farmstead to see if he knew anything about Sigmundur's disappearance. With them they took ten men in their ship, all armed and ready for whatever might happen. The winds were favorable, and the current swept Tróndur's vessel onto the beach at Sandvik just as many of his men had predicted Sigmundur would have been carried there.
Thorgrim welcomed his old friend warmly and invited him up to his farmstead. While Laf and the others waited in the main room, warming themselves by a raging fire, Tróndur and Thorgrim retired to a side room. Thorgrim offered Tróndur a drink, but the Chieftain of Eysturoy refused, and told his old friend that he had something very important to discuss with him. Tróndur got right to the point.
" What do you think happened to Sigmundur Brestisson ? " he asked with a hint of suspicion in his voice.
Thorgrim gave Tróndur a nervous glance before replying.
" As with most men here in the Faroe Islands I am not really sure what became of him,.... but I have heard some say that you found him either swimming at sea, or exhausted back on the shore at Skúvoy and killed him. " he told Tróndur.
Tróndur í Gøtu slammed his fist down hard on the table, and gave Thorgrim a sharp look.
" That is a lie ! Everyone in the Faroe Islands knew that I wished him dead, and they were well aware of my reasons for it ! They also know that Sigmundur escaped my clutches and swam for freedom ! I am surprised at you, old friend, for such accusations are not usually made by those close to me ! " he told Thorgrim angrily.
Thorgrim immediately went pale and his hands began to shake.
" Yes,..... well others have told me that he possibly made it to another island, and was killed there while in a state of sheer exhaustion. " he responded nervously.
Tróndur could not help but notice Thorgrim's trembling, and grinned at his discomfort.
" That is more likely the way it happened ! " Tróndur told him, before leaning in and placing his nose almost up against Thorgrim's face.
" And I think that it was you, Thorgrim the Wicked of Sandvik, who has committed this evil deed ! " he shouted loudly.
Thorgrim vehemently denied the charges levied against him, but Tróndur called his men into the smaller room anyway and ordered them to bind Thorgrim and his sons, and to set them by the fire. When this was done Tróndur pulled up a stool and sat near the fire as well. He warned no man to speak to him, and that all must be silent.
Tróndur í Gøtu believed in the Old Gods and the magical old ways. With his mind he reached out to the dead and bid them to join him. After a while the door to the house opened and a man who was dripping wet walked in and stood by the fire for a moment warming his hands. As he was leaving everyone noticed that he was Sigmundur's friend Einar. Some time after he left another man walked into the room and stretched his hands before the fire. He, unlike the first man, was covered with sand, but everyone could see that he was Sigmundur's cousin Thore. Soon afterward a third man entered the room. This one carried his head in his hands. He was a big man who was covered in seaweed and blood. He too stood by the fire for a moment, but before he left this man held his head up in front of Thorgrim and his sons. All three screamed when the eyes fluttered open, and the lips parted and spoke. The head uttered only one word before leaving :
" Murderers ! " it said, and all knew it was Sigmundur.
Despite the Draugr returning to accuse him of murder, Thorgrim denied any responsibility in Sigmundur's death, and he held firm to not knowing what had happened to the former Chieftain of Skúvoy. It was then that Tróndur became tired of the game Thorgrim was playing and ordered his buildings to be searched for any evidence that Sigmundur and his comrades had been there on Sandvik. Despite ransacking his dwellings they found nothing.
Tróndur did not know where else to look for the evidence that he needed to prove Thorgrim had killed Sigmundur. It was then that he noticed something hidden behind a pile of firewood.
" Did you look behind the wood near the fire pit ? " he asked Laf.
Realizing that he might have missed a hiding place Laf's eyebrows rose up into his forehead as he replied.
" I did not think to look there ! " he told Tróndur.
Trondur kicked over the carefully stacked wood and opened the latch on the chest. He was excited as he began to rummage through the chest, but after several minutes he quickly realized that it was filled with nothing but rusty old weapons, and other useless tools. Angry and frustrated Tróndur picked up the chest and threw it up against the far wall. As he did a bag of rags fell out and landed on Laf's feet. By the way it hit his boot he could tell that there was something heavy inside the rags. Laf bent down, picked up the bag, and threw it over to Tróndur.
Tróndur untied the first bag only to find another bag inside. When he undid this bag he discovered to his dismay that it contained yet a third one. Tired of playing such nonsensical games he took out his knife and cut the third bag open. As it ripped apart something shiny tumbled out and landed on the dirt floor between himself and Laf. Both stared at the gold arm ring for a long moment before looking up at each other with grins upon their faces. Tróndur and Laf knew, from the countless times that Sigmundur had shown it to them, that this was the gold arm ring that Jarl Hakon had given to him.
When confronted by the gold ring he had taken off the dead chieftain's arm Thorgrim could no longer deny that he had killed Sigmundur Brestisson. Reluctantly he took the warriors down to the beach and showed them where Sigmundur and Thore were buried. Tróndur made his boys dig up what was left of the bodies, and place them in blankets. The Chieftain of Eysturoy then ordered some of his men to take Thorgrim's boat and sail to Skúvoy with the bodies so that Turið Torkilsdóttir could give them a proper burial near the church that Sigmundur had built there.
Laf and Tróndur then sailed for Torshavn in Streymoy where Thorgrim the Wicked and his sons were put on trial for their evil deed. After everyone at the Moot heard of Thorgrim's guilt, he and his boys were sentenced to death, while Tróndur and Laf were exonerated of any wrongdoing. As Laf and Tróndur quickly sailed back to Skúvoy Thorgrim and his sons were swinging from a tree from the same wind that was propelling them south.
- End Chapter 13
- Next : Chapter 14 : A Peaceful Marriage
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.