When Helgi was born, it is said, Norns came and set him on his life's path. A path that would make him the most well known of kings. At the tender age of just 15, he was a king over troops, though Sinfjotli always accompanied him. On one of these raids he met the army of a king named Hunding. In the battle that followed Helgi killed King Hunding, and many men of his great army. King Hunding's sons then raised an immense army and fought Helgi in a great battle. Helgi killed four of King Hunding's sons; Alf, Eyjolf, Hervard, and Hagbard, in what turned out to be a resounding victory for the Volsung family.
After the battle, Helgi came across a group of beautiful women riding along the road. The woman who was in the lead identified herself as Sigrun, the daughter of King Hogni. Helgi invited her to ride with them, but she replied that her father had promised her hand in marriage to Hodbrodd the son of King Granmar. ( There were a lot of local kings in those days) She told Helgi that she detested the match, and compared him to a young crow. She asked Helgi to fight King Granmar, and Hodbrodd, for her hand, because she would rather be his bride.
Helgi then called up all his troops to Raudabjorg. A mighty group came also from Hedinsey, and in large long ships came even more warriors from Norvasund. His troops battled rough seas and bad weather to reach the coast. Sigrun came down to the shore, and directed his ships to a safe harbor known as Gnipalund. At a place called Frekastein a huge and savage battle between Helgi and King Hodbrodd took place. After advancing through Hodbrodd's ranks he came upon King Hodbrodd, and killed him just beneath his own flag.
King Helgi ruled over these lands for many years, he was a most magnificent king to his people, and was beloved and admired. Incredibly nothing more is told about the great Volsung King Helgi. Sinfjotli did not fair as well I am afraid. He was poisoned by Borghild, the wife of King Sigmund, because he had killed Borghild's brothers in a duel over the hand of a maiden. King Sigmund drove his wife out of the kingdom, and she died shortly there after.
It came to pass that a king called Eylimi had a daughter named Hjordis, who was perfectly suited for King Sigmund. After an exchange of correspondence with King Eylimi, Sigmund was invited to a great feast. ( Presumably to meet his daughter ) Another king, King Lyngvi, a son of King Hunding, also came to this same feast to seek the hand of Hjordis in marriage. King Eylimi knew his daughter was a wise woman and allowed her to choose, saying that he would choose as she did. Though old at this point, she chose King Sigmund, because he was the most famous of kings.
King Lyngvi was embarrassed, and angered by her refusal, and put together an army to deal with King Sigmund. In a great battle King Sigmund and King Eylimi fought side by side, and with great valor, but they were no match for the great Viking army that King Lyngvi had raised. As the battle was raging a man with a wide brimmed hat, and a black cloak approached him with spear held high. (Odin making another appearance in the Volsung story) When Sigmund struck at the man he hit, either the brim of his hat or the spear, and his great sword broke in two. It was then he noticed that the stranger had but one eye. He knew then that Odin had stopped protecting him, and that his luck had run out.
King Lyngvi had destroyed the bulk of Sigmund's army, but he was unable to seize the royal lands. He consoled himself with the knowledge that he had killed the last of the Volsungs. But in this he was very, very mistaken. For after nightfall, Hjordis, went out to the battlefield to find her husband. When she found her husband he was lying where he had been struck down, and was mortally wounded. Hjordis asked if he would live. Sigmund replied that Odin no longer wants me to carry the sword now that it is broken. King Sigmund then went on to tell her that she carried their son in her belly who would outshine all the other Volsungs. He gave her the pieces of the sword and told her to guard them well. From these fragments a great sword would be forged called Gram, he told her. Our son will carry this sword, and his deeds and his name will not be forgotten until the end of time !
Next : Part 4 : Sigurd : The Early Years.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !