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People fear Skinshifters more than any other Mudborn because they can live amongst us undetected. - Can you find it and kill it? - If it's still here. Rate wishes to see himself made Jarl of the Shieldlands instead of you. I'll see you don't get the majority you need at the Gathering. It's you! You killed them. To protect my family. I believe the Skinshifter was acting on someone else's part. It was about stirring up the tribes. Uh! Uhh My son, has he returned? That's Slean's horse! Hey! Get away from there! Oi! I hear there will soon be a new widow in town. Ah! Uhh. It's me you want. Let him go. Can we kill him now? Someone will pay to have him back. In one piece! Look at the sword. - What do you say? - I say he's barely able to grow a beard. And this? This is a man's blade. Beowulf. Feel the weight. 'Twas a gift from my father. Uhh! Get up! Move your arses! If we don't get Scorann to Ramin's Tomb, we don't get paid. Where I come from, we have a name for scum like you. Move! When Slean's horse passed this way, it still had a rider. My brother? If Slean met Scorann, it wasn't here. These lands aren't as safe as they once were. There was a Mudborn, out by the Silver Lake. A strange thing. With a severed hand? We met. If you're scared, you can wait here. And leave the fate of The Shieldlands in your hands? I'm here for Slean. Did the Skinshifter regain consciousness yet? As soon as Koll can be questioned, I'll be informed. Until such time, his wife is our only means of finding out who ordered the creature to murder my Reeve. I'll have her brought to you. Why aren't you out searching for Scorann and my son? I ordered the Huskarla be stationed around Herot. It must be seen to be protected. Your people are scared and angry. They don't understand why you've chosen to keep the Skinshifter alive. Tomorrow morning, the other Thanes will vote at the Gathering. Without Scorann, I will not have enough support to become Jarl. Scorann will be found. His brother Rate and Beowulf are out there looking for him now. There are no finer warriors in The Shieldlands. They will find Slean, I am certain. Admit it, you've lost the trail. I heard you could handle yourself in a fight. - Could? - Mm. All those years in the Farlands might have left you a little soft. I can still handle myself. You look a little soft yourself. A man becomes Thane, all he has to do is talk a good fight. It's at least a week old. A Warig? Come on! Faster! Urgh! Drop it. Drop it before you hurt yourself. Give the man his sword. Urgh! Uhh! No. Watch me talk it to death. - Come on. - Yaah! Ahhh! Uhhh! In my tribe, if a man loses his sword to an enemy, he's no longer fit to be a warrior. Really? We let him walk into the mountains and die alone. And what if he loses his sword to some half-grown Warig? Ah, then we usually just get it back. And let him die of shame. Scorann's men. - Leave him for me. - No. Another day. Slean's not here. Come. We have no time to lose. There! She's coming! - There she is! - She's here! The Skinshifter's wife! Kill! Kill her! They should stop this before it gets out of control. Where are you taking her? That thing they're keeping in there, that she calls a husband, butchered my son! I am sorry for what happened to your son. But what Koll did, he was forced to do. He's a good man. Urghh! Ma! Ma! No! - No! - Aah! This isn't right. The punishment for consorting with a Skinshifter is death! Ma! Only if she knew. She knew! Didn't you? You knew! Deny it. I deny it. I never knew. Say it. What is he? A filthy Mudborn. Louder! A filthy Mudborn! A killer! Who deceived me and my daughter! Stand aside! Move! What do you think you're doing? My orders were for you to bring this woman safely to me. Not stand aside and watch as she is torn apart! No! I claim this woman's life for the life of my son. Rheda, I would willingly give her my life. It means nothing to me any more. But I still have a daughter. It still has value to her. Please? Your people want her dead. But I need her alive. Or I'll never know who the Skinshifter was acting for. This woman has a right to make her case. At trial. Have her brought to my chambers. What? In my tribe, she would have been cut down the moment that thing was revealed. Different tribes, different laws. Your loyalty to your sister is quite touching. But, if you were back in Bregan, would you, as its Thane, countenance a trial, for someone who slept between the same sheets as a Skinshifter? No. But we're not in Bregan. Are we? Hey. If Scorann isn't here for the vote, your sister might be in trouble. Don't underestimate her. A little early in the day for that, don't you think? As Thane, I can show you mercy, but, if I'm to do that, you must help me now. I knew nothing of what Koll was. - Who did he act for? - I don't know. - Sylvi - I swear it! I think she speaks the truth. If you don't help me Rheda, when others doubted your becoming Thane, I spoke out for you. I would never lie. Not to you. This isn't about a ransom. They're being paid to take me. Isen! Move! The embers are warm. You think they have Slean, too? It doesn't strike you as convenient that your brother vanishes on the eve of the Gathering? Convenient for who? For anyone who wants Rheda to lose the vote. You assume Scorann would cast his vote for her. But he has the sense to see the Shieldlands need a strong leader. And that would be you? At what price? For the good of all? Whatever price need be paid. The life of a brother? Aaah! Urgh! Uhh. Get up! My ankle. Now! Urgh. Move! Don't let them get away! They're getting away! Move it! Come on! Jump! You could have told me you were - going to do that! - I didn't know. You're enjoying this. Sssh-sssh-sssh! Spread out! Come on, move on! Aaah! Hold him! Aaah Let's go. The ankle, how is it? I didn't know you cared. - Aaah! - Scorann! Uhh Uhh Your new Thane gives a Skinshifter a bed and its wife a trial! Next, she'll have Mudborn at your tables, drinking your mead! Perhaps Hrothgar made a mistake in over-looking his son and appointing his wife as Thane! The laws of Herot were laid down under my husband's rule, but they will be followed under mine. Though you have to wonder whose hand were they written in. We're not here to discuss my husband, but hers. And, despite your rank, I would ask you remember that. If I judge you guilty, your life is the smelter's. That is the law. Did you know what your husband was? No. Eight summers ago, I had a child with a man. He He used to beat us. Koll saved us. He took my daughter as his own. We came back to my home, here, to Herot, but I never knew what he was. I never did! I believed in the good man I saw. Not the creature that was hidden. How is it possible to lie with a man every night for years and not know who he is? I lay with my son's father one night and I knew he was a good-for-nothing! May I speak on Sylvi's part? Quiet! Let her speak. Sixtan, you baked Koll's bread. And you You brought him food in this hall. You took his money when he lost at dice. We all made him welcome. None of us knew. This man was appointed by Hrothgar to help Bayen keep the law. If he was fooled, then what chance that this humble, untutored woman would know any different? Would you really have Rheda make this child an orphan for a mistake of which we're all guilty? We are on trial here. As much as her mother. Make your judgment and be done. Yes! Make a decision! Have the child brought to my chambers. Where is she going? Wait. Rheda wishes to take counsel with me first. Give your judgement now! You find the woman innocent? Elvina spoke well. Lucky, because I don't think you'd have had it in you to have her executed. The law must be upheld. Yeah. Pretty words. Pretty mouth. You're drunk. If Scorann doesn't arrive your future will be in my hands. We're old friends. How can I help you make up your mind? Hrothgar was a great warrior. But could he have led, as well, without your words in his ear? Then you know I can lead. I know you can counsel a leader. But this trial shows you are naive. Your people don't want justice. They want to see strength. - And they want blood. - I know my people. I should get back to them now. I could lead. And you could counsel. As my wife. Your bed must be cold. Hrothgar was my husband. I'll not take another. - I'd be a good husband to you. - You should leave now. You will take me, because you need me. And because I I've always, always wanted you. Unless you want to leave here carrying your guts, step away. Then you will lose all this. - My Thane? - I told you to wait! My mistake. Get out. Thank you. Erm The girl. When you're ready. You served a Thane like me? There are no Thanes in the lands I come from, only an Emperor. - You were in his guard? - I was its master. Uhh. The Outcasts, where are they headed? Speak and I'll finish you cleanly. Hold your tongue and we'll leave you for the trolls. They'll have finished with those Wisdeth guards by now. Be along for you soon. Ramin's Tomb. We're to hold Scorann there, until tomorrow. After the Gathering. Who are you working for? A man named Vlade will come and pay us. That's all we were told. Torr! Where is he? You want to go back and look for him? Do it yourself. One less share to worry about. Move! Aah. What's wrong? Nothing. I know you're scared. It's all right. I think we're all a bit scared right now. I need you to help me with something. You know your da is in trouble. You'd like this to stop, wouldn't you? Well, it won't. Even if I let your da go people will see him and they'll say, "That's the man from Herot. " And you'll never be safe. They'll see his face and they'll know. - And they'll come after you. - But he could change! He could Change into a Skinshifter. It was a secret, wasn't it? Your ma said never tell. People wouldn't understand. But I do understand. What is this? Do you want to get paid or not? - Move it! - Hurry up! Move yourselves! Your brother and Slean could get killed in the confusion. Unless that's what you to happen? If that's what I wanted, he'd see my face before he died. The jewellery. Give it to me. It's not jewellery. Why? Uhh. Clean up your leg. Who is it that wants to make some money? Uhh. Axel! Oh-ho, yeah! Come on! That's Hrothgar's blade, isn't it? He gave it to you? I had to take it out of his dead hands. He may have made Rheda Thane, but who else could he give that to? Beowulf. He's back. I heard that, even as a boy, he had a way with killing. There's none better. Urghh! You have Scorann? Who are you? Vlade? - Where's the coin? - You'll get it. - How did this happen? - An accident. Let's talk price. It was agreed. Beowulf? We agreed coin. You, fetch Axel. What are you waiting for? Tell him Vlade is here. Axel! Axel! - Uhh! - Come on! I'll catch my breath. Go ahead, find that precious sword. Uh. Aah. Why? My sons will be farmers. And they will breed with farmers. And they will rule farmers. And they will be happy with that, because that is all they have ever known. But I was born a warrior and I'll die one. - Yaaa-aah! - Ah! Aaah Uhh. - Vlade? - Dead. - My brother? - In the tombs. Rate Beowulf, few men live up to their reputation. You are one of them. There's no time for this. Still jealous of my praise, brother? You don't have long. Scorann, give me your vote. Your concern is touching. Speak the words. These are my words. Rheda shall keep peace in the Shieldlands. - You hunger for war. - We're blood. I am a Varni and you are my brother. But I was Thane of the Wisdeth. And Rheda will protect them. - My vote goes to her. - You can't do this. There's a condition. No. Let him rest. This was his place of glory. - Scorann? - He's dead. How? When I left him, he was It wasn't your fault. He chose the time and the place. Then you came for nothing. No. I came for you. You said you didn't know his true nature. But that was a lie. You knew what you married. No. I Your daughter told me. There we are! I loved him. I knew what he was. And I didn't care. Is that so wrong? The sentence is death. To be carried out immediately by the smelter's hand. - I underestimated you. - It's the law. Quiet! Sylvi. I can't help you now. But if you tell me who made Koll do the things he did, then I will make sure your child is well looked after. He didn't tell me. All he ever wanted was to protect us. No. And you call the Mudborn beasts! No, Ma! No, no! No, Ma! Wake up. Wake up! Not so scary in your cage now. Give us a show. What do you think I am? A freak? What else? When your ancestors were living in caves in the Farlands my bloodline were priests to the giant-kings that ruled here. Hm We walked this black earth like princes! Rheda just sentenced your wife to death. Make you mad? Run! Go! Leave! Don't look back. Uhh! Come. Come. Get her inside. Get her inside. Where's his wife? I called off the search for Sylvi and the child. The Gathering is in the morning. - My son? - Lives. And Scorann? My brother is dead. Where is Slean? You killed the Skinshifter. Now it can't tell us who set this all in motion. I suppose not. But what if someone knew the man who tried to ransom Scorann? Remembered his name. From years ago. All through the ride home I couldn't bring it to mind. Where I knew him from. But then I remembered. From when I was a boy. When I came to Bregan. To visit you and to see the Whale Road for the first time. Vlade was your man. You're behind all this. You wanted to be Jarl, but you didn't want to be seen to betray your own sister. It almost worked. And what now? Slean! Your uncle saved my life today. Did he? Really? The Skinshifter's woman, did she talk? Then we're no closer to knowing who was behind its actions. Or the taking of Scorann. I'm sure the truth will out. I lay my claim to become Jarl of all the Shieldlands before this Gathering. Is this a joke? - Next time - The next time we meet, it'll be as enemies. - Do you see something? - It's nothing. The Warig, what are they like? Ugly, stupid and brutal. Out there, the Warig would cut us down before we even got a hundred yards! If you're ever going to be a warrior, this is what it's about. Aaah! [1]

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