Now that he has served both Attila and Erka well, Dietrich decides it is time to ask for a favour in return.
King Dietrich von Bern came to king Attila in Soest when he fled his realm for his uncle king Ermenrik. In Soest his brother
King Attila had two sons, Erp and Ortwin. These three boys were of the same age and they loved one another so much they were rarely separated. Queen Erka loved her sons very much, as well as her foster Diether, and so did king Attila.
One day king Dietrich von Bern went to the hall where Erka lived
But Dietrich was full of grief, and water flowed from his eyes
Queen Erka replied: You have been in our realm for a long time and given us aid. Therefore, if you want to try to retake it, it is fitting that the Huns give you an army to help you. And I would like to be the first
Note that it is Erka who sends out her sons to help Dietrich. Attila doesn’t appear to have any say in the matter.
Then Erka convinces Attila to help Dietrich. Then she arms her sons and Diether.
Now Soest was filled with sounds of weapons, and shouts, and neighing of horses. The entire town was so full of men that no one could pass through, and no one could hear anyone unless they were close to them.
Now king Attila went up into a tower and called loudly: Hear me, men, and be quiet, and hear my commands. And the town fell silent.
Then the king said: Now a great army has gathered here, and now you must go as I will tell you. King Dietrich will travel alone with his army, and my man margrave Rodinger will go with another part of the knights that I have given to king Dietrich, and all the other men will follow my sons and young Diether. And all did as king Attile had commanded.
Now margrave Rodinger rode forth from Soest with his army. And Erp and Ortwin mounted, and in their following were duke Nudung of Walkaburg, who bore Dietrich's banner
And when the latter mounted queen Erka said: Good friend Helfrich, guard my sons well, and let them ride beside you when the armies meet. And Helfrich said: I swear by God, I won't come home from this war if I lose your sons. And queen Erka thanked him.
Now duke Nudung rode from Soest, and next Diether, and then Erp and Ortwin and the good knight Helfrich, then Wolfhart, and then all their warriors. Now king Dietrich mounted his horse Falke, and master Hildebrand bore his banner and went before king Dietrich, and then Wildeber and the warriors who followed Dietrich's banner
Now they traveled over the roads with their armies, and there is nothing to say about their travel.
When king Dietrich had traveled with his army for a while he called two of his men and told them to travel to king Ermenrik as quickly as possible, day and night, and tell him that king Dietrich, and his brother Diether, were coming home to Amelungenland with a great army, and when king Ermenrik wanted to defend him self, they should meet at Gransport
And these two men rode away and didn't find Ermenrik until they came to Rome. And they delivered the message, and berated Ermenrik for his faithless grabbing of Dietrich's realm, and warned the army was already on its way.
Then king Ermenrik had two good horses brought, and two good men's cloaks, and gave them to the messengers, and told them to ride back and thanked them for warning him, because he wasn't afraid of the Hunnish army as long as it didn't catch him unprepared. And with this message he sent the messengers back.
But king Ermenrik sent messengers over all his realm to gather all of his warriors, young or old, who could carry weapons and had the courage to fight. And three days and three nights passed.
And when that time was up sixteen thousand knights had gathered in Rome, ready for battle, and their chief was duke Witig Wieland's son of Fritila, and the army was equipped with strong horn bows
Then Witig said to king Ermenrik: All my men have come here, and I've never brought together a larger army in less time, and they are willing to fight the Huns, but I myself will not fight Dietrich von Bern or his brother Diether, but I must still
And now Rome was filled with calls and shouts throughout the city, and weapons clanging, and horses neighing, and all the streets were full with warriors.
Then king Ermenrik went on to the highest tower and said: My good friend Sibich, you will carry my banner and my personal guard, and no less than six thousand warriors. And when you get to the battle, you shall stand against Dietrich von Bern, and your men will attack his men, and it would be best if you carried his sword in your hand when the battle ends.
Then he said: My good relative Reinald
And now hear, my good friend Witig, my best duke, you shall have six thousand knights and you should not return in defeat. I would like to see Dietrich and Diether killed in this battle, and do not let king Attila's sons get away with their lives. May God grant you victory, and may you have great fame from this war.
Then Witig replied that he was quite ready to fight the Huns and Attila's sons, but he would not harm king Dietrich when it was in his power. Now they blew all their horns, mounted on their hroses, and rode with shouts and calls and horns from the city.
They followed the road northward over the mountains, and did not stop until they came to Gransport, and there they saw king Dietrich and his army on the northern side of the river. Then the Amelungen
This night master Hildebrand was king Dietrich's watchman, and when everyone was asleep he rode down to the river, alone and stealthily, until he found a ford in the river. He rode through the river, but before he found it
Master Hildebrand said
Then Hildebrand replied: You are right, I am truly Hildebrand, king Dietrich's best friend, and I will never hide that. And welcome to you, my friend Reinald, please tell me news about your army.
Reinald said: The first piece of news is, that king Ermenrik's army is led by duke Witig, your good friend, and the next Sibich, your great enemy, and I can also tell you that I rode away so silently that everybody thinks I'm still in bed, but I wanted to ride to king Dietrich and tell him all this if I hadn't met you, and I truly wish that he will do well, even though I will lead my men against him, but I do not want to hide from Dietrich whatever he desires to know.
Reinald explains the deployment of the Amelung army under Sibich, Witig, and himself.
And as they rode up from the river, five men rode towards them; they were Amelungen from Sibich's following. They assumed that these
Then Hildebrand drew his sword and rode to them. And Reinald ordered them not to come towards them, because this man
But they thought they recognised master Hildebrand, and one of them hit his helmet hat
Hildebrand explains the deployment of the Hun army under Dietrich, Rodinger, and Diether (coached by Nudung).
Hildebrand rode back through the ford. But when Reinald came to his tent he found there Sibich with many of his men, ready for battle. He had heard about Hildebrand's mission and wanted to ride after him and kill him.
Then Reinald said: If you want to kill my good friend Hildebrand I can get no fewer men than you have in a short time, and then you'll have to fight me rather than him, and you'll have many fewer men before you catch up with him. And it is more likely than not that he will ride his way, whether you pursue him or not
Then Sibich replied: Reinald, do you want to become king Ermenrik's enemy, who made me chief of this campaign? Do you want to help our enemies?
Reinald said: I don't want to become king Ermenrik's enemy. Instead, I will fight for him, even though I fight against my relatives and friends, but I will not let you kill Hildebrand while he rides alone. You will have plenty of opportunity to kill him before the day is over, and when he leads his men I will not prevent anyone from riding against him. But it could be that he defends himself. And these words stopped Sibich and his men from riding after Hildebrand.
But Hildebrand rode to king Dietrich's tent and told him all he had learned that night. And the king said he had done well, as before.
The next morning the armies march against one another. Dietrich takes on Sibich, Nudung and Diether fight Witig, and Rodinger attacks Reinald.
Now the six army groups met. Dietrich rode in front on his good stallion Falke with his sword Eckisax, and killed men and horses on both sides, and before him rode master Hildebrand carrying his banner and slaying men with his free hand, and their companion Wildeber followed them, and many Amelungen from Sibich's army fell.
Then king Dietrich called loudly: You have fought against the Reussen and Wilkinenmen, and we were usually victorious, but in this battle we fight for our lands and realm, so let's win great fame by reconquering it.
Now king Dietrich rode in the middle of Sibich's army and slew man and horse, and when he had come in the middle he went back by another way, and he was much feared. And by another route Wildeber rode through the Amelungen army, and no man held against him.
Walther of Waskastein saw how much damage Wildeber was doing to the Amelungen, and how they fled for him, and rode against him and hit him with his spear in the breast so that it exited between the shoulder blades. And Wildeber struck off the spear's shaft and struck Walther's thigh in the saddle, and pierced the armour and his sword got stuck in the saddle, and both fell dead from their horses
When Sibich saw that his banner had fallen, and the strong Walther with it, he turned his horse and fled, and his men with him. But king Dietrich and his men pursued the fugitives for a long time and killed them all day long, and it took quite a while before he returned.
Witig saw that Sibich fled, and knew the Amelungen would lose if the same happened elsewhere. Therefore he pressed the attack and rode against duke Nudung, who had killed many men. Quickly a fight ensued, which ended when Witig hacked the banner pole in two with his sword and the banner fell to the ground. And then he gave Nudung a blow on the neck that pierced the armour so that head and body fell to the ground.
And the three young men saw this, and Ortwin said to Helfrich: Do you see how that evil dog Witig kills duke Nudung? Let's ride to him and not let him get away.
Then Ortwin bravely rode against Witig, and Helfrich with him, and against them came the strong Runga, and a fight broke out, and before it ended Ortwin and Helfrich fell dead on the ground.
And when Erp and Diether saw that the rode forward and Diether and Runga fought with great bravery, and Diether hit Runga on the helmet and went through helmet and head to the shoulders, so that Runga fell dead. But in the mean time Witig had killed Erp, and when Diether saw that both his friends were dead, he rode against Witig and wanted to either lose his life or avenge his foster brothers, and hit Witig hard and often.
But Witig said: Aren't you Diether, king Dietrich's brother? I know you, now ride elsewhere, because for his sake I will not harm you, so go fight other men.
But Diether replied: God knows, since you killed Erp and Ortwin, you vile dog, I'll take revenge for them. and one of us will die. And again he hit Witig as strongly as he could.
Witig said: God knows I hate to do this, for your brother Dietrich's sake. Then Diether hit Witig on his helmet, but the helmet was so hard that his steel could not penetrate it, and the sword sprang from the helmet down along the saddle bow and hit the head of his horse, and thus Schimming, Witig's war stallion, died.
Now Witig said, when he stood on the ground: Great necessity forces me to do something I'd rather not do. And now Witig took his sword Mimung in both hands and hit Diether in the back so that armour and body were rent apart and he fell to the ground in two pieces. And now the battle continued, and Witig killed many men, but also lost many men from the Amelungen.
The good knight Wolfhart fought with great courage all day, and he carried margrave Rodinger's banner and had ridden far into the Amelung army. And margrave Rodinger followed him. In the same way Reinald rode into the Hun army and killed many men. Now he saw what great damage Wolfhart his relative did, and his men wanted to flee from Rodinger and Wolfhart. So he rode against them and hit his relative Wolfhart in the breast with his spear, so that it exited through the shoulder blades and he fell dead from his horse.
Margrave Rodinger was close by and took the banner pole and carried his banner himself, and attacked Reinald's banner bearer and beheaded him and also cut the banner pole so that the banner fell to the ground. When Reinald's men saw their banner fall and Sibich had fled they fled as well, and when Reinald saw that he went after them.
Then one of Dietrich's followers rode after the king and called: Good lord Dietrich, turn back, that vile dog Witig has killed first duke Nudung, then Ortwin and Erp, then Helfrich, and now your brother Diether. Go back, my lord, and avenge them.
Then king Dietrich said: What have I done that God grants me such an evil day? No weapon hit me today, and I have no wounds, but the princes are dead and so is Diether. I can never return to Hunnenland now. I will avenge them or be killed myself.
Then he turned his stallion Falke, spurred him on, and his entire army followed him, and he rode so quickly that nobody could keep up with him, and he was so angry that fire came forth from his mouth, and nobody dared to stand against him.
And when Witig saw that he fled, like the other men
But Witig pretended he hadn't heard Dietrich, and continued his flight. Dietrich called again, and now Witig replied: I killed your brother out of necessity, and did it only to stay alive, and if I can pay you back with silver and gold I will.
But still he fled as quickly as his horse could go, but Dietrich came after him. And thus Witig rode into the lake
Now king Dietrich rode back to the battlefield, and he saw how many of his relatives and friends had fallen. And he went to where his brother Diether lay, and said: There you lay, Diether, and I rue what has been done to you. And Dietrich took Diether's shield and threw it away, because it was all hacked up and useless.
And then he went to where the princes lay, and he said: My dear princes, losing you is the gravest harm I could have had, because how can I now return to Soest? I'd rather be severely wounded if you had been healthy.
Then king Dietrich went away
The margrave replied, and many other chiefs with him: Don't do that. It often happens in war that leaders lose their best warriors and still win the battle, as has happened here. So recognised you were victorious here even though you lost the princes. We will ask queen Erka to be content with that, even though she has lost her sons, and we will all make sure that king Attila won't be less of a friend to you than he was before.
Dietrich said he would never return as matters stood now, because he had promised queen Erka to return her sons, but had not kept his promise. But then all chiefs and knights went to king Dietrich and said: Good lord Dietrich, come back with us to Hunnenland, we will support you before king Attila and queen Erka. But if you do not want to return, then we will follow you to reconquer your realm, and we will fight against king Ermenrik, and we will never return until you have your realm back.
King Dietrich replied: I truly do not wish to lead king Attila's army any more, now that I have lost his two sons, and I would prefer to go home with you.
And now the entire army turned back and rode on the roads that brought them back to Hunnenland to king Attila in Soest.
When king Dietrich came to Soest he went into a cooking house
But margrave Rodinger went into Attila's hall and greeted him. And Attila asked for news, and whether they had won, and if king Dietrich had survived.
And margrave Rodinger replied: King Dietrich is alive and the Huns have won, but still it was an evil dau, since we lost your sons Erp and Ortwin. Then queen Erka cried, and almost all who were in that hall. And king Attila asked: Who else of the Huns fell along with my sons?
And Rodinger replied: Many good warriors, young Diether von Bern, and your good fried Helfrich, and duke Nudung, and Wildeber, and many other good men and chiefs, but the Amelungen lost half as many men, and those who live had to flee.
Then king Attila said, and he was courageous under these tidings: Now it happened as before, those who are fated will fall, and good weapons and strength do not help when you have to die. And we have seen that in this expedition, because Erp and Ortwin and Diether all had the best weapons, but still they all lie dead. And then he asked: But where is my good friend king Dietrich?
Someone replied: In a cooking house sit king Dietrich and master Hildebrand, and they put down their weapons and do not want to come under your eyes, my lord, so bad they feel about losing the princes.
Then king Attila said: Two of my knights, go there and ask my friend king Dietrich to come inside. He should still be close to me, despite all that has happened.
The two knights went to where king Dietrich sat, and gave him the message. But king Dietrich replied that his mood was so heavy and sad that he did not want to meet other people. And the knights went back to king Attila and told him what had happened.
Then queen Erka rose crying, and went to king Dietrich followed by her ladies. And when she entered the cooking house she said: Good king Dietrich, how did my sons fight before they died?
And king Dietrich said with great sorrow: My lady, they were good warriors, and fought well, and did not want to be separated from one another.
Then she went to him, put her hands around his neck, and kissed him, and said: My good friend, now come with me to king Attila's hall, and be welcome and glad. It has often happened that men fell in battle, and those who survive must still take care of themselves. It helps nothing to bewail the dead
Now king Dietrich rose and went after queen Erka into the hall. And when he came before king Attila the king rose, welcomed Dietrich, and kissed him, and offered him a seat on the high table. And king Dietrich accepted, and he stayed with king Attila for a long time, and their friendship was no less than it had been.
Two years later queen Erka dies. On her deathbed she tells Attila not to marry a woman of the Niflungen. Guess what Attila does next?
The next chapter is Sigfrid's death. Early history of the Niflungen about Sigfrid, Hagen, Gunther, Grimhild, and Brunhild.