That token happened as Gunnar and his brother rode up towards Rangriver, that much blood burst out on the bill.
Kolskegg asked what that might mean.
Gunnar says, "If such tokens took place in other lands, it was called 'wound-drops,' and Master Oliver told me also that this only happened before great fights."
So they rode on till they saw men sitting by the river on the other side, and they had tethered their horses.
Gunnar said, "Now we have an ambush."
Kolskegg answered, "Long have they been faithless; but what is best to be done now?"
"We will gallop up alongside them to the ford," says Gunnar, "and there make ready for them."
The others saw that and turned at once towards them.
Gunnar strings his bow, and takes his arrows and throws them on the ground before him, and shoots as soon as ever they come within shot; by that Gunnar wounded many men, but some he slew.
Then Thorgeir Otkell's son spoke and said, "This is no use; let us make for him as hard as we can."
They did so, and first went Aunund the Fair, Thorgeir's kinsman. Gunnar hurled the bill at him, and it fell on his shield and clove it in twain, but the bill rushed through Aunund. Augmund Shockhead rushed at Gunnar behind his back. Kolskegg saw that and cut off at once both Augmund's legs from under him, and hurled him out into Rangriver, and he was drowned there and then.
Then a hard battle arose; Gunnar cut with one hand and thrust with the other. Kolskegg slew some men and wounded many.
Thorgeir Starkad's son called out to his namesake, "It looks very little as though thou hadst a father to avenge."
"True it is," he answers, "that I do not make much way, but yet thou hast not followed in my footsteps; still I will not bear thy reproaches."
With that he rushes at Gunnar in great wrath, and thrust his spear through his shield, and so on through his arm.
Gunnar gave the shield such a sharp twist that the spearhead broke short off at the socket. Gunnar sees that another man was come within reach of his sword, and he smites at him and deals him his death-blow. After that, he clutches his bill with both hands; just then, Thorgeir Otkell's son had come near him with a drawn sword, and Gunnar turns on him in great wrath, and drives the bill through him, and lifts him up aloft, and casts him out into Rangriver, and he drifts down towards the ford, and stuck fast there on a stone; and the name of that ford has since been Thorgeir's ford.
Then Thorgeir Starkad's son said, "Let us fly now; no victory will be fated to us this time."
So they all turned and fled from the field.
"Let us follow them up now," says Kolskegg "and take thou thy bow and arrows, and thou wilt come within bowshot of Thorgeir Starkad's son."
Then Gunnar sang a song:
"Reaver of rich river-treasure,
Plundered will our purses be,
Though to-day we wound no other
Warriors wight in play of spears
Aye, if I for all these sailors
Lowly lying, fines must pay--
This is why I hold my hand,
Hearken, brother dear, to me."
"Our purses will be emptied," says Gunnar, "by the time that these are atoned for who now lie here dead."
"Thou wilt never lack money," says Kolskegg; "but Thorgeir will never leave off before he compasses thy death."
Gunnar sang another song:
"Lord of water-skates (1) that skim
Sea-king's fields, more good as he,
Shedding wounds' red stream, must stand
In my way ere I shall wince.
I, the golden armlets' warder,
Snakelike twined around my wrist,
Ne'er shall shun a foeman's faulchion
Flashing bright in din of fight."
"He, and a few more as good as he," says Gunnar, "must stand in my path ere I am afraid of them."
After that they ride home and tell the tidings. Hallgerda was well pleased to hear them, and praised the deed much.
Rannveig said, "May be the deed is good; but somehow," she says, "I feel too downcast about it to think that good can come of it."
(1) "Water-skates," a periphrasis for ships.