While this was going on, Thorwald's men came down with their load, but Thiostolf was not slow in his plans. He hewed with both hands at the gunwale of the skiff and cut it down about two planks; then he leapt into his boat, but the dark blue sea poured into the skiff, and down she went with all her freight. Down too sank Thorwald's body, so that his men could not see what had been done to him, but they knew well enough that he was dead. Thiostolf rowed away up the firth, but they shouted after him wishing him ill luck. He made them no answer, but rowed on till he got home, and ran the boat up on the beach, and went up to the house with his axe, all bloody as it was, on his shoulder. Hallgerda stood out of doors, and said, "Thine axe is bloody; what hast thou done?"
"I have done now what will cause thee to be wedded a second time."
"Thou tellest me then that Thorwald is dead," she said.
"So it is," said he, "and now look out for my safety."
"So I will," she said; "I will send thee north to Bearfirth, to Swanshol, and Swan, my kinsman, will receive thee with open arms. He is so mighty a man that no one will seek thee thither."
So he saddled a horse that she had, and jumped on his back, and rode off north to Bearfirth, to Swanshol, and Swan received him with open arms, and said: "That's what I call a man who does not stick at trifles! And now I promise thee if they seek thee here, they shall get nothing but the greatest shame."
Now, the story goes back to Hallgerda, and how she behaved. She called on Liot the Black, her kinsman, to go with her, and bade him saddle their horses, for she said, "I will ride home to my father."
While he made ready for their journey, she went to her chests and unlocked them and called all the men of her house about her, and gave each of them some gift; but they all grieved at her going. Now she rides home to her father; and he received her well, for as yet he had not heard the news. But Hrut said to Hallgerda, "Why did not Thorwald come with thee?" and she answered, "He is dead."
Then said Hauskuld, "That was Thiostolf's doing."
"It was," she said.
"Ah!" said Hauskuld, "Hrut was not far wrong when he told me that this bargain would draw mickle misfortune after it. But there's no good in troubling one's self about a thing that's done and gone."
Now, the story must go back to Thorwald's mates, how there they are, and how they begged the loan of a boat to get to the mainland. So a boat was lent them at once, and they rowed up the firth to Reykianess, and found Oswif, and told him these tidings.
He said, "Ill luck is the end of ill redes, and now I see how it has all gone. Hallgerda must have sent Thiostolf to Bearfirth, but she herself must have ridden home to her father. Let us now gather folk and follow him up thither north." So they did that, and went about asking for help, and got together many men. And then they all rode off to Steingrims river, and so on to Liotriverdale and Selriverdale, till they came to Bearfirth.
Now Swan began to speak, and gasped much. "Now Oswif's fetches are seeking us out." Then up sprung Thiostolf, but Swan said, "Go thou out with me, there won't be need of much." So they went out both of them, and Swan took a goatskin and wrapped it about his own head, and said, "Become mist and fog, become fright and wonder mickle to all those who seek thee."
Now, it must be told how Oswif, his friends, and his men are riding along the ridge; then came a great mist against them, and Oswif said, "This is Swan's doing; 'twere well if nothing worse followed." A little after a mighty darkness came before their eyes, so that they could see nothing, and then they fell off their horses' backs, and lost their horses, and dropped their weapons, and went over head and ears into bogs, and some went astray into the wood, till they were on the brink of bodily harm. Then Oswif said, "If I could only find my horse and weapons, then I'd turn back;" and he hid scarce spoken these words than they saw somewhat, and found their horses and weapons. Then many still egged the others on to look after the chase once more; and so they did, and at once the same wonders befell them, and so they fared thrice. Then Oswif said, "Though the course be not good, let us still turn back. Now, we will take counsel a second time, and what now pleases my mind best, is to go and find Hauskuld, and ask atonement for my son; for there's no hope of honour where there's good store of it."
So they rode thence to the Broadfirth dales, and there is nothing to be told about them till they came to Hauskuldstede, and Hrut was there before them. Oswif called out Hauskuld and Hrut, and they both went out and bade him good day. After that they began to talk. Hauskuld asked Oswif whence he came. He said he had set out to search for Thiostolf, but couldn't find him. Hauskuld said he must have gone north to Swanshol, "and thither it is not every man's lot to go to find him."
"Well," says Oswif, "I am come hither for this, to ask atonement for my son from thee."
Hauskuld answered, "I did not slay thy son, nor did I plot his death; still it may be forgiven thee to look for atonement somewhere."
"Nose is next of kin, brother, to eyes," said Hrut, "and it is needful to stop all evil tongues, and to make him atonement for his son, and so mend thy daughter's state, for that will only be the case when this suit is dropped, and the less that is said about it the better it will be."
Hauskuld said, "Wilt thou undertake the award?"
"That I will," says Hrut, "nor will I shield thee at all in my award; for if the truth must be told thy daughter planned his death."
Then Hrut held his peace some little while, and afterwards he stood up, and said to Oswif, "Take now my hand in handsel as a token that thou lettest the suit drop."
So Oswif stood up and said, "This is not an atonement on equal terms when thy brother utters the award, but still thou (speaking to Hrut) hast behaved so well about it that I trust thee thoroughly to make it." Then he stood up and took Hauskuld's band, and came to an atonement in the matter, on the understanding that Hrut was to make up his mind and utter the award before Oswif went away. After that, Hrut made his award, and said, "For the slaying of Thorwald I award two hundred in silver"--that was then thought a good price for a man--"and thou shalt pay it down at once, brother, and pay it too with an open hand."
Hauskuld did so, and then Hrut said to Oswif, "I will give thee a good cloak which I brought with me from foreign lands."
He thanked him for his gift, and went home well pleased at the way in which things had gone.
After that Hauskuld and Hrut came to Oswif to share the goods, and they and Oswif came to a good agreement about that too, and they went home with their share of the goods, and Oswif is now out of our story. Hallgerda begged Hauskuld to let her come back home to him, and he gave her leave, and for a long time there was much talk about Thorwald's slaying. As for Hallgerda's goods they went on growing till they were worth a great sum.