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... In Iron Age Britain two brothers struggle for supremacy. The Archdruid prophesies kingship for one, banishment for the other. But it is the exiled brother who will lead the Celts across the Alps into deadly collision with Rome...
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The Saga of Hromund Gripsson

Chapter 7

At that moment, Hromund entered the battle. Helgi the Valiant saw this and said: "Now is he come here, who fought Hrongvid my brother. You may now see him with his sword that he sought in the barrow. Now you must flee. I slew your brothers."

Hromund said: "Helgi, you need not question my courage. Either you or I will now fall."

Helgi said: "Mistiltein is so heavy a weapon, that you cannot control it. I will lend you another sword that you will be able to control."

Hromund said: "You need not test my strength. You will remember the stroke that I gave Hrongvid, and crushed his skull."

Helgi said: "Hromund, you have bound about your hand a maiden's garter. You know that it will shield you when you bear it. You will get no wound while you bear that, and so you will always be true to that maid."

Hromund would not suffer these provocative words, and he cast down the shield. Helgi the Valiant always won victory but achieved everything by magic. His mistress was named Lara, who was there in the form of a swan. Helgi swung his sword so hard above himself that he accidentally cut off her leg, and the sword sank into the ground up to the hilt. He said:

'Now has my luck gone, and it goes badly for me that you will succeed."

Hromund said: "Helgi, you are defeated. It was very bad luck when you slew your own mistress, and your health will go."

Lara fell down dead. But with the stroke Helgi struck Hromund, the sword ran to the hilt, and the sword point slid into Hromund's belly, but Helgi stooped to strike again. Hromund made no delay and hewed Helgi's head with Mistiltein, cleaving helmet and skull, so that it sank into his shoulders. Then the notch in the sword broke. Hromund took his belt-knife and pierced his belly where it was ripped, pushed so the paunch-fat hung out, tore his belly and with the garter bound his clothes together.

Then he fought so fiercely and felled men so they fell each across the other, and fought on into the middle of the night. Then that army fled, along with the Haldings. There the fight ended.

Then Hromund saw that a man was standing there on the ice. He knew well that sorcery could turn the ice to water, and he noticed that it was Vali. He said that he was obliged to reward him, ran to him, swung Mistiltein and would have struck him. But Vali blew the sword out of his hand, and it flew over an opening in the ice and sank down to the bottom. Then Vali laughed and said:

"Now you are doomed, now you have lost Mistiltein from out of your hand."

Hromund said: "But before that you will die."

Then he ran to Vali and lifted him up, then dashed him down on the ice, so his neck broke. This wizard lay there, dead, but Hromund sat down on the ice. He said:

"I had no good advice from the maiden. I have now sent fourteen men under, and though my eight brothers also fell, and my sword Mistiltein fell in the water, and this loss I can never make good, that I lost my sword."

Afterwards he went away from there, went home to his tent and took some rest.

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