I am Keela of the Mere. I agreed to this marriage to strengthen the tribes. If war lies ahead, then we'll all be thankful for it even Slean. I can't think of anything worse than being in love. Who said anything about love? This is about power. I don't like this place. Then go home. Face that lynch mob. There are two sides to every story. The Shieldings need a true Jarl. You could be one and I the other. Whoever's behind this is a man and a traitor. A traitor in Herot? I don't think so. - Who's that? - Abrecan's woman. Let's go. - Saray. - Rheda. I'm so pleased to finally meet you. How's Abrecan? - His wound? - That's better. He asked I stand for him at Slean's union with Keela. Saray, you are my brother's love. And so you are my sister. You must have seen places much grander than this in the Farlands. - None ruled by a woman. - (LAUGHS) You must each choose a second to be your companion and look after your interests during the rituals. And you'll attend your binding of friends and kin. - I have no kin here. - My mother and others will join you. Then tomorrow we'll meet at the grey stones for the truth telling. And after that, it's all over with. Keela, this is Saray from Bregan. - You know my son. - Your bride is beautiful. Thank you. If you'll excuse me. Rheda, must I be guarded all the time? Your marriage to my son must go ahead or your father will revoke his support for me and the other Thanes will question my right to be Jarl of the Shieldlands. I don't really understand such things. But I do know that I must marry Slean. And I know I will come to love him. SLEAN: Why are you here, Hane? For your wedding. (ARMOUR CLANKS) And to see you play the good son. As your uncle requested. (DOOR SHUTS) Perfume for the bride. Milked from a lake viper. It only has to touch her skin. She'll be dead in moments. This wedding cannot take place. Abrecan is counting on you. - Where's the Reeve? - Why? What's it to you? - I'm the Reeve. - Then we're looking for work. - What's your trade? - Carpenters. Then they can use you on the wall. I'm going there now, why don't you come? Maybe tomorrow. Who are you? A friend of the Reeve. Do you have any other friends? Like I said, I've things to attend to. That him? The other one's the Reeve. Have to re-think how we handle it. (SHARPENS KNIFE) - Elvina. - No, it's me. Saray. - I'm meant to give you this. - Oh. Varr said I can't accept gifts. It'll be our secret, then. All brides should smell sweet for their wedding. But remember it's our secret. Sit down. We'll take what we came for while they're nursing sore heads. (DOOR OPENS) You wanted to talk? I need a second. To support me. You're serious? Call it building bridges. All right. Keela, it's time for your rituals. Elvina, will you be my second? (RAUCOUS LAUGHTER) I like the dress. Very fetching. From the bride. For the game. We need to meet. Discuss any reasons the marriage shouldn't go ahead. If we don't fulfil our duties, their union could be void. - Go away. - The future of the Shieldlands depends upon it. - All right. - (BOTH SMIRK) Later. (ALL CHEER) Beowulf! (INAUDIBLE) (ALL FALL SILENT) Let's celebrate. - In the old way! - (ALL ROAR) - Ready? - Ready. Would you put it on for me? Please? Oh, the cloth absorbs the smell. - Use your fingers. - Of course. - I'm so sorry. - It was a mistake. That's all. (EXCITED CHATTER) We help Slean retrieve the token to give to his bride. Sounds easy enough. (GRUNTS FIERCELY) Yaaah! Argh! (ROARS) Whoa! LILA: Breca! Aaaah! Open the gate! (RELIEVED SIGH) (CROWD CHEER) Come on, you stinking Mudborn. Argh! (CROWD CHEER) Come on! (CLAPS) Slean. Slean, the tower! Come on! (CROWD GASP) Gimme your arm. (CROWD CHEER AND WHOOP) Come on! Slean. (DOOR OPENS) Quiet, Keela's sleeping. So are they ready for this marriage? I see no season why Slean shouldn't marry Keela, do you? He's still in love with you. Isn't that a reason? No, I don't think it is. He must put his own feelings aside and do what is best for all. Would you put aside what you want for the sake of others? It's what we all must do. If a man or a woman spends their whole life pleasing others, then they're not living at all. Be yourself. Or nothing at all. It must be very liberating to think like that. Try it. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) VARR: Tell a truth at each stone. Only then can you look upon one another and light the fire signifying your union. You will then be man and wife. Have you ever loved anyone? No. Do you really want to marry me? Yes. With all my heart. I thought before I came here that you would be In Mere, they say that all the men in Herot are filthy and smell of charcoal. (CHUCKLES) I wish we'd known each other then. When we were young. Do you want to be Thane? Argh! Argh! What are you doing? I have to do this. This is what you want. If she dies, you'll be Thane. This was never planned. She's innocent to all this. Tell my uncle I am done with him. Go. Go! Get out! Are you all right? She tried to kill me. You let her go. - We must go back. - No. We aren't done here. Don't you understand? I've betrayed my mother, I've plotted with my uncle. That woman was sent here to kill you! But you saved me. Why? I don't know. You have no part in any of this, you're just a piece being moved in a game of which you have no understanding. Don't I? I killed my sister. She is the one who should have been with you today. Even as the world turned to dust, Mara had everything. People loved he because she was kind. My father loved her because she was first. And she had Rowan. And then the chance to escape. To never feel hunger. Or fear. To need for nothing. She died of a fever. She was recovering. I poisoned her. (CHUCKLES) Slean, I will never breathe a word of what you have done, of what happened here today. Walk away. I owe you my life, you owe me nothing. Or stay. I can't. Because you love Elvina? (LAUGHS BITTERLY) I know, but she is Beowulf's. He came to her bed last night. We don't choose who we love. Or who loves us. But we can choose who we make our way through this world with. Light the fire with me. You wish to be Thane? I can help you. Against whoever stands in your way. (HORN SOUNDS) They can't take it away from you now, Rheda. With this marriage, you are Jarl of the Shieldlands. These laws of the Jarl are to be obeyed by all tribes. The life of a murderer will be forfeit, unless blood money is paid. A common thief will be branded and cast out. Fixed prices on all goods traded in the Shieldlands will be set by the Jarl. (CROWD MOAN) What right does she have to set the price of fish? It is us who risk our lives each summer to catch the pandiri. You should have told me about these laws. You were where your people needed you the most at the watch. I could not disrupt you. You were distracted enough. Meaning? You need a clear mind to see the pandiri. However, yours is with matters in Herot. When it should be here, with the sea. Abrecan, look around. Your people are nervous. The pandiri are late. Some think you missed them again. Is that what you think? No. But if you fail, Bregan will have another poor, hungry winter. And your people will be unforgiving. The council will elect a new Thane. Go back to the watch. Your people are relying on you. Forget Herot. (SPITS) Argh! Hey! Get him out of here. We're headhunters. Breca's wanted for murder, you know it. - We act under law. - I'm the law here. Kill him! Kill Breca now! Yaah! I'll do it! Stop, wait! Do that here without any explanation and we're all dead. - The boy's name is Kye. - Yeah, I know his face. He hired us to bring Breca to law after he escaped the noose. If that's so, why try to snatch him away, why not just ask? (LAUGHS) Ask the man who helped him escape the first time? You're the Reeve here now, Beowulf, and protector of these good people. So we'll overlook that. But we must have Breca. (BRECA GROANS) Beowulf, believe me, I didn't mean to kill anyone. Shut up. Given your interest, we ask this man to be put to trial for the crimes he's committed. Get up. ABRECAN: You have failed me. Rheda is now Jarl! Herot could be moving against our gates as we speak! When did we become the killer of young women? What do you mean by that? We need a strong leader at the heart of the Shieldlands, but if you are that man, then take it like a warrior, shouting your intentions for others to hear! You have hid in the shadows for too long, Abrecan. If you want power, take it. But with honour. Remember who you are speaking to. VARR: Speak your piece. The boy demands Breca's life or blood money for the killing of his brother. You said it was a woman's husband. Detail. - I didn't mean to kill anyone. - Hurry up! You, help! - Get him down. - I said hurry up! - Hurry up! - (HORSES WHINNY) Apple man, please, whoever you are, don't let them do this. Argh! (WHIPS CRACK AND HORSES WHINNY) (ROPE STRAINS) Thank you. I owe you my life. Stop there or I'll kill you too! This isn't done! I'll hunt you down to the ends of the earth if I have to. Breca swept my ma off her feet. That's what he does seeks out widows he thinks have coin and then he steals it and runs, this dirt-licker. Abandoned my mother and took off with everything of value she had. So my brother pursued him. And it cost him his life. Breca, is it true? Breca! In a way. VARR: The price for a life is 50 silver coin. Do you have it, Breca? Take him. No! I'll pay the blood money for the boy's brother. Lila, do you even have 50 silver coins? - I don't want coin, I want blood! - Silence! You have until noon. The blood money is paid, Breca will go free. You lied to me. Pandiri. Pandiri! Sound the horn! Get the nets! Pandiri! Hurry, to the river! Hurry, hurry, get across. I'll cast you a line. Secure the ropes. Tie it off quickly. Stand by, they're coming. Wait for it. Come on. Come on, come on, come on, come on. Can you see them? I saw them. (ABRECAN MUTTERS TO HIMSELF) Get out. Abrecan. - (CUP SMASHES) - Get out! - Don't let them do this to you. - I'm not letting anyone do anything. The council have been called. Harken wants to replace me because I've missed the pandiri! You've failed me, Slean's married Keela, Rheda is Jarl! You don't understand. Tell the council our enemies are gathering, that your sister cannot rule, that you want to save the Shieldlands. Tell them that's why you've been distracted. Tell them the truth. The truth? The truth is I brought an assassin into Bregan, I have been bedding a courtesan and I have been a fool for doing so. This is Hane talking. Not you. Say it. Why don't you say it? Cos you're my mother. I'm sorry. I knew Breca had killed a man, but he spun me a different story. It's nobody's fault but his. Lila, no one would think any less of you Whatever he did would have done I can't let them kill him. In that case, take this. It's all I've got. You have it? This isn't 50 coins. There's not enough. You should know, the moment we're through that gate, the boy'll finish Breca. And I'll hold him while he does. - There was enough coin? - It's paid. Try your hand at headhunting, Beowulf, it's better paid. - Lila? - Leave this, Beowulf, please. - Thanks. - You won't speak to Lila. You get on your horse, you leave Herot, and you never come back. Am I clear? - Beowulf - Am I clear? You have no place here. A boat leaves Bregan tomorrow for the Farlands. Be on it. Yah! Come on. If Herot's attacked, I wanna fight properly. If Herot's attacked, I'll protect you. - (SIGHS) - That's what I'm worried about. Really? Well, let's go again, then. Let's. (MOANS) This isn't about Mudborn. This is about Breca, you miss him. I don't want to talk about him. What I want to know is why you have to lie about training me. You know why. The Huskarla way is for those born a Huskarla. Well, it's wasted on you. You don't even wanna be one. Is that so? Now, you see, I knew Huskarla were training today. Right? I didn't know we were training blacksmiths! Go. Now! HUSKARLA WARRIOR: Fighting girls now, is he? And that looked more like the blacksmith was training the Huskarla, from what I could see. (BANGS STAFF) The order of the council is called to meet. I know you think I have failed you. That I have been distracted from my duties in Bregan. I cannot deny it. I have. But there are reasons. The Warig are rising. The Wulfing have attacked. Our enemies detect Herot's weakness because it is ruled by a woman. You speak treason against your own blood. This land needs a warrior at its heart! To bring its people out of the darkness. A man of strength who will take control! You talk of treachery against your sister to cover the simple fact you've failed to provide for your people. What is the point of having fish if we are all to be slaughtered? I stand here to place a vote of no confidence in our Thane. Those who oppose Abrecan as Thane. It is decided. A new Thane will be appointed and announced in the morning. (WOODEN SWORDS CLACK) (GRUNTS OF COMBAT) (GROANS) Up. Next. Who's next? Who's next? No one. Don't think this a game! We've grown lazy, distracted. And it ends here. From now on, we will train as my father Hrothgar did. And we will do this every day, over and over, until we're ready. Back to it! (WOODEN SWORDS CLACK AND MEN GRUNT) I didn't mean to interupt. You're a good teacher. A great Thane needs a strong army behind him. I hope you slept well. I had a guard stationed at the door. We don't have to share a bed, but if we don't share a room, people will talk. People will talk whatever we do. I've always loved watching Herot from up here. It looks so invincible. If I tell my mother the truth, I'll lose her trust. And with it, any chance of ever ruling. What if Abrecan attacks? Herot could fall. You offer no advice? I trust you. Whatever you decide will be the right choice. And when you make it, I'll be here. You will be Thane. You just have to believe it. Pandiri. Pandiri! It's the pandiri! Sound the horn! I order you, sound the horn! Abrecan, leave it. The run is lost. The pandiri are coming in on the tide. If we don't act now, our chance will be lost. Why? You there, you there, help me with the net. Help me with the nets, quickly. Why won't you help me? (GRUNTS) BOY: Pandiri! Pandiri! Pandiri! Go! Go, quickly! Hurry, hurry, go! Go and find me a sack. People shouldn't leave their valuables lying around. I was trying to figure where you'd be. The season's too late to cross the mountains, so to get to the Farlands, you'd have to catch a boat. From Bregan. I didn't think I'd make it in time. Do I owe you money? You owe my mother an apology. But I'm a warrior and honour is at stake. So I'll take your life instead. (LAUGHS) Go home to mummy, little girl. Argh! Hey there. (STABS HIM) Argh! I didn't need your help! Clearly. He made my mother sleep with him. Because she didn't have enough money to save you! She told me after you left, so it was my right to kill him! (SNIFFS) Be thankful you didn't kill him, Vishka. Blood on your hands is hard to wash off. (SNIFFS) The bridge is out. It's over. Without the nets in place, the catch will be lost. No, it's not. Be ready. Abrecan, no! Hold that rope steady. Quickly, they'll eat you alive! Pandiri, pandiri! Abrecan, hurry! They're here! Pandiri, pandiri! Right, give him slack. Quickly, everybody! Keep going! Hold it tight! Now tighten it up! Pull! (ROARS) Look at this. A catch they will sing songs about. - (CHEER) - A catch you brought in. For those of you who followed and believed, I thank you. And for those of you who didn't, I am here to tell you I am Bregan's Thane! - (CHEER) - I have a vision for us. To be the greatest tribe in all the Shieldlands! Who won't follow laws set down by a Jarl who can barely lift a sword. But to do this, I need you to help me, to follow me, to fight with me, to battle with Herot. - Who is with me? - (CHEER) - Who will follow me? - (CHEER) - Who will fight for me? - (CHEER) CROWD: Abrecan, Abrecan, Abrecan! I need to warn Beowulf. (CHEERS) Bregan! I told her not to go alone. It's dangerous out there. Elvina! Where did you find it? With two others, in the woods to the east. (SNARLS) Elvina! The war bands are coming together. This time, they mean to destroy us. All of us. Beowulf! [1]


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