May 4, 2005: St. Hints from Heloise Day
from The House of the Wolfings

Therewith he also got him down from the Hill, and joined his own house: and men said that he had spoken well and wisely. But there arose a noise of men talking together on these tidings; and amidst it an old warrior of the Nether-mark strode forth and up to the Hill-top. Gaunt and stark he was to look on; and all men knew him and he was well-beloved, so all held their peace as he said:

"I am Otter of the Laxings: now needeth but few words till the War-duke is chosen, and we get ready to wend our ways in arms. Here have ye heard three good men and true tell of our foes, and this last, Fox the Red, hath seen them and hath more to tell when we are on the way; nor is the way hard to find. It were scarce well to fall upon these men in their garth and war-burg; for hard is a wall to slay. Better it were to meet them in the Wild-wood, which may well be a friend to us and a wall, but to them a net. O Agni of the Daylings, thou warder of the Thing-stead, bid men choose a War-duke if none gainsay it."

And without more words he clattered down the Hill, and went and stood with the Laxing band. But the old Dayling arose and blew the horn, and there was at once a great silence, amidst which he said:

"Children of Slains-father, doth the Folk go to the war?"

There was no voice but shouted "yea," and the white swords sprang aloft, and the westering sun swept along a half of them as they tossed to and fro, and the others showed dead-white and fireless against the dark wood.

Then again spake Agni:

"Will ye choose the War-duke now and once, or shall it be in a while, after others have spoken?"

And the voice of the Folk went up, "Choose! Choose!"

Said Agni: "Sayeth any aught against it?" But no voice of a gainsayer was heard, and Agni said:

"Children of Tyr, what man will ye have for a leader and a duke of war?"

Then a great shout sprang up from amidst the swords: "We will have Thiodolf; Thiodolf the Wolfing!"

William Morris