Theya proposed building a new shrine to Kero Fin. She performed a divination, using a pig, and located a suitable grove in the Pig Woods, in Stael's Hills, where she consecreated the shrine. She reinterred the bones of several clan members there, including Vigdis. When Vigdis's bones were dug up, she accused Korol of already seeking a mistress.
Vargast led a party of warriors to Clearwine, where King Barngradus received them. Korol was smitten with Onelisin, the sister of Endaros, one of the king's housecarls.
News came that Jardanroste Polestar, king of the horse folk, had been seen in Boskovi lands. Barngradus mobilized all the clans, except the Arnoring, and maneuvered his forces to behind the riders, who attacked once they realized they were cut off. Arnborn, Korol, and Baranthos fought well, though Illig took a serious wound. Vargast took a noble hostage.
When news came that the Malani were having a moot, the Varmandi sought leave to return home. Luckily, the Greydog clan refused to muster, and the Malani didn't attack.
Maniski Varmandsson gave gifts to Snorri Stormblown, Apple Dronlan, and Hrothgar, all men who had less influence with Varmand of late. He also pestered Heorl for a legal pretext to raid Orleving lands.
At the harvest festival, Theya read poor omens, despite an excellent harvest. She said they indicated the presence of the Defilers.
The Varmandi paid another visit to Clearwine for the cattle fair. Korol traded well, and gave gifts to Onelisin, but inadvertently offended her with a poem.
Baranthos found a half-eaten cow near where the client had disappeared. Theya performed a divination, and learned that Ragnaglar's descendents were raping the descendents of the Earth Mother, though not those with close kinship to the Varmandi. Other carls reported mutilated cows, and it was confirmed this was the work of broos. All of the befouled carcasses were burnt, but Alegar's wife still took ill.
The clan decided to perform a Summons of Evil to eliminate the source of these broos. However, nobody was willing to be the scapegoat who would assemble the wicker figures, until finally Asborn Gunnarsson volunteered. His father angrily disowned him, and he was ritually stripped of his posessions and position before he made the 13 effigies.
The ritual was successful -- Korol gagged on the stench as the hideous monsters appeared. All were killed, though the leader was nearly invulnerable, until Vargast finally killed it with one mighty blow. Everyone then jumped through the fire to cleanse themselves, but Venharl's wound became horribly infected anyway.
News came from the Malani that Erland Malansson had attacked Frohdi Strongblade in his hall and killed him. Everyone agreed that this was the kinslaying that had brought the broos.
Asborn, now known as Horselegs, wintered with the Colymar.
Heorl became a godi after Orlanth sent unmistakable omens of his readiness.
Korol had a daughter in Clearwine, named Inganna.
Part 8 | Part 10
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