Vikings for all occasions, no tale too looong
it looked as though one may be used on them. Hrothgar loosed three arrows at one of lord Robart's men as he prepared his weapon, bleeding severely he questioned Hrothgar as to how many times he would loose at him. Hrothgar replied, "I can loose thirteen arrows in seventy heart beats, how long will it take you to be ready with your weapon?" Roskilda of Ousekjarr fought one of Robart's warriors who was a Scot, this Scot flailed about himself with great enthusiasm but little skill, Roskilda of Ousekjarr was able to kill him but not before the Scot had hit her chin with his shield. Roskilda of Ousekjarr's chin then developed a fine blue bruise and she is now known as Roskilda Blue-chin. It did not take the Host long to dispose of Rushden's defenders and take their standard as a trophy of war. Styrkar the Polite was attacked by an enemy warrior that was well known to the Host; his name was Richaethelstanard and was known as a great killer. Richaethelstanard approached Styrkar the Polite from behind, when she became aware of him she quickly turned from the warrior she was fighting and killed Richaethelstanard with a single lightning stroke of her sword, without missing a beat Styrkar the Polite then tuned back to her original opponent. Many of the Host saw this and were mightily impressed; it was from this time they called her Rattle Snake. The Host then went on and sacked the town taking much of value, to celebrate their victory they held competitions, Kormak the Carter and Styrkar Rattle Snake came first and second in that held for martial prowess. Dagfiend Scoffa also did well in her work keeping the warriors supplied with their needs that she received high praise from Ragnild, Olaf Harroldsson's wife.
A case in law
After this Hrothgar, Valgard Toebreaker, Kormak the Carter, Dagfiend Scoffa, Styrkar Rattle Snake, Astrid Bear, Totra the Lonely, Snorri Slaphednarsson and Geira of the Manaraefan went to Thorgrim Caretaker's stead; here they were joined by Hedde of Mercia and Wolfric from Hwicce and three warriors from Suth Sexena. From here they went and raided a nearby Saxon village, they were able to take some of their women prisoner and later got a good price for them. Hedde of Mercia had agreed to represent Thorgrim Caretaker’s case in law; Thorgrim Caretaker had been in dispute with his neighbour Fulgurd over the sale of a horse. The case was to be arbitrated by a holmgangr, Thorgrim Caretaker and Fulgurd had agreed to abide by the result of a first blood contest between a pair each of their servants. Hedde of Mercia would judge for Thorgrim Caretaker and Rotgarth was the judge for Fulgurd. They met at the appointed place and the contest began, only a few blows had been exchanged when Fulgurd's servants cheated, the swordsman struck out of his turn and wounded Thorgrim Caretaker's man. Hedde of Mercia said that the contest was void and that the dispute should be found in Thorgrim Caretaker's favour. Rotgarth denied that any foul play had taken place and struck Hedde of Mercia a savage blow to the head. All about now rushed to find their weapons and a fight ensued, the women of both households tried to stop the fight but were roughly brushed aside. Thorgrim Caretaker and his men soon overcame Fulgurd and wounded or put to flight all his men, Rotgarth was killed by Hedde of Mercia who had been enraged by his attack. Fulgurd agreed that the matter was settled and paid the money he owed Thorgrim Caretaker for the horse.
Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Hrothgar and Snorri Slaphednarsson went to Wing with Hedde of Mercia and other warriors of the Host, here they joined with disaffected warriors from the army of Bjorn Styrbjornsson and raided the Saxons of that place. Kormak the Carter, Dagfiend Scoffa and Styrkar Rattle Snake went and spied on the activities of Bjorn Styrbjornsson's army and later joined Hrothgar and told of what they had seen. Hedde of Mercia and Guthrothr Belly-Shaker were unable to fight with the other warriors of the Host as they had injured themselves before the raiders had found the enemy. Hedde of Mercia had injured his neck as he tried to pass through a doorway with a ladder. Guthrothr Belly-Shaker had tried to walk with no shoes on, his feet had become soft and soon gave way to the roughness of the road, before the raiders had come near to a Saxon settlement he had had to turn back. A good deal of ale was taken on the raid and was consumed as soon as they had all returned to their camp, as no silver had been given for it it tasted all the better.
The marriage of Magnus Thorkelsson and Millicent of Ousekjarr
At this time Magnus Thorkelsson the Killer and Millicent of Ouskjarr were married at the home of Millicent of Ousekjarr 's father. Orm Longarm stood with Magnus Thorkelsson when he went before Millicent of Ousekjarr 's father and dressed as Scot. Hrothgar, Muirigan Legbiter and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were guests as were Sigurd the Climber and Halgerd Eiricsdotta Eiricsdottir, other guests were Lief Tyrsson and Freya the Puddle, Boon the Hun, Hedde of Mercia and Roskilda Blue-chin were also there along with many more of the Host. The guests brought a great many valuable gifts for the bride and groom and there was a great feast with much strong drink being consumed.
Battle on the Tyne
The Manaraefan now determined to sail to the mouth of the Tyne where they would meet with the rest of the Host. Thorgrim Caretaker prepared the long ship Sun Shine for sea and announced when she was to sail. Just before the Manaraefan that were to sail in her gathered together the ship was taken, as Thorgrim Caretaker collected the last of the ships stores some scoundrels took possession of the Sun Shine and sailed away. Snorri Slaphednarsson and Hrothgar then arrived and the three of them set about getting another ship, they were lucky and just before the others arrived they found a ship called the Cowie. Thorgrim Caretaker stood to the steer board and Hrothgar navigated their course, Valgard Toebreaker, Astrid Bear, Halla of the Manaraefan, Dagfiend Scoffa Skoffa, Geira of the Manaraefan, Karri Two-ways, Snorri Slaphednarsson, Totra the Lonely, Olof Ulfbjornsdotta, Dag Ulfbjornsson, and Alric Thorgrimsson all sailed aboard the Cowie.
Styrkar Rattle Snake sailed in her ship Cosmos with Kormak the Carter, Ragnar of the Manaraefan, Freya Horn Blower and Freyja Ulfbjornsdotta. The Cosmos was a smaller and faster ship than the Cowie and arrived at the mouth of the Tyne first. Both ships safely made it there and joined the rest of the Host. There they met Aslac Vomiter, Freya the Fecund, Gari of the Manaraefan, Halgerd Eiricsdotta and Red Orm the Aged.
As usual the Host held games and competitions to celebrate their coming together, Boon the Hun won the honours among the archers and Tarant of Hwicce took the prize for fighting.
The Host then went to ravish the land of Northumbria but were met by the king’s eorl Gymstan and his army. The Manaraefan were drawn up on the right of the Host and Valgard Toebreaker led them well, standing in the front rank he showed he was a brave warrior. Hrothgar stood ready with his bow and he and all those armed with bow or javelin were ready to meat Gymstan in parley, Thorgrim Sigmundsson had instructed them that if Gymstan offered to parley they should great him with their missiles. Gymstan did indeed step forward with his hearth troop and on Hrothgar's word all archers in the Host shot their arrows at him, those armed with javelins then rushed forward and Gymstan and his troop were crushed under the weight of missiles. Gymstan's hearth troop covered him with their shields so well that no harm came to him.
As Gymstan retreated back to the safety of his army Trixulf deserted him and led his troop to join the Host. Trixulf was a Viking who had sold his sword to Gymstan, when he saw such fine Viking warriors as the Host and the way they greeted Gymstan he knew he had thrown in his lot with the wrong man and immediately set matters right. Aslac Vomiter and Freya the Fecund were not with the Manaraefan as they took their position; the battle was half done by the time they arrived. They had been on the beach building a wall of sand to hold back the sea, so engrossed were they that they did not hear the call to arms.
When the enemy attacked the fiercest fight was where the Manaraefan stood, the enemy put them under great pressure and nearly broke them. Ulf the Dauntless fought with the Manaraefan and he and Valgard Toebreaker. At one point a Northumbrian thane, Rusaethel fought hard against Kormak the Carter. Kormak the Carter struck him twice upon the leg and once across the stomach, these were mighty blows and Kormak the Carter was surprised that Rusaethel did not fall. These blows sent Rusaethel into a great rage and he drove Kormak the Carter back who thought he was faced with a berserk. Kormak the Carter's retreat left a gap in the Manaraefan line but any of the enemy who tried to step into it were shot down by Hrothgar. With each blow Rusaethel gave to Kormak the Carter's shield he shouted that he was impervious to blows because he had the best mail in Northumbria, Kormak the Carter shouted back that he was not wearing any armour. This stopped Rusaethel as if he had walked into a wall, he looked down at his body and seeing his entrails falling from his belly he said, "Oh damn!" with this he fell to the ground and quietly died. Kormak the Carter then returned to his place in the line.
Gymstan led his hearth troop against the Host's centre and they drove deeply into it before they were held. One of the Northumbrian's broke right through and chased down Boon the Hun, he had thrown his bow away and was fending off his attackers blows with his sword. The enemy was too strong for him and beat Boon the Hun down, just as he was about to kill Boon the Hun Hrothgar placed one of his arrows in the enemies chest. Boon the Hun stood and thanked Hrothgar then ran off to find his bow.
Styrkar Rattle Snake was wounded in the battle but only slightly, one of the enemy smashed her thumb with his shield but paid with is life. Hedde of Mercia treated her wound and told her not to fight again until it was healed, she could barely hold her sword so this was sound advice. Styrkar Rattle Snake was not best pleased as this meant that she missed half the battle and the blood lust was strong in her. Gari of the Manaraefan showed great skill with his sword, with a single stroke he took out the eye of one of his enemies.
Gymstan saw that the battle was going badly for him; he again led his hearth troop forward and attempted to cut his way through the centre of the Host and escape. As he did so Trixulf rushed towards him and cut him down with a mighty blow. Seeing their leader fallen the rest of the Northumbrian's fled for their lives.
The land was now open to the Host and they set about taking all they wanted. That night there was a good deal of drunkenness and dancing, the Host had not enjoyed themselves so much for a long time. Some of the local people were pressed into service to look after the needs of the Host; one of these was very strange. Karri Two-ways went to relieve himself and one of the servants stood next to him and winked, the brave warrior was completely unmanned and fled back to his comrades. Whenever Karri Two-ways looked up that night he saw the Northumbrian servant watching him. It was from that time Karri was known as Two-ways.
A dark ship
After this the Manaraefan returned to their ship and set sail for home, they had not been at sea long when a Dark ship with a dark sail hove into view behind them. As it drew closer the Manaraefan could see that the crew of the Dark ship all wore black clothes, the Manaraefan were afraid and made great efforts to sail their ship faster and give them the slip. The Dark ship continued to gain on the Cowie and the Manaraefan could hear the black clad crew of the Dark ship chanting a strange mantra, "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!" Redoubling their efforts to escape Thorgrim Caretaker steered the Cowie around many headlands, on the thirteenth attempt Hrothgar saw a river which he recognised as the Emfor. Thorgrim Caretaker steered for the river mouth while the crew dropped the sail and used the oars to take the ship up the river. The crew of the Dark ship did not see where the Cowie had gone and sailed passed. The Manaraefan were then able to sail on to their home and there was much discussion as to who the strange Dark ship had belonged to.
Against the Scots
Soon after the Manaraefan had returned home the Host was again called together and Guthrothr Belly-Shaker led the Manaraefan to join them at Bolsover. In the meantime Thorgrim Caretaker had managed to recover the longship Sun Shine, so the Manaraefan travelled most of the way in this ship. Thorgrim Caretaker again stood to the steer board and Hrothgar navigated. With them at Bolsover were Karri Two-ways, Snorri Slaphednarsson, Styrkar Rattle Snake, Kormak the Carter, Sigurd the Exposed, Red Orm the Aged, Dagfiend Scoffa, Halla of the Manaraefan, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Geira of the Manaraefan, Freyja Ulfbjornsdotta, Dag Ulfbjornsson, Olof Ulfbjornsdotta and Knut Guthrothrsson. The Host was met there by an army of Scots and Irish led by a round little Scots warrior called Constantine.
Constantine offered to parley but the Host was in no mood for talk, Hrothgar and the other archers shot at him until his hearth troop dragged him away. Hrothgar shot down Constantine's best warrior, his right hand, with a shot to his face. The battle then was very fierce, no quarter being asked or given. The Manaraefan again found themselves on the right of the line and fought well there against a much stronger foe. The enemy were well armed and had many warriors wearing corselets of mail, the Manaraefan held them to their front until other warriors of the Host attacked them from the flank. While fighting here Thorgrim Caretaker's hand was wounded and he was unable to hold his sword. Lief Tyrsson led the left of the Host and was under a good deal of pressure from the Irish, many of them burst through his warriors and tried to attack the rear of the Host. Hrothgar and other archers shot some down and killed the others with their swords. When Lief Tyrsson had regained control of the fight against the Irish Hrothgar went back to help the Manaraefan. As he saw that the battle was not going well for him Constantine ordered his hearth troop to drive a wedge through the Host. As they advanced the archers of the Host shot many arrows into the Scots, Constantine was one of those wounded by Hrothgar's arrows. Though Constantine and a handful of his warriors broke through and escaped the rest of his army was surrounded and cut down. Some tried to flee but Hrothgar shot them down as they ran.
After the battle Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson called the Host to an althing and the Host voted on who had the right to speak, they made no change to the custom and practice already in use. The merit of spears in battle was another issue spoken of as well as what beads should be worn by warriors; this last issue caused much merriment amongst those there. Hrothgar and Hedde of Mercia both won archery competitions held at the althing, but Hrothgar had to lend his bow to Hedde of Mercia when Hedde of Mercia's broke as he took aim on the target.
More dark ships
After the althing the Manaraefan again returned to their homes, they broke their journey on a small island where they landed to cook a meal. While there Dark ships arrived and their black clad crews also landed to cook. The Manaraefan were concerned that they might be attacked but the Dark warriors took no notice of them. Close to the Manaraefan could see that their faces were black, bone white or grey, many with strange patterns in these colours. Their weapons were huge but the Dark warriors were able to lift them as if they weighed almost nothing. Taking care not to disturb them the Manaraefan returned to their ship and sailed away.
Freya Horn Blower wished to learn how to fight with two weapons and asked Ragnar of the Manaraefan and some of her friends for help, she said that she would ask Hrothgar to train her but she could not remember the name for this type of fighting. Freya Horn Blower knew the word she wanted was an "F" word and tried to remember, she eventually said the word she thought was right and Ragnar of the Manaraefan and her friends fell about laughing. They explained that the word she used had more to do with horn blowing than fighting!
About this time Thorgrim Caretaker disappeared, he wasn’t seen again, nor was much of the wealth of the Manaraefan.
Hrothgar, Kormak the Carter, Styrkar Rattle Snake and Dagfiend Scoffa went to Sulgrave to help Eirik the Bowyer, Sturaesman of the Vara Tuatha, to raid the Saxons of that area. There they also met with Hedde of Mercia, Boon the Hun and Cadwgan Ap Iorwerth, Jarl of Cwmmwd Ial, and some of his warriors. Leofric, Jarl of Aescesdun was there and though there had been bad blood between him and Hedde of Mercia they spoke in a friendly manner, when Leofric said that he was going to leave the Host Hedde of Mercia went so far as to try and dissuade him.
Eirik the Bowyer held competitions between the warriors and offered some very fine and sharp weapons as prizes, Hrothgar won the prize for archery and Boon the Hun the one for fighting, Hedde of Mercia was second in both competitions. After this they set out to take what they could from the Saxons.
Two scouts were sent out and soon came back and reported that they had found a village with plenty of fat Saxon peasants which were ripe for plucking. The small band of warriors from the Host made their way carefully towards the village; they decided that it would be best to take it by surprise. When they were close they hid in the forest to see the lay of the land, though it was clear that the Saxons could not see them they must have spotted the scouts, they were all armed and ready for trouble. It was decided to burst out and attack them at once, as the others rushed forward Hrothgar shot arrows at the foe, he felled one straight away and wounded the Saxon's leader with his next arrow. As the other warriors set too with great ferocity Hrothgar rushed to help them, he shot many arrows and brought down many more of the enemy. The Saxons were no match for the warriors of the Host and soon succumbed, the village was then thoroughly looted and slaves were taken.
Hedde of Mercia said that the town at Staf's ford was rich and ready to be raided and looted by the Host; he intended to gather as many of the Host together as he could and pay the place a close visit. Hrothgar, Muirigan Legbiter and Thorfin Hrothgarsson travelled to the meeting place and there met Styrkar Rattle Snake, Kormak the Carter and Dagfiend Scoffa from the Manaraefan. Many other warriors of the Host came also and Hrothgar was pleased to see his old friend Jarl Caradoc there, especially because he brought some iron work that Hrothgar had ordered from Tich ap Caradoc the Wealsh blacksmith.
The forces that Hedde of Mercia had called together were eager for the raid to begin and did not pay close attention to what he intended. Hrothgar and Kormak the Carter were busy on an errand when the plan was told and only knew where the attack on the town was to be made from as soon as they could they made their way there and joined the warriors of the Host that they met there. A strong body of Saxon warriors were in the town and drove of the first attackers that Hedde of Mercia had sent against them, this first force was quite small and the Saxon defenders came pouring out of the town in pursuit. Thinking that they had an easy victory they were surprised when more warriors of the Host arrived and checked their advance, all this was not as Hedde of Mercia had planned but they made the best of it.
The Saxons still had more warriors than did Hedde of Mercia and they soon overcame their surprise and again pressed their attack on the warriors of the Host. Hrothgar again had his bow with him and shot so well that the Saxons rapidly lost many of their finest warriors to his arrows, he stationed himself in such a position that whenever an enemy warrior moved his shield to defend himself he was able to lose a shaft and wound or kill the foe. In this way the Saxons were defeated and very few escaped the field of slaughter.
Before sacking the town they decided to loot the bodies of the fallen, there were many good suits of mail there. While going about this business a band of Wealsh warriors came upon them, they had the same idea that the town was ripe for looting. Thinking that the warriors of the Host were now too weakened to defend their gains they demanded a share of the loot, at first this was agreed but Hrothgar, seeing one of the Wealsh draw his sword shot him down with an arrow. Another fight now ensued and again Hrothgar's arrows took their toll and helped win the day for the Host. Having disposed of both enemies the Host now descended upon the town at Staf's ford. Much booty was taken and they celebrated long into the night, this was the tenth year that Hrothgar and Muirigan Legbiter had been married and they celebrated this event with those there present. The warriors of the Manaraefan that lived near Searoburg gave Hrothgar and Muirigan Legbiter a fine game board with carved playing pieces to celebrate their long marriage.
The next day they held an archery competition and Hrothgar won first prize, Thorfin Hrothgarsson won the first prize in an archery competition between the boys.
The lands of Oward Piles were again invaded by a force of Franks, Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson sent Hrothgar with a strong force to help eject the invaders.
With the invaders were a body of chevaliers, or cnihts as the Saxons call them, which Hrothgar wanted to get rid of before he fought the rest of the invaders. The scouts of the Host reported to Hrothgar that the invaders were busy looting the country but that they would soon be returning to their camp at Pevensey. To get there they would have to pass through a clearing in the forest so Hrothgar decided that he would set an ambush.
Hrothgar set Gwillym Ap Dafydd of Y’Draig the task of attacking the rear of the invaders as they passed, he was then to run away try to make the chevaliers follow him. Hrothgar kept the rest of the Host in hand to attack the invaders front when their chevaliers had been drawn away. Gwillym Ap Dafydd hid his warriors well and the invaders marched past him without detecting their presence, when they were past him Gwillym Ap Dafydd 's archers sent a volley into them and then his other warriors rushed out and pelted them with javelins. The enemy was taken by surprise and several were killed before they could form themselves up. Just when they were finally ready to fight Gwillym Ap Dafydd told his warriors to run away. Seeing this, the chevaliers charged after them and pursued Gwillym Ap Dafydd and his warriors deep into the forest.
After a while it became apparent to the invaders that they had been abandoned by the chevaliers and that nothing else was about to happen, they reformed their column and recommenced their journey to their camp. Just as they started to march forward Hrothgar led out the rest of the Host and attacked them with great ferocity. The invaders had many warriors wearing strong hauberks and were able to hold off the attack of the Host for some time, but slowly they were driven back.
Gwillym Ap Dafydd eventually evaded the chevaliers and left them floundering about the forest, he then returned to the clearing and fell on the rear of the invaders, many were killed and some fled into the forest. The best armed and armoured of the invaders stood their ground and would have been overwhelmed had not the chevaliers returned then. They were somewhat surprised to see the difficulty that their warriors were in.
Because some of the enemy had run away the Thegn Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice had a body of warriors on the right of the Host who were free of the foe and were about to fall on their flank. Seeing that the chevaliers had returned she halted them and ordered a shieldwall which the chevaliers at once attacked, her timely action saved the Host from being badly cut up by this mounted assault. Hrothgar immediately halted the attack on the invaders and formed the rest of the Host in shield wall next to Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice’s warriors; this allowed the survivors of the enemy to break off the fight and march away. The chevaliers then charged the Host but were met with such a strong shield wall that they had to retire, as they did so Hrothgar ordered the Host to advance. When the chevaliers again charged Hrothgar halted the Host and reformed the shieldwall, again the chevaliers were unable to break the Host. Hrothgar again ordered the Host to advance when the cavalry retired and repeated these tactics until the chevaliers were driven out of the clearing.
In the process of all this the Host had captured the invaders loot and supplies, badly mauled, hungry and cut off from their camp they offered to behave peacefully if they were allowed to return to their ships and sail away. Hrothgar discussed this with Oward Piles as it was his land; together they agreed to allow the invaders to go.
A great banquet
Jarl Guthrothr Belly-Shaker and the Manaraefan Hosted the Host's celebration of that year's successes and twenty five years of the Host’s existence. There was a great deal of food and strong drink consumed here. Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson, as was traditional, gave out fine gifts to those that had earned the respect of the Host. Sigurd the Climber and Orm Longarm were made a Jarl of the Host and Jarl Halgerd Eiricsdotta was given a fine gift of silver. The Thegns Valgard Toebreaker and Millicent of Ousekjarr were among those who also received silver from the Konungr. Here also it was that Dagfiend Scoffa was raised to the rank of Drengr. Much praise was heaped upon the Manaraefan for the quality of the feast; some wanted to take the cook away with them. A great quantity of food was eaten but still there was much left over for the winter.
There were many old warriors there that had not been seen for many a year, among them were the Konungrs Ragnar Bear Odinsson and Jarl Sven Gottfriedsson. Some of these old folk said how much better things were than in the hard days of their youth, others, as is the way with the old, complained that the food and service was better when they were young.
After this Konungr Thorgrim held a meeting of all his Jarls and Sturaesmen, the events of the year were discussed and the first plans for the next year were made, here also much praise was made of the banquet that the Manaraefan had held for the Host.
At about this time a son was born to Dagfiend Scoffa and Kormak the Carter, they name him Mort. Also Hetha Gydasdotta joined the Manaraefan.
997 The Danes went around Defnas Scir into the mouth of the Severn, and there ravaged in West Wealas, Wealas and Defnas. Then they put in at Watchet and did much evil by burning and slaughtering. After that they went round to Land's End again on the south side, and went into the mouth of the Tamar, continuing up until they came to Lydford, Burning or killing each thing they met - they burnt down Ordulf's monastery at Tavistock, and brought with them to their ships indescribable plunder.
When the new-year came Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson called his high council to his home, Hrothgar Bokraeder, Lief Tyrsson, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Ottar Haraldsson, Erling Rigsson and Orm Longarm all came to give wise counsel to the Konungr. Also there were Muirigan Legbiter, Sigurd the Climber and Aelfgifu to look after their needs and record what was said. Rebecca Sigurdsdottir and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were there to learn from their elders. Some treasure that had gone undivided the previous year was distributed to those in need; this was the custom of Thorgrim Sigmundsson at this time of year and proves his greatness and generosity of spirit. His councillors advised him on this but Hrothgar and Halgerd Eiricsdotta declined to speak when they had an interest, for good or ill, where the treasure might go.
At this time Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s Host consisted of the Herreds Aescinga, Amounderness, Cwmmwd Ial, Dahrg de Belne, Danelaw, Dunholm, Hrafnsdale, Scots, the Manaraefan, Jotunheim, Mercia, Northumbria, Norvik Hrafnswyrd, Hwicce, Ormsheim, Ulfstahm, the Valhalla Ulfhednar, the Wolves of Andred, and Y'Draig; also the Lethangs Bana-Ord, Axholm, Birkana, Dantre, Draum Broedr, Frysian Vikings, Hrafn Banner, Jorvik, Aescesdun, Ulfstahm, Ousekjarr, Suth Sexena, Werod Westan, Trondheim, the Poor Knights of St. Chad, Supporters of the Crown, Tylwyth Mon, Nomania, Vanaheim and Yddlir.
After this Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson called all his Jarls and Sturaesmen together to plan the year’s campaigns. The Jarls gave the Konungr the benefit of their advice and they all went away well satisfied with their plans. Orm Longarm now took over from Hrothgar the task of preparing the Host for war; he called all those responsible for the training of the Host together and told them what was expected of them. Hrothgar took from Orm Longarm the task of planning the battles of the Host.
The Manaraefan made a small raid on the town of Alder's Shot, Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Valgard Toebreaker, Hrothgar, Gari of the Manaraefan, Kormak the Carter, Styrkar Rattle Snake, Gorstag the Butcher, Adam of the Manaraefan and Hetha Gydasdotta all fought there. Dagfiend Scoffa, Halla of the Manaraefan, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Freya Horn Blower, Dag Ulfbjornsson, Olof Ulfbjornsdotta, Knut Guthrothrsson and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were there also.
In a quiet voice
The Host started the year’s campaign at Portcaester at Easter; Hrothgar planned the attack on the Saxons who dwelt in that place. The battle was very hard, Hrothgar made the Host press their enemies harder than they had ever before, though they were more tired their victory was more complete. The Manaraefan fought their with much skill, Styrkar Rattle Snake and Hrothgar used their bows, while Guthrothr Belly-Shaker led Valgard Toebreaker, Frodi of the Manaraefan, Red Orm the Aged, Kormak the Carter, Dagfiend Scoffa, Ragnar of the Manaraefan, Freya Horn Blower, Gorstag the Butcher, Hetha Gydasdotta and Adam of the Manaraefan stood in the shieldwall. During the battle a Saxon warrior rushed towards Styrkar Rattle Snake as she tried to fit an arrow to her bow, in a quiet voice she asked the Saxon not to kill her and he turned away. Styrkar Rattle Snake then fitted an arrow to her bow and shot him dead.
The Host went into Northumbria and there attacked the burgh of Richmound aided by their Scottish allies. At first the battle went well, the Northumbrians fared badly against the Host but the Scots did not attack them and this gave them heart. The Northumbrians drove off the Host and when they did so the treacherous Scots went over to the Northumbrians. Gold and silver had bought their honour, though a brave race of warriors their chieftains always gave their first loyalty to their purse. All would have gone badly for the Host had not a great wind and heavy deluge not dampened the ardour of the warriors in both armies. They fought again with no clear victor and then all went home, wet.
Mercia was the next place to feel the attentions of the Host; Thorgrim Sigmundsson led them to Kenilworth where a great number of the Host sorely used the people of that place. Much plunder was taken before a Mercian force was able to come against them. The Mercians were left in possession of the ravens’ field but a great many of the wolves feast were known to them.
Into Anglia went the Host and attacked the place called Haydon Grange. The Host was much reduced by its preceding battles but the Anglians were not able to bring many warriors against them. Here the Host drove away most of the Anglian warriors and only their lords hearth troop stayed and fought. No mercy was shown them and none asked, the Host cut them all down and took much plunder from them.
The Host now marched through Mercia to attack the Wealsh borders at Beasecestun. The Wealsh met the Host in a narrow sloping place between a mountain and a forest. After a very wet night the ground was treacherous under foot but the armies were determined to have at each other. The Wealsh attacked first, Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s hearth troop held the Wealsh in the centre of the field while the warriors beside them forced the Wealsh back. The Wealsh were crushed in on one another and soon found themselves surrounded. All the Wealsh would have been slain had not their chieftain Owain, not led a desperate attack which broke through Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s hearth troop. Owain and a handful of his followers escaped back into Wealas.
Emboldened by this victory Thorgrim Sigmundsson led the Host deep into Wealas and crossed the sea to the isle of Mon. At a place called Amlwch the Wealsh gathered a great force to drive off the Host. Owain was determined to avenge his defeat. There were a great many Wealsh and the Host were not able to hold onto the place of slaughter. A noble jarl from Dublin was slain there and was burned in his ship before the Host returned to Ynglingaland.
Franks in Mercia
Back in Mercia the Host came upon and army of Franks encamped near the hall of Kircbea. These were the same people that the Host had defeated in the year before. Both armies straight way prepared for battle. The chevaliers found it difficult to get their mounts to attack the Host, the fierce demeanour of the host frightened the horses. The enemy also had a great number of warriors well equipped with coats of mail. Despite this they were unable to overcome the Host and marched away. From prisoners Thorgrim Sigmundsson discovered that the enemy called themselves the Conquerors, this name was treated with scorn by the Host.
At Searoburg the Host met the Franks again with much the same result. Here some of the chevaliers fell from their saddles to the amusement of the Host, indeed they laughed so much that the Franks were almost able to take them by surprise when their footmen attacked.
Throughout this year Hrothgar made the battle plans of the Host and saw to the direction of the warriors.
998 In this year the Danes turned eastward again, into the mouth of the Frome, and pushed up into Dorseatscir in whatever direction they pleased. Many a time levies were gathered to oppose them; but, as soon as battle was about to begin, the word was given to withdraw, and always in the end the Danes had the victory. Then for another period they had their base in the Wiht, and drew their supplies meanwhile from Hamtun Scir and Suthe Seaxe.
When the new-year came Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson called his high council to his home, Hrothgar Bokraeder, Lief Tyrsson, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Ottar Haraldsson and Erling Rigsson all came to give wise counsel to the Konungr. Also there were Muirigan Legbiter, Sigurd the Climber and Aelfgifu to look after their needs and record what was said. Rebecca Sigurdsdottir, and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were there to learn from their elders.
At this time Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s Host consisted of the Herreds Aescinga, Amounderness, Cwmmwd Ial, Dahrg de Belne, Danelaw, Dunholm, Hrafnsdale, the Manaraefan, Jotunheim, Mercia, Northumbria, Hwicce, Ormsheim, Scots, Norvik Hrafnswyrd, Ousekjarr, Ulfstahm, the Valhalla Ulfhednar, the Wolves of Andred, and Y'Draig; also the Lethangs Bana-Ord, Axholm, Birkana, Brakha, Dantre, Frysian Vikings, Draum Broedr, Hrafn Banner, Lothene, Mathrafal, Mercian Guard, Jorvik, Aescesdun, Suth Sexena, Trondheim, the Poor Knights of St. Chad, Nomania, the Normans, Tweoneam, Tylwyth Mon and Y’Dalir.
The Jarls of the Host met with their Konungr, Thorgrim Sigmundsson, to make their plans for the coming year. At this time Hrothgar asked Thegn Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice to help him plan the battles of the Host. At the feast held after Hrothgar was given a fine shield and a purse of silver for the skill he had shown with his bow.
Thorgrim Sigmundsson called out his Host and led them to fight the people of Haestingas, there was much rain and many rivers flooded, some of the Host were unable to answer the call. Kormak the Carter’s cart was put to good work when the Host made their camp and was used to take food and the tools of war a great distance. The Haetingas were helped by Frankish chevaliers from the Conquerors, but their help was of no worth. The chevaliers could not break the Host’s shield wall, the Host then drove the people of Haestingas from the place of slaughter. The chevaliers made another assault on the Host but were driven off again, some of the horsemen were able to break into the shield wall and Hrothgar slew one of these with Orcblender. This was the signal for the chevaliers to turn and flee, as they tried to cross a bridge some of the horses stumbled and a great many fell, there was much slaughter there.
At Wroxeter then known as Cair Guricon the Host met a Wealsh army led by Merfyn ap Rhodri. A parley was held to decide if they would fight or not. While this was happening Millicent of Ousekjarr, jarl of Ouskejarr, took offence at the way a Wealsh warrior was looking at her. She offered to put his eyes out and after more heated words a fight ensued. Millicent of Ousekjarr had the better of the match and preserved her dignity by cutting the Wealshman down with her long axe. The Wealsh were for avenging the death of their fellow, even though it was a fair fight, and their archers tried to shoot Millicent of Ousekjarr. Enraged by their shabby behaviour the Host attacked. Despite their anger the Host were unable to defeat Merfyn ap Rhodri’s Wealsh army and the two sides parted with more bad blood between them.
The Host now moved to the mouth of the Tyne where they surprised and attacked the Northumbrians. After the first shock of battle the two sides parted and the Northumbrians asked for a parley to discuss terms for the Host to depart. During the parley Millicent of Ousekjarr took offence at the way a warrior was looking at her, again. Millicent of Ousekjarr again slew her man and as soon as she had done so the Northumbrians attacked. The Northumbrians were no match for the Host and many were slain when their escape was cut off by some of the Host going behind them.
From there the Host moved down the coast to Wightbae. At that place there is an abbey set high above the sea. Some of the host climbed the cliffs from the shore to the abbey and, when the monks tried to flee, they ran straight into the arms of the rest of the Host who approached from the landward side. Before the Host could take away all the treasures of the abbey the fyrd of Dere, led by eolderman Edmund came upon them. Edmund wanted to parley but the Host were in no mood for talk, they attacked with all their force. The warriors of Dere held their ground and the Host could not break their war hedge. The armies parted and this time Thorgrim Sigmundsson agreed to a parley with Edmund. Millicent of Ousekjarr was told to stay behind and not look at the enemy warriors. Brodir Sigvaldsson took Millicent of Ousekjarr s place at the parley; he took offence at the way one of Edmund’s warriors was looking at him. Thorgrim Sigmundsson ended the parley and left Brodir Sigvaldsson to settle his quarrel. Brodir Sigvaldsson smashed his enemies shield to pieces and then dismembered the man with his long axe. Not happy with this Edmund led another attack on the Host but was again repulsed. Not wishing to let the host escape with all their loot Edmund ordered his warriors into a great boar’s snout and drove it towards Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s hearth troop. This time he was able to break up the Host who were forced to retreat down the cliffs they had climbed earlier. Much of the booty taken from the abbey was lost because of this.
Blood suckers in the night
In the night after the battle the Host was attacked by howling creatures that sucked the blood of men. Bjorn Frie led a band of warriors to seek out and destroy the creatures but was unsuccessful. When he returned he had many fewer warriors than when he set out.
Thorgrim Sigmundsson decided to have another try at the Wealsh and again led the Host to the isle of Mon where they came upon a force led by Iago. To no one’s surprise, at a parley with the Wealsh, Brodir Sigvaldsson took offense to one of them. After he had finished chopping the poor fellow into many pieces the battle carried on. Again the Wealsh, in their own land, were too strong for the Host to defeat, Hrothgar ordered the Host into a large boar’s snout and they broke through the Wealsh and went home. As they broke through Iago’s standard bearer ran from the field pursued by the entire Host, Hrothgar nearly got a hand upon the standard but at the last moment the fellow stepped aside and avoided capture.
Bjorn Styrbjornsson again
The Host of Thorgrim Sigmundsson moved back into Mercia and near the hall of Kircbea they came upon a great force led by their old enemy Bjorn Styrbjornsson. Bjorn Styrbjornsson had some Frankish chevaliers with him but they were of little use, unable to drive their horses at the Host some of the chevaliers dismounted and attacked on foot. When Bjorn Styrbjornsson’s Saxon warriors attacked Hrothgar ordered the right of the Host to stand firm and with the left drove the enemy back and turned them towards a ditch. Soon the Saxons found that they had nowhere to go and redoubled their efforts, it availed them nought. The Host drove Bjorn Styrbjornsson’s Saxons down into the ditch and slew great numbers. Only a handful of Bjorn Styrbjornsson’s warriors were able to escape with him. The Frankish chevaliers were only able to watch the slaughter as their horses would not close with the Host, when the slaughter was over they rode away leaving the filed to the two and four legged wolves.
Here a Kircbea Jarl Guthrothr Belly-Shaker suggested that the Manaraefan had become too big and that it should divide into two separate Herreds. This was not agreed to by the Manaraefan and they begged him to continue to lead them.
Bolsover was where the Host next went; here they met the Mercian fyrd led by eolderman Oswulf. Oswulf wanted his son Eadrid back and offered silver for him. This fellow had been captured some days before when he tried to prevent the Host taking supplies from a village. Oswulf was told that he must pay more if he wished his son to be returned, when the silver was not forthcoming Trixulf cut Eadrid’s throat. Oswulf’s force then attacked with great vigour but the Host replied in kind and forced them to retreat. Another parley was held but no one was able to stop Brodir Sigvaldsson from attending it, indeed most of the Host were looking forward to some more fun. Brodir Sigvaldsson did not disappoint the Host and soon found cause to fight one of the Mercians. As soon as Brodir Sigvaldsson’s victim began to cool Oswulf attacked again, soon though, all but his hearth troop had been put to flight. Hrothgar found that he was able to shoot into the hearth troop while they just stood like sheep before the shepherd’s dog, many fell to his arrows. Oswulf tried to escape with his remaining warriors but found their escape route blocked, he made a brave stand but soon he and his sworn men were dead upon the field. Kormak the Carter and Mo Swinhosson of the Manaraefan now went about the slaughter field with their cart collecting loot, they came upon Hedde of Mercia who had been sorely wounded and threw him bodily onto the cart. Hedde of Mercia was very grateful for their consideration.
After the battle Thorgrim Sigmundsson held an Althing and Hrothgar was successful in the case he brought before them. A great quantity of cheese and wine had been taken from the Mrecians by Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s hearth troop, Hrothgar and Muirigan helped them to dispose of it. Here Hrothgar asked Skallagrim Baldpate to join him and Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice planning the battles of the Host.
Again the Host went into the lands of the Haestingas where they met with the force of Franks known as the Conquerors. The horses their chevaliers rode were much better than any they had before. For the first time the chevaliers were able to close on and fight with the Host when the shields were in a wall. The Host stood atop a hill and the Franks had to come up to get at them, this greatly tired them. There was much fighting up and down the hill. When the warriors of both side were tired there was a parley, Thorgrim Sigmundsson did not expect much to come of it and took Brodir Sigvaldsson with him. As expected Brodir Sigvaldsson picked on the biggest Frank he could find, this time though things didn’t go all his way. When he struck the Franks shield Brodir Sigvaldsson’s axe broke in his hands, he was still able to overcome his foe before the battle restarted. The Franks formed a boar’s snout and broke through the Host, the chevaliers took advantage of this and caused much mischief before the Host managed to reform their line and drive off the Franks. Snorri Slaphednarsson was trodden on by a horse but was able to save himself. Hrothgar came upon Godwin of the Manaraefan lying beneath a horse which was stamping down upon his shield; Hrothgar took hold of the horses bridle and led it away before killing the chevalier. The Franks were exhausted by their efforts and refused to come back up the hill; they had divided their force but didn’t seem to want to do anything. The Host saw their chance and quickly moved down the hill, they attacked first one part of the Franks army and then the other. Not many Franks were able to get away.
This was the last battle fought by the Host in this year. Soon after Thorgrim Sigmundsson held a council of his Jarls and a great feast was held after. At this time the first Hersir were created, they were Jarl Hrothgar, Jarl Guthrothr Belly-Shaker, Jarl Njal Siggurdsson, Jarl Cadwgan Ap Iorwerth, Jarl Magnus Thorkelsson, Thegn Slava Wladsdottr of Juchnowice, Thegn Skallagrim Baldpate, Thegn Ranvald and Thorfinn Dalziel. Guthrothr Belly-Shaker was also given a fine gift of silver and Halla of the Manaraefan received a gift of bronze.
Before the end of the year Jarl Guthrothr Belly-Shaker announced that he would leave the Manaraefan and join the Lethang Temsvik of Sturaesman Thorbjorn Bjornsson, Snorri Slaphednarsson went with him.
999 The force came again into the Thames, and went up along the Medway to Rochester: there the Kentish troops came against them, and they came together resolutely. But alas, they moved too quickly, and fled because they had not the help they should have had then the Danes had the power of the battlefield, seized horses, and rode a widely as they pleased. They ravaged and destroyed nearly all of West Cantware. Then the king with his councillors advised that they should be opposed with sea and land forces. But when the ships were ready there was delay from day to day, which exasperated the wretched people who were waiting on the ships, and always, when things ought to have advanced, so they were the more delayed from hour to hour, and always they let the enemy's number grow; always men drew back from the sea and always they followed after. So at the end it availed nothing, the ship force, but was oppression of the people, waste of money, and an encouragement to their enemies.
When the new year came Konungr Thorgrim Sigmundsson again called his high council to his home, Hrothgar Bokraeder, Lief Tyrsson, Halgerd Eiricsdotta, Orm Longarm Ottar Haraldsson and Erling Rigsson all came to give wise counsel to the Konungr. Also there were Muirigan Legbiter, Sigurd the Climber and Aelfgifu to look after their needs and record what was said. Rebecca Sigurdsdottir and Thorfin Hrothgarsson were there to learn from their elders.
At this time Thorgrim Sigmundsson’s Host consisted of the Herreds Aescinga, Amounderness, Cwmmwd Ial, Dahrg de Belne, Danelaw, Dunholm, Hrafnsdale, the Manaraefan, Jotunheim, Mercia, Northumbria, Hwicce, Ormsheim, Scots, Norvik Hrafnswyrd, Ousekjarr, Ulfstahm, the Valhalla Ulfhednar, the Wolves of Andred, and Y'Draig; also the Lethangs BanaOrd, Axholm, Birkana, Brakha, Dantre, Frysian Vikings, Draum Broedr, Hrafn Banner, Lothene, Mathrafal, Mercian Guard, Jorvik, Aescesdun, Suth Sexena, Trondheim, the Poor Knights of St. Chad, Nomania, the Normans, Tylwyth Mon, Vanaheim, De Wierde Wironii and Yddlir.
The Jarls of the Host met with their Konungr, Thorgrim Sigmundsson, to make their plans for the coming year. At this time the Jarls confirmed the creation of the Hersir. At the feast held after Hrothgar was again given a fine shield and a purse of silver for the skill he had shown with his bow.
In this year the Host first descended upon the people of Hamtunscir at their fortress of Portcaester. The place was quickly in their possession for there were few guards. The local fyrd was called out and joined by members of the kings household but try as they might they could not drive out the Host. Hrothgar had made his plans well though he was in some danger himself. While helping hold the right flank of the Host two warriors rushed him, they were touching his bow with their shields before he was able to loose an arrow. Hrothgar threw himself at their feet and they fell over him. Jumping up again he then dived on top of them and smashed their heads together until they were senseless, they would never again make the mistake of attacking Hrothgar.
The next day more of the Ynglingalish arrived and the battle was much fiercer. It was time for the Host to leave and they cut their way through their enemies to get back to their ships.
The Host sailed from there to Jorvik where they fought the people of the north on a very small battlefield. Hrothgar took the banner of the enemy hearth troop from them, threw it down and trampled it into the ground. This enraged some of the enemy so much that they went berserk and attacked Hrothgar. Hrothgar was knocked to the ground but so many of the enemy were trying to get at him that they got in each other’s way and before they could do him much harm Thorgrim Sigmundsson's hearth troop did for them all.