There was a man named Atli, son of Arnvid, Earl of East Gothland. He had kept back the taxes from Hacon Athelstane's foster child, and both father and son had fled away from Jemtland to Gothland. After that, Atli held on with his followers out of the Maelar by Stock Sound, and so on towards Denmark, and now he lies out in Oresound.(1) He is an outlaw both of the Dane-King and of the Swede-King. Hrut held on south to the Sound, and when he came into it he saw a many ships in the Sound. Then Wolf said, "What's best to be done now, Icelander?"
"Hold on our course," said Hrut, "for 'nothing venture, nothing have.' My ship and Auzur's shall go first, but thou shalt lay thy ship where thou likest."
"Seldom have I had others as a shield before me," says Wolf, and lays his galley side by side with Hrut's ship; and so they hold on through the Sound. Now those who are in the Sound see that ships are coming up to them, and they tell Atli.
He answered, "Then may be there'll be gain to be got."
After that men took their stand on board each ship; "but my ship," says Atli, "shall be in the midst of the fleet."
Meantime Hrut's ships ran on, and as soon as either side could hear the other's hail, Atli stood up and said, "Ye fare unwarily. Saw ye not that war-ships were in the Sound. But what's the name of your chief?"
Hrut tells his name.
"Whose man art thou," says Atli.
"One of king Harold Grayfell's body-guard."
Atli said. "'Tis long since any love was lost between us, father and son, and your Norway kings."
"Worse luck for thee," says Hrut.
"Well," says Atli, "the upshot of our meeting will be, that thou shalt not be left alive to tell the tale;" and with that he caught up a spear and hurled it at Hrut's ship, and the man who stood before it got his death. After that the battle began, and they were slow in boarding Hrut's ship. Wolf, he went well forward, and with him it was now cut, now thrust. Atli's bowman's name was Asolf; he sprung up on Hrut's ship, and was four men's death before Hrut was aware of him; then he turned against him, and when they met, Asolf thrust at and through Hrut's shield, but Hrut cut once at Asolf, and that was his death-blow. Wolf the Unwashed saw that stroke, and called out, "Truth to say, Hrut, thou dealest big blows, but thou'st much to thank Gunnhillda for."
"Something tells me," says Hrut, "that thou speakest with a 'fey' mouth."
Now Atli sees a bare place for a weapon on Wolf, and shot a spear through him and now the battle grows hot: Atli leaps up on Hrut's ship, and clears it fast round about, and now Auzur turns to meet him, and thrust at him, but fell down full length on his back, for another man thrust at him. Now Hrut turns to meet Atli: he cut at once at Hrut's shield, and clove it all in two, from top to point; just then Atli got a blow on his hand from a stone, and down fell his sword. Hrut caught up the sword, and cut his foot from under him. After that he dealt him his death-blow. There they took much goods, and brought away with them two ships which were best, and stayed there only a little while. But meantime Soti and his crew had sailed past them, and he held on his course back to Norway, and made the land at Limgard's side. There Soti went on shore, and there he met Augmund, Gunnhillda's page; he knew him at once, and asks, "How long meanest thou to be here?"
"Three nights," says Soti.
"Whither away, then?" says Augmund.
"West, to England," says Soti, "and never to come back again to Norway while Gunnhillda's rule is in Norway."
Augmund went away, and goes and finds Gunnhillda, for she was a little way off, at a feast, and Gudred, her son, with her. Augmund told Gunnhillda what Soti meant to do, and she begged Gudred to take his life. So Gudred set off at once, and came unawares on Soti, and made them lead him up the country, and hang him there. But the goods he took, and brought them to his mother, and she got men to carry them all down to the King's Crag, and after that she went thither herself.
Hrut came back towards autumn, and had gotten great store of goods. He went at once to the king, and had a hearty welcome. He begged them to take whatever they pleased of his goods, and the king took a third. Gunnhillda told Hrut how she had got hold of the inheritance, and had Soti slain. He thanked her, and gave her half of all he had.
(1) Oresound, the gut between Denmark and Sweden, at the entrance of the Baltic, commonly called in English, the Sound.