Hallvard was a criminal and a former Mársmidr gang member who died shortly before the Third Great War, while helping Eirik and his allies take down the triumvirate of gangs trying to take over Strand.
Hallvard was the brother of Johan and both of them worked as members of the Mársmidr gang in the city of Strand. Hallvard mostly worked as a problem solver for his gang by engaging in theft, intimidating individuals or helping smuggle goods. As such, he became notorious in Strand, especially among the authorities maintaining law and order.
Hallvard was however caught stealing the profits from his boss Kjallak about eight months before Third Great War, and was warned by the Governor's Guardsmen Eirik and Valgard to flee Strand for his own safety. He did as they suggested and took to hiding in the borderlands between the kingdom of men and varls, going by the name "Arnbjorn".
While drinking at Broddi's Mead Hall in Karlshus about two months before the Third Great War, Hallvard encountered a boy named Stefnir, who nearly threw up on him after drinking bad mead. Initially seeing him as suspicious, Hallvard soon realized what had happened and asked the bartender Geir to give him the good stock, giving a mug to the boy on him. He introduced himself as "Arnbjorn" to him and when asked about the warring chieftains he referred to earlier, Hallvard told him about the feuding criminals and the triumvirate of gangs which was trying to take over Strand. He then admitted that he used to be a member of one of them.
As Hallvard talked, Stefnir asked if he knew the man named Magnus, which the rogue was surprised to hear. After Stefnir told him that he had heard the name from others, Hallvard stated that Magnus was the leader of the slaver gang called Vak'auga, which indulged in raids on human settlements to the south, but avoided the varls in the north. As he told him how a group working for the triumvirate had raided the territory of the varls to grab something they wanted. the varl Olaf came up to Stenir and told him that the barter with Broddi was a success.
Hallvard tried to flee upon spotting Olaf, but was soon stopped by him as he had overheard him mentioning the raid. Another varl named Ulfvalgr however soon shouted Olaf's name and attacked him, leading to a bar brawl when he hit one of the customers. As Hallvard tried stealing from the mead hall, Stefnir jumped behind the bar to escape the brawl. Hallvard told him to grab whatever he could, since he would be kicked out anyway, and stole a mead barrel before fleeing the establishment. As he looked back, Hallvard he found that the mead hall had been set on fire and he was discovered by the Mársmidr under Ottar soon after, with the gang admitting they were responsible.
Ottar told Hallvard that they had been sent by Kjallak to steal a heirloom from the red-haired varl Ulfvalgr. The varl had however fled after starting a fight with Olaf, and Ottar stated that he must have left Karlshus with him and the boy Stefnir, since their tracks disappeared at the same time, and they had learnt after intimidating Broddi that they were going to Strand. He offered to have him pardoned by Kjallak for his past theft if he followed them and kept them alive till Kjallak got what he wanted, tempting him with the chance of reuniting with Johan again, which made him agree.
Return to Strand
Hallvard followed Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr to Strand, where the Governor's Guardsmen Eirik and Valgard spotted him. Hallvard however knew this and let them follow him while he trailed his targets, hoping the Guardsmen would be able to keep them alive. As he spied on the three, the Guardsmen caught up to him and intimidated him into telling them why he was there and why he was trailing the varls and the boy. Hallvard told them that he had been offered a pardon by his boss Freystein if he tracked them, but stated that he didn't know what he wanted from them. The two then forced him to accompany them while they followed them themselves, in hopes of finding out what Freystein was after.
The varls and the boy however soon unwittingly entered into the territory of the gang called "Kollsvein's Kin", whose members demanded that they hand over their money. A fight broke out when they refused, and Eirik elected to wait and see how they fared. Hallvard however escaped the Gaurdsmen's grasp in order to save his targets, and killed one of the gang members before grabbing his club and attacking the others. This forced Eirik and Valgard to join the fight as well, and Hallvard suggested to the latter that he kill the gang leader Kollsvein to finish the fight quickly. Vallgard did as he suggested and succeeded in killing him with a throwing knife, forcing the rest of the gangsters to scatter.
Eirik, Valgard and Hallvard then introduced themselves as bounty hunters to the varls and the boy, and Hallvard felt relieved since Stefnir, the only one who had seen his face clearly in Karlshus, never told anyone he had met him earlier. After telling that the inn they were looking for had burnt down, Eirik suggested to the three that they stay in one of the abandoned houses for the night. Olaf asked that they stay with them as it will afford them protection, to which he agreed, and they soon discovered an abandoned hall suitable for all of them.
While talking with Olaf about what his group went through before reaching Strand, Eirik noticed that Stefnir recognized Hallvard when the varl talked about Karlshus, the same direction that Hallvard had followed them from. He posted him on lookout duty during the night in order to find out the truth, while Olaf posted Stefnir alongside him. Hallvard thanked him for not revealing he had met him earlier, with Stefnir replying that he didn't want to dredge up past events and besides he had saved them. Hallvard then asked him why he and Olaf were traveling with Ulfvalgr who had tried to kill them earlier, but soon realized he wanted to keep it to himself.
As Hallvard eventually went to relieve himself, Eirik followed him and told him to reveal what he was hiding, telling him he knew Stefnir was familiar with him. Hallvard stated that the three had started a fight in Karlshus before fleeing, after which Ottar unexpectedly confronted him and offered to have him pardoned if he followed them, since Freystein wanted a varl relic they had. Eirik believed him and told him to return soon after finishing relieving himself. After he left however, Hallvard noticed a reply signal on the ground and saw a Mársmidr spy, who told him that the gang will take care of the rest in the morning. Hallvard replied back stating that he understood and would follow them until then.
Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr went their separate ways in the morning, after Olaf met Kjallak in the market district and was offered help against Freystein. Eirik chose to follow them with Valgard and Hallvard. As they went into the mead hall called The Shattered Shield to meet Kjallak, Eirik decided to spy on them from an abandoned building opposite to it. He however soon realized that the situation was suspicious when he saw the Mársmidr lieutenant Skoegir there. Eirik threatened Hallvard into telling them the truth, which the latter did as he thought it would make no difference, and told them that Freystein had died long ago.
After realizing Kjallak was the one pretending to be Freystein, Eirik and Valgard jumped towards The Shattered Shield and helped Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr in escaping from the Mársmidr, leaving Hallvard panicked as his plan had been spoilt. He soon spotted the spy he had met earlier talking to Kjallak, and realized his role in accidentally spoiling the plan was exposed for certain, which would mean he would never be forgiven. As Kjallak called out to Ottar and told him how he knew it was his idea to use Hallvard, who had got the Governor's Guard tangled into their plan, Hallvard soon learnt that Skoegir had killed Johan after he stole the relic and used it to blackmail the Mársmidr into forgiving his brother. Hallvard then heard Kjallak telling Skoegir to go to a warehouse so their next shipment wasn't delayed. Knowing the place they were talking about, Hallvard decided to go there to expose them.
Capture and freedom
While infiltrating the Vak'auga warehouse at the western docks Kjallak had talked about, in order to get the varl skeletons he had hidden there, Hallvard was soon caught by the Mársmidr guards led by Skoegir. Skoegir brutally tortured him after finding out why he was there, inflicting injuries, breaking his teeth, cutting off the ring finger from his left hand, and gouging out one of his eyes. Hallvard was then locked in a meat locker, where he stayed for about two days. One night however, Hallvard realized that someone else had arrived at the warehouse and called out to them, being freed soon afterwards.
Hallvard however found out that his rescuers were none other than Eirik, Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr, who were accompanied by a girl he had seen with the Vak'auga spymaster Leiknir in past. Realizing that they were after the same thing as him, he directed them to the back door of the warehouse since it would be lightly guarded. When Ulfvalgr asked why they should trust him, he smiled to show what the Mársmidr had done to him, before passing out. He soon awoke in the warehouse's kitchen while being given water, and discovered that they had successfully followed his instructions. Seeing a bread nearby, he tried to crawl to it before being stopped by Eirik, who asked if there were any other guards there. Hallvard stated that there might be some in the basement and he had heard others would be arriving to the warehouse later.
Hallvard crawled to the bread again after Eirik relessed him, but as he ate it, a piece got stuck in his throat. Hallvard gulped down the nearby broth with a hot ladle, causing the sensation in his body to return. Eirik soon left with Olaf and Ulfvalgr, while telling Stefnir and Leiknir's aide Runa to keep an eye on the exit and on Hallvard. Hallvard asked Stefnir for some mead as he had started feeling pain in the area his finger was chopped off from. As Stefnir tried to give a jug to him, Runa smashed it and stated that they would not get him drunk as it would get them in more trouble. She then asked who he was, and Hallvard revealed that he was a former Mársmidr member, but had been betrayed by them.
A burly man soon attacked Stefnir, who struggled in fighting him, and Runa was unable to spear him as he used Stefnir as a human shield. Hallvard however realized he hadn't noticed him and attacked him, pushing him off a balcony and to his death. Picking up the man's axe, he soon found light coming from a chamber in the wall and went there along with Stefnir and Runa, but realized it was just privy. Hallvard then noticed some of the gang members near the warehouse and told the three that they needed to leave quickly.
As Hallvard descended the stairs to the basement with Stefnir and Runa, he was nearly struck by Olaf's sword before the varl realized who it was. Stefnir told him that they needed to escape since the other gang members were going to arrive there soon, and Olaf called out to Eirik and Ulfvalgr to ask if they had found anything. Learning that they hadn't, Hallvard decided to help them and retrieved a varl skull hidden beneath the floorboards of one of the rooms. As they escaped from the warehouse in a Nautmot yoxen cart, Ulfvalgr intimidated him into showing what he had acquired, but he and Olaf were shocked to find out what it was when he did.
At a secluded manor outside Strand where Eirik took his allies to, Stefnir worked on Hallvard's wound and threaded his eye. The rogue told them how he and the other Mársmidr had been ordered by Kjallak to hide varl skeletons at the warehouse of their allies, the Vak'auga, in the past. He was later offered a pardon by Kjallak and a chance to reunite with his brother Johan in return for following Olaf, Stefnir and Ulfvalgr, so he could acquire a shield-like amulet they had. He however soon found out that Johan had already been killed by them and they would have killed him too, which is why he decided to expose them with the varl bones.
Since Hallvard did not know where Kjallak was, Eirik decided to lure one of the lieutenants of the triumvirate gangs by organizing a tournament some days later, with Olaf and Ulfvalgr out in the open. Eirik knew that they would send one of their trusted men for the job and told Runa to have Leiknir inform about the match to the Vak'auga leader Magnus very late, as this would leave the Vak'auga and the Mársmidr struggling to find anyone for it. He also decided to have the City Watch of Strand arrive there at a scheduled time to prevent a surprise attack by the Aetla Hilmir, who were allied with the two gangs. He reluctantly let Hallvard join them to take vengeance, and the rogue decided to teach Stefnir in fighting with an axe, while also revealing his true identity to the group.
While training Stefnir alongside Ulfvalgr on a frozen pond five days later, Hallvard told him how one could use a spear skilfully in order to take down foes both near and far, but stated that he could not use it since he always preferred brawling and it required precision, which was impossible since he had lost one of his eyes. Later on the day of the tournament, he and his group fought the triumvirate gangsters led by Ottar. Hallvard told the nervous Stefnir to tap him as they had planned if he wanted to leave the fight. As Stefnir panicked after finding Runa and Eirik, who had deployed behind him, gone, a varl tried to strike him. The giant was however soon struck in his calf by Runa, who was hiding in the woods, before being finished off by Hallvard.
Hallvard and his allies soon won the fight against Ottar's men and knocked the Mársmidr lieutenant out, but were ambushed by the disguised Aetla Hilmir, as the City Watch failed to arrive as scheduled. Eirik had everyone else flee with Ottar to their hideout while he held the gangsters off alongside Ulfvalgr, and Hallvard escaped with the others back to the manor. There, he proceeded to torture their captive as had been mutually agreed upon by the group before the match, inflicting every injury that Skoegir had inflicted on him. Ottar begged him to stop and told him that he could help them capture Freystein and Kjallak. Hallvard initially expressed disinterest, but relented after realizing it could help him get to Skoegir.
Raid on Magnus
Ottar told Eirik and his allies that the Vak'auga were smuggling in something for the Mársmidr at the Ninth Pier, which was their best bet to capture Magnus or Kjallak. Eirik agreed to take him under his protection and wanted to bring in the City Watch on the raid, but others disagreed as the Watch had failed them multiple times in the past and they had realized someone among the higher authorities was working with the triumvirate. They decided to go without him when he kept insisting, and took the yoxen cart as well.
After arriving at the Ninth Pier, they found that Magnus was on his ship which was docked there, but he would be leaving soon. Hallvard suggested boarding it after rowing to it with a boat, while Runa suggested taking a path along the rocky cliffs to get to the docks secretly. Ulfvalgr decided to go with her plan instead as boarding it with a boat would be tricky and would take a long time. After arriving at the docks, they slew a few guards and soon boarded Magnus' ship, with Runa directing them to the captain's quarters in order to capture their prey.
Olaf and Ulfvalgr however realized that it would take them too long to get into Magnus' cabin, and they decided to send Hallvard, Stefnir and Runa on their own. As they surrounded Magnus in his room, Runa realized something was wrong about him and they soon found another man looking exactly like him standing outside. The group realized that there were two Magnuses and the distraction allowed both of the Magnus brothers to escape. Hallvard told Stefnir and Runa to go after the one they had initially surrounded, while he went after the other with Olaf and Ulfvalgr.
The Magnus Hallvard chased after with his varl allies however soon alerted his ship's crew about the intruders on board, which forced Ulfvalgr to improvise in order to find an escape route for his group. Using his horns, he smashed into the ship's side and broke part of the hull, which allowed them to jump into the sea and escape. As they re-emerged on land, they were soon surrounded by the City Watch who had come after the triumvirate as well, but Eirik made the guards stand down after finding they were there.
Hallvard soon told Eirik that they had found out that there were two Magnuses, and they were forced to escape after one alerted his crew. The Governor's Steward Olvir arrived there and demanded to know from Olaf and Ulfvalgr what Kjallak was after so badly, that he was willing to cause so much chaos. A reluctant Ulfvalgr then told them that it was the divine amulet called the "Gift of Hadrborg", which was said to be able to resurrect the dead varl. Eirik soon realized to everyone's horror that Kjallak meant to use it to not just take over Strand, but become the King of Varls as well with the help of the varl warlord Vilmundr, whom he recently had smuggled into Strand.
Eirik's group soon learnt from Olaf that the other half of the Gift of Hadrborg had been lost with Stefnir and Runa, who had fallen into the sea while going after of the Magnus brothers. This enraged Ulfvalgr who tried to kill him, with Eirik, Hallvard and many of the City Watch being required to pin him to the ground. Hallvard and three guards of the City Watch were deployed to keep an Ulfvalgr later, while everyone else looked for Runa and Stefnir. Runa however returned the next day, telling them that she and Stefnir had escaped from a warehouse, and Stefnir had left them a trail to follow to where the triumvirate would be meeting with Vilmundr. Since the City Watch guards with them had been exhausted in looking for her and Stefnir, Olvir told Valgard to fetch anyone fresh, while going after the triumvirate with Eirik and his allies alone, taking two guards with him.
At the warehouse Runa and Stefnir were kept, Olvir told the others to look for any clues the two might have missed, but found nothing other than the corpses of Leiknir and the Vak'auga member Fiske. He sent one of the guards to fetch Valgard there. They then followed the trail of mead Stefnir had left them to the northern districts of Strand, but it soon disappeared due to the people walking by and the snow. As Eirik and his group wondered what to do Olvir told the remaining guard to have the City Watch bring Valgard there. Hallvard soon found something written on a pillar near an abandoned temple of Hadrborg and told about it to Eirik, who realized ut was his own name. Eirik decided to take everyone there, but they were told to stop by Olvir, who wanted to wait for the City Watch. After realizing however that they wouldn't listen to him, he had Eirik mark the directions for Valgard.
Hallvard and his allies sneaked towards the bridge leading to Hadrborg's temple, but soon found a figure leaning over the parapet on the other side. Hallvard went to check on the person they had spotted, and soon found out that it was Skoegir. He attacked him and as Skoegir blocked the strike, the gangster behind him was killed by Runa before he could strike Hallvard. Hallvard however told his allies to go ahead without him, since he wanted to take vengeance for Johan's murder. Skoegir initially mocked him, but was soon infuriated upon being told by Hallvard how he had mutilated Ottar in the same way he had mutilated him, allowing him to drag him out in the open using the information Ottar provided.
Skoegir then told Hallvard's allies to leave them alone as they had personal scores to settle, and after the group reluctantly left, the two fought each other in a duel to the death. Skoegir proved to be the superior fighter, especially due to Hallvard's injuries, and eventually succeeded in stabbing him in the kidney. The fatally wounded Hallvard however mocked him, stating how he had wasted his time in fighting him instead of alerting his fellow gang members, and even if Kjallak won against Eirik's group, he would never forgive him. Skoegir realized it was true to his horror, and rushed at him in anger. This mistake however allowed Hallvard to cut open his stomach with his attack, killing him immediately.
Realizing his own death was inevitable, Hallvard felt satisfied about being able to avenge Johan. He prayed to Denglr for success of Eirik's group, and remembered some of the encounters he had with the Guardsman. He wished for Strand to be saved and soon passed away. Hallvard's corpse was found by the City Watch after they and Eirik's group took down the triumvirate members at the temple, and he was given a honorable funeral two weeks later. Bidding him a final farewell, Eirik, Olaf and Valgard eulogized him for redeeming himself and saving Strand, while Stefnir thanked him for everything he had taught him as it had kept him alive.