Tomorrow morning the other Thanes will vote. Without Scorann I will not have enough support. I'll see you don't get the majority you need. I will become Jarl and lead the alliance. That is how it shall be. I was born a warrior and I'll die one. Isn't it convenient that your brother vanishes on the eve of the Gathering? Convenient for who? For anyone who wants Rheda to lose the vote. Rheda shall keep peace in the Shieldlands. My vote goes to her. He's dead. What's wrong? I'm better with a blade but I can only make them. You get to use one in battle. Your people don't want justice. They want to see strength. Rheda just sentenced your wife to death. - Yaarrgh! - Arrhh! - Yaarrgh! - Arrrhhh! Vlade was your man. You're behind all this. As Hrothgar's successor, I, Rheda of Herot As Hrothgar's successor, I, Rheda, Thane of Herot, lay my claim to become Jarl of all the Shieldlands before this Gathering. I was just You were perfect. Varr! Where are you? If I don't win this vote, Rate will challenge me to single combat. - You'll win the vote. - We can't know that. Rate. You're still here? You're free of your pledge to avenge Bayen's death. The Skinshifter is dead. But the man who forced it to do his bidding still lives. If I lose and I'm challenged, my brother thinks I'll step aside. Everybody does. Even you. I will never step aside. I will be Jarl before this day's done or I will die. Silence! Rheda, Thane of Herot! As Hrothgar's successor, Rheda, Thane of Herot, lays her claim to be Jarl of all the Shieldlands before this Gathering. The other Thanes must speak their will and vote. Red for 'aye', black for 'no'. As Thane of Bregan, I vote for my sister, Rheda of Herot. Lagrathorn, Thane of the Banning. You made a good wife to Hrothgar, Rheda, but you're not the leader of men he was. The Banning vote no. Rate, Thane of the Varni. First, I bring a message from a dead Thane my brother Scorann. If Beowulf is to serve you as Herot's Reeve, you have his vote. Beowulf, will you serve Rheda as her Reeve? I will serve Herot. Then Scorann, Thane of the Wisdeth, speaks in your favour. But as Thane of the Varni, my view is this. A Thane lies dead, my shieldsman was murdered under her protection and the stench of Skinshifters still lingers within these walls. - She make us vulnerable - MAN: Aye! even with Beowulf at your side. My vote is no. Two for. Two against. Let him pass. Roth of the Mere. My people were massacred by the Warig 20 summers ago. You thought all of us were dead. But some of us live. Before he died, your husband promised us iron weapons. If you give us these, Gorrik, Thane of Mere, will vote for you today. You will have your weapons. However, they must not be simply a gift, - but a dowry. - This was not agreed. The choice is yours. Your son, Slean, must take Gorrik's daughter as a bride and bind our people in blood or you will not have his vote. We thank Gorrik. A marriage between my son and his daughter will make our alliance stronger. VARR: Rheda, Thane of Herot, the vote is yours. You are Jarl of all the peoples and tribes of the Shieldlands. Yes. I vow to lead and protect you in the name of our ancestors, as was the will of my husband. So you think she has your interests at heart now? And you do? Careful uncle or I may have to tell my mother how your man Vlade was behind Scorann's death. Then why haven't you already? I will not be married off to some girl from the Mere. A Thane's daughter. And I wouldn't ask you to do this if there were any other way. - You didn't ask. - Did I have a choice? Whoever manipulated Koll to weaken my position is still out there. Everything hangs in the balance, unless the Mere get what they've asked for. If there's another way tell me. Leave us. Easy. Beowulf is Reeve now. Thank youfor accepting the position. I didn't do it for you. I did it for Hrothgar. Still. You'll go to Mere, collect my son's bride. Bring her back safely. And take Elvina with you. What? - Why? - She knows their ways. - And? - And you will forget her now. I've seen you look at Elvina. And her at you. It's not the way she looks at my son. You don't like it? When my people can eat like this so will I. Take what you can while you can, that's my philosophy. You should have told me of your plans with the Mere. I could have helped establish Slean. Come join your mother and me. You wanted to know who the traitor here is. I've found him. A man who forced a Mudborn to murder Herot's Reeve, whose hirelings killed Scorann of the Wisdeth. A man who sits at your table, eats your food, drinks your wine. who thinks his deeds will go unpunished. He's wrong. Gold found under the boards in the Skinshifter's house. Gold that carries the mark not of Herot but of the Varni. Is this a joke? You found out the creature's dirty secret. Blackmailed it into doing your bidding. We pay gold for your iron. These coins could have come from anywhere. I helped save your life. Rheda, you believe this? Without my warriors this new Jarl of yours is powerless. Without the Varnis you're just a sorry collection of farmers, fishers and miners. You need us! You leave me no choice. My first act as Jarl is to expel the Varni from the Alliance. Without honour, no matter how powerful, a man is no better than a Mudborn. This is a joke. Hm? A joke. - No! - You ordered Bayen's death. - And my brother? - For the good of all whatever price need be paid. - Your words. - Beowulf. Now is not the time. - Next time - Next time we meet it'll be as enemies. You're going then? I'm not a Thane's son. I have no choice. You saw what choice I have. My mother wants to drive us apart. That's why she's sending you. Maybe she's right. You'll be married to another woman. We have no future. - I won't let it happen. - There are no happy endings. Don't you understand that? - What future have we ever had? - I've never let that stand between us. And yet here we are. You may come to love this girl. You're going with them? - Is that a problem? - Why would it be? - You've greased them. - This is some of my best work - for some girl's dowry. - For Herot's future. - You have a gift. - If the dowry doesn't reach Mere, the deal Gorrik made with Rheda is void. It's two days hard ride east to Old Mere. - Then? - Beyond the marshes. The Island of Dunes. My parents were of the Mere. Gorrik knew a way. The Warig couldn't reach us. That's how we survived. What are they like, the Warig? Ugly, stupid and brutal. I know the kind. I don't think I introduced my daughter. He's not man enough to be my mother, let alone my father. We should leave. I'm sick of hearing stories and never having the chance to live them. You will, one day. Yah! Harh! Did you see something? It's nothing. She has the subtlety of a stalking troll. Less. Fetch her in to ride with us or send her home. Nah, I'll leave her out there a bit longer. You heard what she said. I'm not man enough to be her mother. But are you man enough for her mother? Maybe that's the real problem. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey! No. Hey. Hey! Argh! Uh! The Warig. Stay with the dowry! - Don't be a fool. - Go on! Vishka trailed us. We'll stay here. Argh! Vishka! Vishka. We have to move. The Warig will be back with friends. Come on, let's go. I know a place nearby. Go on! - I was about to ride out. - As was I. How Lagrathorn voted is of no importance now. What's done is done. - Do you agree? - Yes. Yes, of course. Then you should know what I'm planning. - Which is? - One law, one custom, one people. Common laws cut into pillars and placed in every settlement across the Shieldlands. Each Thane will see that their people adhere to it or answer to me. Common laws decided by you? I'll listen to what others have to say, but yes. The laws are decided up on by each Thane and then agreed by their own people. That is our way. We can't cling to the old ways and forge a new future. I'll serve to our alliance, as I swore to, but I'll be damned if I'll have any part of this. Rheda, they are not ready for this. People are always afraid of change. You always wanted to be loved, Abrecan. That's your failing. That's why you could never be Jarl. And you are? Because you shared Hrothgar's bed? You don't mean that. No. No, forgive me. I can be blunt but it comes only from love. As Bregan's Thane, I will see your laws hold there. Your advice is always welcome. But the decisions must be will always be mine. Alone. Of course. Leaving, Uncle? To take news of the Gathering to my people. What news? You could tell them the Varni are banished for your crimes. That you're in my debt. She'll not give you what you want to be Thane. I can. It's been too long, nephew, since you visited us in Bregan. Take Vishka inside. We'll put the horses in the corral. What the hell are you doing in my house? - Get out of here! - Malek. It's all right. It's all right. It's all right, Aaron. - Who are you people? - Beowulf, Reeve of Herot. Herot's laws doesn't hold here in the edge-lands. - We can pay you for your trouble. - Keep your coin and your trouble. The girl needs help. - What do you need? - Grease, if you have it, and honey to pack the wound. - Aaron. - Quickly, she may lose her arm. Don't do this! Not my arm! - Vishka, put the knife down. - It's my fighting arm! Please. Save the arm. Just take out the arrow. Get me that. She should drink this. It's strong. Bite. Whatever she told you it's going to hurt like hell. This is a Warig arrow. They don't attack without a reason. You must have done something. She entered their burial ground. And you came here? With or without the girl, we have to keep moving. We're putting these people in danger. The horses! Arrgh! - Ughhh! - Rarrh! You may not care what happens to my people but if Gorrik doesn't get those weapons, what of your own? Rheda's claim to be Jarl will be hollow. Rate's an enemy. There will be bloodshed. And for what a foolish girl who doesn't know her place? Out there the Warig would cut us down before we even got a hundred yards. If you haven't the guts for it I'll go alone. We stay together. - You have no sway over me. - I have this. The dowry is my responsibility until we get to Mere. Door. We wouldn't be in this mess if she hadn't desecrated the burial ground. I'd have left my own daughter out there if it meant getting those weapons to my people. I will not give up. It's still there. But it needs stitching. Did you do this? I used to do a bit of carving myself. Fence pegs, mostly. You're a destroyer not a builder. Come away from him now. There. The Warig they took the horses so we couldn't leave, didn't they? What can I do to help? Find something you can use in a close fight. - Fence pegs? - I worked a farm. On your own? You had a family. In another life. What's this? Warig work. From the burial ground, isn't it? Isn't it? - Vishka? - I didn't realise it was important and then I was going to tell you but We have to give it back. Now. Malek? No! It's our only hope. Malek. Malek! - Malek, if I'd known she'd stolen it - You'd have still come here. The girl was in your care. Malek. - Malek. - No. Kragen their chief and his priest they want us to take it to 'em. - Back up. - No. Look, they wanted it, they got it. Now back up - now! Malek, don't be a fool! The archers! Here. Please. The people that took it were strangers. They didn't know any better. We've always shown you respect. We just want to go on working our land in peace. Thank you. Thank you. Arh! Inside! Inside! Something's going on. They're trying to frighten us. Well, it's working. Barricade the doors. Get up and help. Vishka, you did a stupid thing. Is that supposed to make me feel better? I don't care how you feel. These things that happened are your fault. And the only way to make them better is to help us stay alive. Fatherly advice. Do you hear that? - The boy! - They're coming round the back. Quickly, move. Get the door. Leave her! Look at them. It's her they want. - Let them have her. - No! - No! No! - Arh! My people must live. Uh! I've got you. They're pulling back. Why? Oh, no. This isn't the end. They won't stop now. BRECA: What do we do? They are out there somewhere. They're going to kill us all aren't they? We all know what they're after. Her. She's what they want. I'm taking her back to the burial ground. No. - What do you mean? - I take her out of here. Ride through them. Buy the rest of you the time to get out of here. Those drums are summoning more Warig. I can't. You don't understand. Elvina, please, they'll kill me. Vishka, if we stay they'll kill us all. It has to be your choice. Get food and water, only what you can carry, enough to see you to the next settlement. Come on, Aaron. You and Breca will have to carry the dowry. You head out of here as fast as you can. Go east, away from the forest. You don't stop, you don't look back. I'll look after the girl. And yourself. We'll see you on the road to Mere. Your family, what happened to them? When they needed me, I I wasn't there. Vishka. There won't be any arrows. They want you alive. If you're going to be a warrior, this is what it's about. - Should I? - Look. Only their priests can enter. Hold. Two of us on one horse even on foot they'd catch up to us in an hour or two. Here. I know what will slow them down. This ends here. The Island of Dunes. Home of the Mere. Good to see you again, friend. You're alive? Is that going to be awkward? Should it be? No. That's it. Now all we have to do is give Gorrik the dowry and get Slean's bride safely back to Herot. What could possible go wrong. Have a little respect for your elders and betters. - Vlade? - Abrecan wants to know if you'll help him become Jarl of the Shieldlands in Rheda's place. And the prize you are here to take from us Mara my firstborn. She's burning up. What's wrong with her? - Sea fever. - My father would rather it was I who was sick. No father would ever wish that. The Warig believe that a gland found in the sand wrym's neck - can be used to fight the fever. - We have to hunt the sand wrym. You know when you're drunk and the ground moves? - What if you're not drunk? - Sand wryms! [1]


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