Meet the people of Wyrngwyrm and read their stories
I am of Danish descent; my father and mother were poor farmers in Denmark who came over to England to find land as they had heard tales of how much lush farming land there was available in the west. I was born in Arnulf’s Burgh (St Neots) and lived a fairly simple life helping my parents on the farm and my mother preparing the daily meals and other household chores.
Life would probably have continued on this simple path, but fate was to intervene. One morning a sail was seen coming up the Ouse. The folk of our small settlement gathered to see if they were friend or foe. Luckily they were fellow Danes, hoping to find treasure at the nearby priory and churches at Eatun (Eaton Socon) and Pachstone (Great Paxton). They had stopped at our settlement to trade some of their latest wares from raiding in return for food and drink.
The warband then decided to berth at our settlement for a few weeks whilst they carried out some urgent repairs to their ship. It was during this time where I met Ivar, an archer with the warband. Despite my parents’ warnings I married him and then left with the warband for a new life of adventure. I now travel with my husband and the rest of Jarl Orm’s household and followers as they move to another settlement to manage.
Lif Stafnsdota and Bjorn Tostigsson
Lif was born in the Jelling area of Denmark to Stafn and Freyja, simple farmers who had a small holding. Lif's mother Freyja was descended from the Finns and earned some extra coin as a seer telling fortunes and giving mystical advice to the community. Growing up was a quiet affair mostly working in the fields and helping her mother but when she came of age she married a local blacksmith named Tostig.
Soon after she moved in with Tostig, Lif had a son named Bjorn but Tostig was a bit of a dishonest character and soon after became embroiled in a feud with a wealthy merchant in the area called Gorm over an unpaid debt by Tostig. It escalated and eventually Tostig was called before the Thing charged with the theft of some tortoise brooches from Gorm's wife. Although Tostig denied this it went against him as Gorm's cousin also happened to be the lawmaker in the area and he was outlawed to the forest to live as a wolf. In addition half of Tostig's property was taken as reparations for Gorm and the lawmaker. Shortly after this happened it was announced that Tostig had been killed by Gorm's son Unvarr and as Tostig was an outlaw no justice would be forthcoming.
Fearing that Gorm would next move on her and her son, she decided to flee but they struggled to find anywhere suitable to settle as there was little use for a woman with a small child. They eventually found themselves on a boat headed west and travelled inland to Hicce in Mercia on the edge of the Danelaw. They were able to find work as farm labourers in this unsettled part of country. For a couple of years they lived quietly until the arrival of a raiding party from the Danelaw who had come to help themselves to the recently harvested corn.
Recognising her fellow Danes, Lif saw an opportunity to convince the war band to take her and Bjorn with them. As Lif's mother had been a seer, she knew a little about the role of Volva even though she had not performed many rituals on her own. Lif persuaded the war band they should have a Volva travelling with them to bring them good fortune and victory in battle. Bjorn also began following in his father’s footsteps by helping the war band blacksmith Erik as his apprentice but his real ambition is to become a warrior and avenge his father’s death by killing both Gorm and Unvarr.
Hoc of Hocga Cliffe
Hoc is a descendant of the famous Hoc, a Saxon who roamed and raided north of the Roman wall 200 years ago and who settled on a steep hillside with two rivers on the Wæcelinga Stræt.
Hoc lives in extraordinary times, there are Danes living on the other side of the Wæcelinga Stræt. Careful not to invite raids, the locals have been joining Danish war bands for years to create a little wealth as well as to stay safe from the Danes.
As a warrior Hoc was able to hold his own and earn some hack-silver. But Hoc is getting on in years and after a Dane tried to do some uninvited eye carving, Hoc has retired to a craft as a leather worker whilst his eye heals.
Hoc has taken on an apprentice, a useless wastrel called Edric of Ytingaforde. Edric may be useless at leather work – except for the skiving – but he is relatively good with a blade. Edric is Hocs unofficial body guard during his convalescence and Hoc keeps Edric in turnips and other Saxon treats. Edric doesn't know why that is the reason Hoc keeps him on. Being the only two Saxons in the war band, Hoc keeps an eye on those Danes, happy to join raids or travel to nearby towns to show his wares.
Always happy when in a shield wall, Hoc is also happy to put the knife in for some extra profit, but not in the war band, there is some honour amongst thieves!
Edric of Ytingaforde
Edric of Ytingaforde is the fourth son of the ceorl farmer Cedric of Ytingaforde. Ytingaforde is a small hamlet in Bedafordescir near to the market town of Leahtun.
Largely useless at farming (and most other tasks), Edric was volunteered as the local select-fyrdsman, in the hope he would leave and not return.
Unfortunately for his neighbours Edric not only survived his first call-up, but thrived. Finding himself to have a small degree of talent at killing people, particularly people who weren’t paying attention, Edric returned home wealthier than he left it.
Eventually, after being called up several times Edric accrued enough wealth to equip himself properly for battle but soon found himself bored. Being the fourth son he had no inheritance due, so apprenticed himself to the master leatherworker Hoc, from a nearby village a little way up Wæcelinga Stræt. Far more enthusiastic than he is skilled, he gets in Hoc's way more than he helps him.
In recent times Edric’s service as a fyrdsman is owed to a Danish jarl, rather than an Angelcynn Ealdorman. A stubborn and sullen sense of national pride dwells in Edric’s soul, but he is nothing if not pragmatic and continues to fight for this foreigner. He has very little love for the invaders, and would turn on them in a heartbeat if the Angelcynn stood a chance of regaining Bedafordescir.
Edric is now a warrior of some experience, having stood in his fair share of shield-walls, though this style of warfare does not suit him. He is far more at home roaming the battlefield picking off wounded foes and sneaking around enemy lines. Utterly pragmatic, and largely without honour Edric has no sense of shame at fleeing from a fight he cannot win.
Born in a village near Véborg in Denmark, my father was a blacksmith, supplying ironmungery to the local Jarl.
As I grew up, it was obvious that I had a knack of knocking bits of wood and iron together, so I became my father's apprentice. In the evenings I'd sit by the fireside and listen to stories of the gods and of heros on fantastic sagas, dreaming that I one day would do the same.
When I became of age, I wanted to find fame and fortune, making my own sagas. There was a great army being formed, with a need of warriors and craftsmen, I decided to join them with many others that served my Jarl and sail west with the vast fleet of longboats. I don't think my family missed me to much!
Landing in Anglia, I had 13 years of skirmishes and battles along with long periods of wintering in places like Snotingaham where supplies were transported up the Trent. In that time, I grew to hate the Saxons with their single god and pious way of life. It was always a pleasure to liberate their churches of gold and silver. After all, it must have been a great burden for a people with such piety to have such wealth, we must have been doing then a favour!
Eventually, the great army withdrew and with my plunder, I decided to set up home in the Danelaw.
Settling in the forest town of Mammesfeld within the Shirewood, a place once familiar with the Mercian kings who used it as a base for hunting wild stag and deer that seemed infinite in the ancient green wood.
Part of the mighty forest was the Birklunde where the birch trees grow and it was here that we had the Thynghowe, an important Danelaw meeting place where I met a roving band of Danes who were making their way south. After copious amounts of ale and mead, I decided to accompany them on their journey.
On our way south, one of the many places we camped was Keteringers and that's where I met the raven haired buxom Solveig. She took a shine to me and decided to try and keep me on the straight and narrow. Hearing of a warband who were willing to pay good coin for a blacksmith, we joined them as they made their way into Mercia to rejoin with their Jarl Orm.
Although I haven't seen much coin, I have served with Hesir Arngrim and the rest of the warband as we skirmish for food and wealth. I still knock bits of wood and iron together as the household that I now serve make their way into the Danelaw to meet with their and now my Jarl.
Arngrim Thorsteinson - Hesir
I am the second son of a Warrior of Jorvik, I was a skinny child and often bullied by the larger boys. Until one day I snapped and buried an axe in the skull of the ringleader. Unfortunately for me, the boy was the son of an influential merchant so I had to leave in a hurry. I spent years travelling Europe, from the far south west of the British isles, all the way up to the reindeer herders of the far north. Along the way, I honed my mind into a weapon far more dangerous than many blades, and kept my borderline berserker rage in check. Returning to Britain, I learned of a great warrior of Bedes Ford, Ulfcot Skeggless.
I travelled many miles to study swordcraft with this great warrior and his warband. I eventually proved myself worthy of the trust of Jarl Orm and was given the task of passing on what I had learned to the warriors of the warband as one of his Hesir, both to use their weapons and to outwit their opponents. My hardest and greatest task, however, is to teach them left from right. A task that has brought forth the berserk and often left me praying to Thor to allow me to wrestle Jormungandr, if only Thor would teach right from left.
Greetings. My name is Thorney Hilsdottir. I was born on a wet and windy Monday under a waxing, crescent, moon. Little else of significance happened for a while. I spent my childhood working with my parents on their small holding under the benevolent if absent leadership of Orms’ farther.
When I tired of labouring for my parents I married and took up a living as a dyer of wool. My husband heard of the riches to be had in other lands and set sail to find some for himself. I laboured on in his absence. I had the reputation as a good worker and when Yarl Orm took over his father’s holdings I joined his household. Word reached me that my husband hadn’t found riches in the new land but he had found a new life for himself. So following the laws of my people I divorced him and following the tradition of my people I cursed him too.
Orm meanwhile, did well a Viking for our King and was given new lands to maintain. These days I find myself traveling unfamiliar lands helping move the Yarls’ household. Its an exciting life, getting to see new places and meet new people, sometimes only briefly and whilst their screaming but that’s just the way it goes.
Sigrun “The Red” Mikelsdota and Olaf “Forkbeard” Grimason
Sigrun the Red was born in a small fishing village near Hedeby. The daughter of a fisherman, she was raised learning how to gut and dry fish, mend nets and be a dutiful wife though she always preferred to scrap with her brothers, play fighting with wooden swords and shields. It was only when she was betrothed to a local fisherman that she realised she was sick of the smell of fish and had no intention of being a dutiful wife, so fled in search of a life of adventure as a shield maiden.
After a while she fell in with a small warband and learned how to perfect her fighting skills. Small but deadly fast Sigrun soon earned a reputation for being an asset in battle and on raids. On one of their raids she came across a farm and took what she wanted (which wasn’t much as the place was filthy and not well looked after) But there was a poor farm worker called Olaf Forkbeard, so named because the wind would always blow his long beard into two. Initially she took him to be her Thrall but, after they spent much time talking, they fell in love and he became her companion. Olaf had never been trained to fight and didn’t have the desire to serve in the shield wall but he did have some skill with a bow he used to use for hunting so he too was useful. Olaf also likes to play the lyre harp and takes particular delights in annoying any Christians by playing lewd songs on the Sabbath.
Sigrun now wanted to travel to new lands and Olaf was keen to follow, so they took ship across the whale road to the land of the Angles and the Saxons. Having found the climate to be far more pleasant than back home, they decided to stay and joined a war band by the name of Wryngwyrm under the command of Jarl Orm that was journeying across Mercia.
The company is good, they feast well and the potential for adventure and easy silver is very good indeed!.
Hegie Butherson / Helgie rig Skeleg
Birthed in Roskilde in the land of the Danes, I am Helgie, the second son of a minor theign called Buther and his wife Gila.
This high social standing allowed me the opportunity to take an apprenticeship as a jeweller as well as the luxury to bow hunt for enjoyment not just for food. However, as with many of my peers, I also trained in the art of war. Not only with the axe, but with spear and sword as befitting my status.
Inheritance was not in my fate, but summer raids were, as the plunder of Saxon gold was an opportunity too good to forgo. And these raids fared well enough for a few years, until I met with a Danish warband under the command of Jarl Orm, a nomadic collective who went on to call England home. This roaming village happily took me into their fold, and before long I married a member of the jarls household, Broomhilda.
Ensuring a full belly, overflowing mead cup and all in all, a comfortable life for my wife and myself was priority, so I turned to my semi precious metal and leather working skills, as jewellery commanded a coinage that people increasingly lacked.
Viking blood still runs through these veins though, so if I cared not for you, false weights would see our transaction to my benefit. And the gullible are glorious fodder for my sarcasm.
Age and many years worth of hard won wounds have taken their toll however, and cynicism is its price. So I have left the sword and spear to the eager youth in favour of the bow. No longer shall I sacrifice myself to the shield wall and falling axes. No longer shall I sacrifice my comfort. No longer shall I sacrifice my good life. And no longer shall I suffer fools, especially when they are so much fun to play with.
My fate is now to enjoy life. To be enjoyed by my wife. To make merry in comfort, with our kin and clan. And finally, to derive much pleasure from the ill gotten gains of Saxon duping. Side by side with my wife and partner in crime, our creative talents are far from laid waste, as it turns out that Saxons pay a pretty price for manuscript, and when we obtained the Lichfield Gospels, many a page was recreated by our own hands, and in parts, sold and bartered to the unwitting clergy.
I am Thorvald the Shield!
My father’s wealth came from his interactions with Dyflin and my brothers and I grew up wealthy. I was the runt amongst my brothers, but bigger than our workers and slaves my age. My brother's and father's warriors taught me how to fight.
My father's land would never be mine, nor should it have been. So, at the age of 19 I packed my war gear and joined the war fleet amassed at Trondheim.
After many years of fighting and hardship I made a homefor my family. For many years since life has been calm, my land and family well managed.
But, the belly-fire for battle, glory and more wealth burns deeper and brighter than the fire of my home hearth.
The mead tastes sweeter when drunk with my battle brothers and the fire songs are heartier. I will return to my home in the north, to my family with a heavy cart of gold, silver and iron, and the wolf will be calmed.
For now the wolf must hunt, fight and kill...