This decision had me stuck and confused for a good bit because what Eivor says does not match the dialogue prompts and all the articles/discussions online have been terribly misleading and shallow. I'm hoping to shed a lot of light on this intense mission with this post. Skip to OUTCOMES for how this affects alliances.
As we all know, at one point in the Eurviscire arc, Eivor is forced to choose between siding with Halfdan or Faravid during an argument after the former finds out that the latter has been gifting him lead cups (and thus poisoning him, whether intentionally or not).
Choosing 'Halfdan, you're insane' actually leads into Eivor defending Faravid's honor and saying that reason should guide decisions, not madness. Halfdan and Faravid argue for a moment before Faravid is banished and Eivor escorts him out the gates of Jorvik. Halfdan refuses to speak further at the moment. At the gates, Eivor asks Faravid whether he knew about the lead or not, to which he gives a non-answer (something along the lines of, "I hope we can raise our spears together again someday").
Choosing 'Faravid, stand down or fight me' actually leads into Eivor saying something along the lines of, "Traitors must be punished." You end up fighting Faravid. Halfdan steps in at the end and asks Faravid to stand up and fight him, but Faravid refuses, instead choosing to remain kneeling as he recalls fond memories with Halfdan before saying that they'll meet in Valhalla. Halfdan caves his head in with his hammer and kills him, seeming to immediately regret the decision. He offers Eivor his thanks and Eivor says she/he hopes they were both right about Faravid.
Regardless of which option you choose, you are able to secure an oath with Halfdan. Yes, even if he doesn't give you a token for it. This is because–if you recall the beginning of the arc–Halfdan gave his word that if Eivor helped him weed out the traitor in his ranks (which turned out to be Ricsige), he would give them the alliance they wanted. This means that the choice you make is purely moral–whether Faravid lives or dies. (To clarify, he does not join you at Ravensthorpe if he lives. He likely leaves England entirely, from the sounds of his dialogue during exile). Neither option is better than the other in terms of game mechanics.
Report back to Randvi in either case and do the short follow up quest (which is also obtained regardless of the choice you make).
Faravid, guilty or not?
This is where I do a bit of my own theorizing, which you can pick up or leave. I personally believe that Faravid did not knowingly poison Halfdan. He consistently proves his loyalty and if you choose to pick up the cup Halfdan throws earlier on, you can offer it to Faravid before the coronation–which he refuses and insists you keep. Why would he insist Eivor keep a lead goblet when he's clearly very fond of her/him? When he would have no reason to knowingly endanger Eivor? He isn't part of the order, after all, and Eivor poses no threat to him. Secondly, why would he roll over and allow himself to be killed so easily by Halfdan in choice 1 if his goal is supposedly to dethrone/kill him for the sake of Northumbria? And wouldn't a guilty person outright deny that they have done anything wrong when accused? Why the sad nostalgia? To me, his non-answers and willingness to die by Halfdan's hand mean he is wounded by the idea that an old friend would ever even think him capable of such things–the question is an insult to his honor and a stain on the trust he thought he had, and so he sees no reason to dignify it with an outright answer. Faravid's exile is the decision I choose to live with.
Anyway, I hope this was more helpful than those half-hearted articles that absolutely did not aid me at all when I was faced with this decision myself.
-  Sage identities in AC Valhalla and ancillary material
- Questions About Certain Character Arcs in Valhalla
- the side quest “Now or Never” really has us engage w/ a very interesting ethical dilemma
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