Auna left them in the meeting hall under heavy guard after giving Runa the lines she would have to inscribe. She, then, wandered off into a corner of the room, muttering under her breath. From the cadence, it sounded as though she were practicing. There had been nothing to write the spell in, after all, save perhaps the dirt of the floor – and under the circumstances that would be dangerous.

Irding let out a long, heavy sigh and lay back on one of the benches in the room, his hands folded behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Erik folded his legs under him where he stood and pulled out his axe and whetstone. The blade was still dulled from the fight against the stenjätte, but he had ceased to grumble about it more than a week ago. Jorir likewise sat, but he began with a careful inspection of the chains of his maille. Einarr knew he should do the same, but restlessness seized his legs. He paced.

Occasionally he would catch one of the others looking at him, but there was no point explaining himself. He wasn’t even sure he understood why he could not sit still. After a while, when there was still a little light filtering in from around the door, Runa followed a scowl (for distracting her) by beckoning him over. The sound of his boots scraping against the dirt paused long enough for her to pat the ground next to where she sat.

Einarr folded his legs under him to sit next to his beloved. “What can I help with?”

“That is actually exactly what I was about to ask you. You’ve been worrying over something for ages now. Talk to me?”

“I-” he started to deny it, but stopped himself. He couldn’t do that – not with Runa. He laughed a little at the realization. “This has been the longest summer ever.”

“It will be over soon enough.”

“Maybe too soon. We need to get you back to Kjell before the ice sets in.”

Runa hummed. “Ideally. But I think the Matrons might have a way of getting a message back if we can’t.”

Einarr stared at her then. “Song can do that?”

Runa shook her head. “No, not song. I don’t really understand it, myself – I’m still technically an apprentice, after all. But I also don’t think that’s really what’s been worrying you.”

Now it was Einarr’s turn to shake his head. “It is and it isn’t. It seems like ever since the Oracle named me a Cursebreaker, things have gone… strange. Maybe even before, I guess. That Valkyrie ship was awfully far north. And it’s been all we can do to make it through to the next fireball.”

“That’s because you’re a Cursebreaker.” Runa’s voice was soft as she stared off into the distance of the far wall.

“And Cursebreakers always end badly. The ones we remember go out in a blaze of glory… but if I’m honest I’d rather find my own glory.”

Runa nodded, slowly.

“Somehow, though, the way the Oracle was talking I thought the calling might come with some sort of ability to actually do it.”

Runa’s laugh was rueful. “If only. They might live a little longer then. No, to be named Cursebreaker is almost a curse in and of itself. You’ve already survived longer than most.”

He groaned. The Oracle had taken his firstborn in payment. Would she have accepted that if she thought he wouldn’t survive to have a child? That wasn’t worth dwelling on right now, though. “Right. And immediately after we left Attilsund, we had to deal with an island full of ghosts. And then was your rescue. And now there are two ships’ worth of people waiting for us to get back with the cure to whatever the cultists did to us, and I get us cast away here.”

“Doing well so far.”

Einarr harrumphed. Before he knew what he really wanted to ask her, the sound of fighting filled the break in their conversation. He paused, listening. “We’re in no danger. But the hulder will want us to hurry once they let us out of here.”

Erik hummed in agreement. “Sounds vicious out there. I’ll be glad of a sharp blade and solid maille when we leave.”

“Subtle. Real subtle.” Irding still stared at the ceiling.

“He doesn’t need to be,” Einarr said. “He’s right. We’d do well to check our things.” Suiting action to words, Einarr joined the older men in inspection and repair.


When morning came, all was once again quiet in the forest. Einarr had slept, albeit restlessly. He suspected no-one else had done better, though. To sleep when the battle raged outside went against the grain – but this once, that was not their role. They were all ready and waiting when the door once again opened to admit the unsmiling figure of Auna.

“Are you prepared?”

Einarr met her gaze levelly. “As ready as we can be. How will we know when we near the Woodsman’s lair?”

“The darkness will grow lighter, and what once tripped you will draw back into open space. Within this clearing there will be a cave, and it is around the mouth of this cave where you must inscribe the spell. Once the Woodsman realizes you are there, what you are doing, you will be in great danger.”

“I would expect no less,” Runa said, lifting her chin in defiance – not of Auna, certainly, but perhaps the odds.

“Then fortune favor you. Should you succeed where we have failed, we will count you a friend to our people.”

Einarr inclined his head respectfully towards the elder huldra. “We will be off, then. Good fortune to you, as well.”

Auna stepped out of the doorway, and Einarr led the others back out into the forest.

The previous night’s battle had encroached on unscarred land. Einarr frowned and picked up the pace: as reluctant as he was to re-enter the Woodsman’s territory, he was more reluctant to allow the creature its victory by inches over the hulder. Ahead, the wood grew dark.

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“Very good, my Lord. In that case, let me begin with how I won the Isinntog from the Jotün Fraener of Svartlauf.”

“The who of where?”

“Ah, but surely my Lord should know that story! It was ancient when my grandfather was still a babe. Once, long ago, the elves of Skaergard created a torc of surpassing beauty and dedicated it to the goddess Eira. The torc was all of silver, inset with thousands of tiny diamonds, and on each end bore the head of a dragon holding an anchor in its mouth. Inside were inscribed runes that gave it power over the wind and storms.” Einarr may not have been trained as a Singer, but there was no man of the clans worthy of the name who could not tell a rousing story.

“One of the Jotuns, by the name of Fraener, came to the isle of Skaergard after hearing of the wonders of the Isinntog intending to steal it for himself…” The story continued on in this vein, speaking of the vile tricks Fraener had played, and the blood he had shed, in order to win the torc for his own. Once it was in his hands, however, he found that it would only fit the first knuckle of his smallest finger. Satisfied nonetheless, for still he had secured the power of the goddess’ artifact, he left Skaergard and came to the winter island now known as Svartlauf. This island was only accessible, even by him, with the aid of the Isinntog, and so he and his dog made their new home protected from the wrath of the elves by the storm that raged about the island.

“And that brings us to where I come in,” Einarr said after a time, dearly wishing he could have something to drink that would not poison his mind. “In order to win the hand of my fair maiden, her father set me a series of tasks. The first of these was to steal from the Jotun Fraener the Isinntog, which he had so long before stolen from the elves.” He had their attention, he was sure. Once he’d finished this tale, he would ask Jorir to tell the tale of their encounter with the Order of the Valkyrie on their way to visit the Oracle of Attilsund – although he had no intention of sharing the results of their visit.

As he came to the thrilling conclusion of the tale – somewhat modified, of course, to ignore that he had yet more tasks to accomplish – many of the spirits in the crowd burst into cheers. It was probably the first fresh story they had heard in centuries.

“Jorir, where are you, you rogue?”

The svartdverger ambled out of the crowd to stand near his liege lord.

“Surely you’ve a tale to tell, as well now. What about our battle on the sea, not two months ago?”

“We dwarves, well we’ve not got the knack for the telling of tales like you humans do, but I reckon I can give it a whirl. Y’see, milord’s father determined after we rejoined the crew from that self-same mission to Svartlauf that this was going to be a big summer. There was much to do, after all, and already they had lost some weeks waiting on our return.”

Einarr smirked to note that he glossed over his own newness to the crew, but rather than correct him simply merged back into the crowd. Best to be a good audience now, so that when one of the specters inevitably decided to tell a tale of his own they could carry out the plan appropriately.

“Well, the story of Einarr’s family is a long one, and a sad one at that, and doesn’t have much ta do with where I’m going except to set me on the path. You see, I knew about the Oracle living on Attilsund, on account of I’d seen ‘er before, I had. Given the task at hand, that I’d just heard first-hand from their Singer, I thought it might behoove us all to go and pay the Oracle a little visit.”

“Not six weeks out of harbor, and what should we see cutting across the waves but an Imperial dromon – headed straight for us, no less, and the wing and spear painted on her sail.”

Jorir may have claimed dwarves lacked the knack for storytelling, but if Einarr was any judge the dwarf’s telling of that battle bested his own of the trip to Svartlauf. Einarr actually enjoyed listening to his liege-man tell of that battle, even including the part where he himself got scolded for recklessness on the field of battle. Einarr laughed and clapped along with everyone else as Jorir finished up the tale.

He was about to encourage Tyr to tell a story – something from longer ago than last winter, probably. He certainly had plenty of years to choose from – when one of the Allthane’s men took the bait.

“Well, since we’ve newcomers and all, I suppose it might be worth telling this one again.” This was not the show-off, but it was one of the spirits who had been making a nuisance of themselves since the hall dance.

“Everyone knows how the Allthane came to be, of course -”

“I’m afraid not!” Einarr called out.

“How can you not know the tale of how the North was finally unified, once and for all?” The man was indignant, now. Good.

“Because no-one has held the chair of Allthane for three hundred years,” Tyr answered. Now the men in the crowd – all save five of them – jeered and scoffed.

“Ah, but it’s true. How many of you knew the meaning of the wing-and-spear our good dwarf spoke of?”

Silence descended on the hall.

“For my part, I will gladly hear the tale of how our glorious host brought all the tribes under his thumb, for few save the Singers now know it.” Einarr broke the silence. “It is a feat that has not been equalled since.”

The Allthane cleared his throat from behind where Einarr stood facing the gathering. “In that case sit quietly and listen well, for never again shall you have the chance to hear it straight from the man himself.”

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Morning in Attilsund was marked not by the sun climbing over the tops of the pines but by a gradual lightening from black to grey of the cloud cover that had not yet broken. Einarr awoke groggy after a night filled with restless dreams, that all seemed to end with the realization he was being watched. He stomped into his boots anyway, warming his toes a little in the process, and hoisted his baldric over his shoulder as he joined his father and Jorir near the edge of the green.

His father’s eyes were just as dark as his own felt, although the dwarf appeared to be in high spirits. He nodded to both of them as he stepped up. “Morning.”

“Good morning!” Amusement twinkled in Jorir’s eye – or at least, Einarr thought it looked like amusement. He didn’t see what was so funny, though.

“Einarr,” Stigander drawled. “Once Sivid and Arring get here, we should go.”

“Mm.” Einarr looked over his shoulder toward their camp. “I’m sure they won’t be long.”

“They’re not here soon, I’m leaving without them.”

Einarr hummed and changed the subject. “So did anyone else feel like they were being watched all last night?”

Stigander nodded and crossed his arms. Jorir smirked.

Sivid and Arring trudged up behind them, looking like they slept even less well than the other men had.

“There you are.” Stigander lowered his arms. “Let’s get going. If we have a chance to make it to this Weaver’s Palace before dark, I’d rather.”

“That,” Jorir said, “is entirely up to you lot. I’ll guide you as best I can, but there’s magic involved in finding her.”

Einarr nodded. “Shall we be off, then?”

A nod moved around their group like a wave, and the five men set off up the forest path, toward the towering mountain in the east.


The trail, such as it was, meandered through the old-growth pines to the east. He saw no sign of the sea, but Einarr thought they must have walked far enough to approach the coast before their path began to wend upwards. He might not have realized the change at all save for the rock ridge bordering the trail on one side that faded away as they continued. Not long thereafter he began to feel the incline in his thighs and the forest grew thinner.

Here and there rock would jut forth from the forest floor, and these grew more frequent as the landing party ascended into the alpine meadows. Some of them, Einarr noted, were carved to resemble the head of a wizened elder or a crone. Alone of all of them, Jorir paid the standing stones no mind.

Midmorning drew near, and the steep trail had winded all of them. Where earlier there had been some scattered conversation, now Einarr at least was focused on taking one step after another up the side of the mountain and around each of the numerous switchbacks. The sound of flowing water reached his ears: he looked up, casting about for its source.

A little ways off to the side of the trail stood a well carved of rough-hewn stone. The water flowed down from the mouth of a face someone had carved in the rock down into a basin below, and sunlight glinted off the water in the basin. The stone between the face and the basin seemed to glow in the reflected light. “Father, there is water. We should draw.”

Einarr did not wait for an answer, nor did he notice when no answer came as he stepped off the path toward the well and its offered respite. As he came closer, he saw that there was someone already at the well, hidden by a tree from the path. Her hair, long enough that the ends brushed against the earth, was the color of spun gold, and her skin as pale and fair as the twinflower. She trailed slender fingers in the water, careful not to dip the sleeve of her silver-white gown. Einarr stood, stunned by the sight. A whisper of surprise flitted across his mind that there would be anyone else on the mountain here.

He must have made a noise, because she looked up and smiled at him, not at all surprised for her part. Her high cheekbones and delicate ears lent an elfin grace to her face.

“I beg your pardon, my lady. I did not mean to disturb you.”

She laughed, a sound like the tinkling of silver bells. “I am not disturbed at all! Come, join me. The water is sweet, and the trail is yet long.”

“…Yes. I cannot stay long, but a few moments’ respite will be welcome.”

She smiled again and patted the stone in front of her knees. The smile was warm and welcoming, and yet Einarr thought she did not look happy. He joined her at the well and knelt to cup water with his hands and drink. Once his mouth was wet he looked over at his unexpected companion. “Is something the matter, my lady?”

“Of course not! The day is fine, the water is cool, and the company is charming.”

“As you say.” He turned now to sit on the lip of the well opposite her. It felt as though a shadow fell on the space he left between their knees, but it would be improper to sit nearer.

“You have come to see the Oracle?” She ventured.

“Isn’t that what brings most people up this way?”

“Yes,” she sighed, and her shoulders slumped.

“What troubles you, lady?”

“Only that it is a long and lonely life here on the mountain. I should dearly love the company of a strong young man such as yourself.” She looked at him sidelong and bit at her lower lip. The gesture was shy, but he saw none of that in her bearing. Einarr shook his head.

“Alas, dear lady, you will have to continue to hope. There is no denying your beauty, but my heart belongs to another.”

“Ah, no!” The sound was small, but unmistakably a wail. “Cruel fate indeed. As soon as I laid eyes on you, I thought to myself ‘here is a good man’ and set my heart on you. Can you not allow me just this morning to enjoy, even if that is all it can ever be?”

“I am sorry, lady. That would be unfair to my Runa, and cruel to yourself besides.” He stood, brushing the dust from his trousers. “I must be rejoining my friends. I am sorry to have disturbed you.”

As Einarr walked back toward the path he heard the tinkling of silver bells again.

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A week and a half from Apalvik, the craggy green fjord of Attilsund rose into view beneath a steel-grey sky. Stigander ordered the sail furled and the oars deployed as they nosed the Vidofnir into the narrow channel. The ship passed into the shadow of the cliffs to either side.

Einarr shivered and wished he had an excuse to join the rowers. Nearly summer, and still he saw ice on the rock near the water line. He didn’t bother looking up: the sky would be little more than a line between the tree-limned rock faces. He would be with the group going ashore, however, and Father had made sure the landing party would be fresh by keeping them off the oars. And if Father wanted them fresh, that meant he anticipated trouble ashore.

The steady swish of the oars through water and the groaning of the Vidofnir were the only sounds they heard until the forbidding walls of the fjord relaxed into gentler slopes and the diffuse light of a cloudy day found its way to the water’s surface. Then the breeze could be heard rattling the branches of the pines, punctuated by larksong and the occasional cry of a gyrfalcon.

Here and there Einarr spotted the tell-tale signs of a freehold – the bleating of sheep, a plume of smoke, even once a red-painted roof peeking through the trees as the fjord became a river winding through the countryside.

Finally, after Einarr began to wonder if there was actually a village on this island rather than just a scattering of freeholds, the forest fell back to reveal a fistful of huts clustered behind a single wooden pier jutting out from the sandy shore. He cast a dubious glance to his left: his father’s brows were furrowed, perhaps in concern that the Vidofnir would have room to dock. Jorir, on his right, looked unconcerned.

“More than a century, and the place hasn’t changed a whit,” the dwarf muttered. “Expect we’ll be camped on the village green tonight.”

Now Sivid furrowed his brow. “Why wouldn’t we just go search out the oracle straightaway?”

“Are you daft? There’s an order to these things. We bypass the village, we’ll never make it to her temple.”

Stigander nodded. “No oracle, especially one of the elven mystics, is going to take all comers. I expect we will be tested on the way. Think of speaking with the village headman as the first test.”

Sivid grunted. “Fine.” He opened his mouth to say something more, but stopped with the sound of sand grinding against the bottom of the hull. “I guess it’s time we introduced ourselves, then.”

Villagers peered curiously down at the banks from where they were at their labors. Some took a few steps toward the river before stopping to watch their unexpected guests openly. Many of them had a grace unknown to men and the delicately pointed ears of an elf: many others appeared to be not quite elves. Some of these last looked almost human. Now that’s unusual. I didn’t think elves bred with humans.

Bardr lowered the gangplank, and Stigander led their small boarding party down to the riverbank. Other than the sons of Raen and Jorir, they took only Sivid and Arring – a man whose chief distinction from the other warriors was the deep red scar running from brow to chin across his face. That scar had been acquired in the escape from Raenshold, however, and he was among the men who had family trapped there.

Einarr scanned the people gathering in front of the pier, but his father spotted the likely face before he did. After only a moment the rest of the group followed Stigander as he approached a grizzled, withered old elven man.

“Greetings, honored sir.” Stigander dipped in a half-bow as he greeted the elder. “We come in peace, and carry goods for trade. I am Stigander Raenson, Thane of Raenshold and Captain of the Vidofnir.”

“Greetings, son of Raen. Our village is unaccustomed so such prestigious visitors.” The elf stressed prestigious oddly, as though he were unimpressed with the idea of clan rulers. As well he might be, I suppose.

“Tell me. What brings the sons of Raen to these shores?” He also sounded like he knew exactly what the answer would be, for the simple reason that it was always the answer.

Stigander spoke it anyway. “We seek the oracle who is said to reside nearby.”

The elder sighed, confirming Einarr’s suspicions. “Very well. Come with me. This evening I will warn you of the path, and in the morning you will proceed in spite of my warnings.”

The old elf led them up the riverbank to the largest of the huts in the village. It was not cramped, but only because it had the look of a meeting-hall for the residents. The floor was strewn with hides, and the wooden chairs padded with woolen cushions – stuffed with feathers, unless Einarr missed his guess. The headman’s wife had plainly devoted some time to ensuring the hall was comfortable.

“Please, sit,” he invited as the last of their troupe stepped into the hall. “My name is Hlothrama, and I am headman of the village of Attilsund.”

“My thanks for your welcome,” Stigander replied. “This is my son, Einarr, the dwarf is his man Jorir, and these are Sivid and Arring.”

Jorir inclined his head particularly deeply to the elder. “Elder Hlothrama, it has been a long time.”

The elven elder drew his eyebrows together in confusion.

“One hundred and fifty years ago, give or take, I sought the Oracle’s guidance. Now I have returned with her payment.”

“Returned… leading other querents?”

“It was a fortunate coincidence of needs.”

“Hm. Then perhaps that shall speed your way to the Weaver’s Palace.”

Jorir cocked an eyebrow but said nothing.

Hlothrama continued. “The Weaver’s Palace is carved from the living rock high on the mountainside to the west of us. Each of you will be given three tests on your way. They may not all be the same tests, and it is entirely possible for you to become separated should any of the tests be failed. Be very cautious: there are those who have failed one of the Oracle’s tests and wandered the mountain forever.”

Sivid opened his mouth, but Hlothrama did not give him a chance to speak.

“You are about to ask if I know what the tests are. I do not: I believe they are different each time, although I have gathered that the Oracle forbids querents to speak of them.”

An unobservant man might have wondered if the elder had some form of clairvoyance. Einarr was reasonably certain he had merely performed this task often enough to see the melodies behind it.

“You and your men may camp in the Green tonight, and I am certain there will be those who wish to trade with you on the morrow. It would be most unwise to commence the trek before dawn, and perhaps wisest not to leave much after it. I will pray you fare well in your quests.”

Now Hlothrama stood and walked stiffly from the room through the back.

“Friendly fellow,” Einarr drawled.

“Quite. We should go see to our men and prepare for the morning.”

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The beach they cast off from was little more than a glimmer in the moonlight when Stigander passed command to Bardr for the night. Sivid had drawn the short straw for watch this night, although even among those not on duty few slept. Most drank.

Stigander sprawled in the stern, staring up at the unblinking stars from under where his awning would ordinarily cover. Einarr approached, his boots deliberately loud on the deck, and took a swig from the skin he had just filled. It sloshed as he flopped down to sit by his father. He held it out by way of offer: his father’s paw nearly enclosed his hand when the offer was accepted. Neither man felt the urge to talk. There was little to talk about, until Stigander was deep enough in his cups that he started telling stories of home, and Einarr didn’t think there was enough in that skin to get that far.

Soon enough the skin was flaccid and empty. Before either of them could decide to roll over and sleep, another set of footsteps approached, the strides quicker than most of the crew’s. Einarr looked up from under heavy brows: it was Jorir, a fresh skin in each hand.

He held one up. “For the intrusion.”

Einarr motioned for the dark dwarf to join them. “Not regretting your oath, are you?”

“Feh.” It came out as half a laugh. “No chance.”

Einarr was gratified that his expectation was correct. “Then what can I do for you?”

“It’s more what I can do for you.” Jorir took a long draught from the first skin and passed it to Einarr. “That story tonight… that hasn’t been embellished too much, has it?”

Einarr shook his head.

“No.” Stigander’s voice was startling and husky. “No, that was faithfully writ by my Lahja.”

Jorir gave Einarr a quizzical look.

“Father’s second wife. My mo- the stepmother who raised me.” He had always thought of her as Mamma, but the dwarf was after clarity not sentiment.

The dwarf’s eyes grew round as the moon above. “I’m sorry. I meant no offense.”

Stigander chuckled, a low, rumbling rasp under the circumstances, and sat up. “None taken, I’m sure.” He reached a hand for the skin that Einarr had just finished drinking from.

He passed the skin, as requested. “Not a lot of thanes marry Singers, after all, although I fail to understand why.”

Stigander harrumphed. “Not a lot of Singers with the other qualifications of your dear little Runa, my boy, and not a lot of thanes with the luxury of marrying without them.”

Jorir cleared his throat. “Well. You see, the story put me in mind of someone who helped me once. She might be able to help you. But she does nothing free… and she’s not an easy person to reach.”

The dwarf let the pause after his statement stretch out: Einarr gave an exasperated sigh. “Well, out with it. Who?”

“Out in Attilsund… there’s an old elvish oracle – or at least there was, back before I fell under Fraener’s power. She should still be there, her or one of her apprentices.”

Einarr scoffed. “You want us to talk to a Weaver about undoing a weaving?”

“We’ve spoken with fate-spinners before, but…” Stigander looked thoughtful. “An elvish oracle, of the old, mystic school?” When Jorir nodded, he continued. “Might be worthwhile. They were said to have some very… different notions about their Art. …Yes, I’ll check the charts in the morning. Perhaps worth the detour.”

* * *

“New plan, lads!” Stigander announced entirely too cheerfully early the next day, while about half the crew were still nursing hangovers. One could almost believe he hadn’t been drinking right along with the rest of them, although Einarr knew better.

“Based on information from the two newest members of our crew, we’ll be headed for Attilsund to go consult with a very old, very wise elf who I wager knows a thing or three about Weaves and curses. It’s a bit out of the way, but maybe some gold will fall into our laps on the way, eh?”

“Long as we’re wishing, might as well wish for some wenches ta fall from the sky!” Sivid’s retort earned a round of laughter from around the deck: even Stigander joined in.

“I know. This was going to be a long season anyway, and this little detour is likely to make it longer. But tell me, lads: won’t it be worth it, if it helps us go home?”

Now came the round of cheers from the Vidofnings. Einarr joined in, and if he was less enthusiastic than some of the older men it was only because getting home to a place he barely remembered was no longer his only concern. Not long after the three of them had finished Jorir’s skins and rolled over for sleep, he realized he, too, wished to consult the oracle. Now he wondered who else among the crew might have a question to ask, and what Jorir had meant when he mentioned it would not be free. Surely he could not refer to coin, for that was as ordinary as a school of pike.

Speaking of whom… “Good morning.”

The dwarf grumbled his reply, evidently still a little foggy.

“Not sure if I should thank you or not for that bit of information last night.”

“I’m not, either.”

Einarr snorted. “So then what’s the catch? How does one pay for the services of this wise old elf?”

“Impossible to say, until she declares what she wants of you.”

“Oh? And what did she demand of you, when you sought her aid?”

“A… favor, that I’ve yet to be able to repay.”

“So that’s why you brought it up. Now that you’re free of Svartlauf, you want the debt off your shoulders too.”

There was a long moment where he thought Jorir was about to say something, but finally the dwarf merely nodded.

Einarr hummed. “Well. You’ll tell me what the favor was when you’re ready, I suppose. Someone showed you where I set up your grindstone?”

You set up?” Jorir sighed and shook his head. “Yes, I’ve seen it. As good a location as I could ask for on a longship.”

Einarr nodded. “Yes, I set up. I was on the quest that took me to Svartlauf in the first place because I’d dishonored Father’s name: he couldn’t just let me off.”

Jorir still looked annoyed.

“Mind regrinding Sinmora’s edge for me? Our little fight down in the tunnels nicked it pretty bad.” It was an obvious change of subject, but no less true for that.

“This afternoon. Don’t think I’ll have room to do much before then.”

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