wo men at an easy gallop, and my horse's manner told me that a stable mate of his was coming, so I feared no longer but went into the main road to meet them.
"What news?" I cried, and they halted.
"It is the young master," said one, and I knew the voice of Edred, our housecarle. And when he was close to me I could see that he was in almost as evil plight as had been Grinkel his comrade. The other man I knew not, but he bore a headless spear shaft in his hand, and Edred's shield had a great gash across it.
"Master, has Grinkel come?" Edred asked me.
"Aye, and is dead. He bade us fly, and could say no more. What of my father?"
The men looked at one another for a moment, and then Edred said very sadly:
"Woe is me that I must be the bearer of heavy tidings to you and the lady your mother. But what is true is true and must be told. Never has such a battle been fought in East Anglia, and the fortune of war has gone against us."
The fear that I had read in my mother's