A Midgardian's Saga
Skald Sturles Wisbaneson
Description: The skald that Brynja defeated for the honor of the hall when the heroes first came to Vardaborg. He was an incredibly skilled skald.
Story: When the heroes first entered, they saw the Jarl involved in hearing poetry and listing to epics. Sturles was the one speaking, and relayed a story of Hymir, Thor, and Tyr;
“Thor did say:
May we win, do you think, this whirler of water?
Ja, friend, we can, if cunning we are.”
Forward that day with speed they fared,
From Asgard came they to Egil’s home;
The goats with horns bedecked he guarded;
Then they sped to the hall where Hymir dwelt.
The youth found his wife, that greatly he loathed,
And full nine hundred heads she had;
But the other fair with gold came forth,
And the bright-browed one brought beer to her son.
Kinsman of jotnar, beneath the kettle
Will I set you both, you heroes bold;
For many a time, my dear-loved mate
To guests is wrathful and grim of mind."
Late to his home, the misshapen Hymir,
The jotnar harsh, from his hunting came;
The icicles rattled as in he walked,
For the fellow’s chin-forest frozen was.
Hail to thee, Hymir! Good thoughts may you have;
Here has your son to our hall now come;
For him have we waited, and his way was long;
And with him fares the foeman of Hroth,
The friend of mankind, and Vanir aloft."
Brynja relayed her story, which the jarl thought was of equal value, and then called for a flyting between her and Sturles. Brynja stated her stanzas, but noted that not only did he present excellent poetry, but that he changed the poetic meter and rhyme for every single stanza. By the end, however, despite his talent, the weight of her words seemed to pull the audience against him, and he was admitting defeat.
This handmaid you auger that I defeat;
is naught but a girl, too young and too weak;
One shall beat children like a blood-flay his sides;
Unthinking, unfeeling, yet a thing unsurprised;
Such is the challenge a wench of these feats;
Presents unto me.
Your beauty unbound, and a witless tongue too;
As is said for the fair-haired, in all people’s view.
Do speak if you must, but they’ll hear not a word,
Nor your voice hold akin to the song of a bird;
Yet you still auger forth for what’s certain defeat;
So I’ll keep my patience; I’ve got victory to meet.
How I pity thee, then, how pathetic you are,
For you’re only a skald if they’ve lowered the bar.
Later sat Bragi, by the well of the moon;
Looking on Aerth he saw skalds flyting, two;
One was named Sturles, the other Brinja;
Lashing each other as the bow-boot’s-hurrah.
She who is Brinja led forth with her voice;
Yet stumbled and fell, and is left little choice.
He who is Sturles shall conquer her still;
Both in song and in body he will have her, he will.
You think you have won, but have lost all the same
One has only the scorecard at the end of the game
Not a new thing will pass that has not happened hence
My victory’s ring hollow in your wasted life since.
After the flyte, Sturles was banished from the hall, and Brynja and her company given his place of honor.