History: Hauksby Saga

Hauksby Saga is an alternative history, based around the adventures of the Wychwood Warriors. It's got particular references to 2006 at Hastings (the battle in the Rus lands where Sighfridh looses teeth and lots of people die- as well as Hauk getting on 'extremely well' with the Eastern Europeans), Tintagel (fighting alongside Visna & Rhialobran) and York in the Dark Age Village (the second half, in Mortun/Hauksby).

Ragnar of Jutland Comes To Gotland

Ragnar was a farmer near Fyrkat in Jutland. He was a wedded man; he had to wife Gudrun, daughter of Gunni and Sinfjotli, and sister to Ulrik of Ranrike; he had no sons but Ingibjorg was hight his daughter. Ragnar gave his daughter Ingibjorg to Halldor, who held land adjacent to Ragnar.

Yet Ragnar was ill-favoured. Gudrun died when Ingibjorg was young, and he was left alone. His neighbours oft argued with him about the rights to the best pasture land. It was because of this that he had several times to go travelling, supporting his farm through trade.


And so Ragnar came to Gotland, where he met Hilda, the daughter of Gaut a famous hersir of Visbær and the widow of Bræsi a rich trader; Hauk and Sighfridh were hight their bastard sons.

In later days Ragnar's feud with his neighbours escalated. Ragnar was ambushed and killed on the way to the shieling, and so Ingibjorg his daughter came to the lands of her mother's brother Ulrik in England, at Hólmr, on the Island of Osea near to Maeldune.


Hauk and Sighfridh Ragnarsson

When the bastards of Ragnar and Hilda hight Hauk and Sighfridh grew the people of Visbær said they were touched by Loki, for they lacked restraint as they lacked a father. They and their friend hight Arinbjorn son of Erik spent much of the wealth of their mother Hilda, on strong alcohol and stronger women. They were also known for their gambling, where Hauk oft lied and cheated whilst Sighfridh oft stole.

After Hauk got one of the slave-girls of his mother with child, Hilda went to her brother, Magnus son of Gaut, a rich hersir and wise leader. Magnus was told by Hilda how Hauk was akin to Loki and decided it was the city that had corrupted the sons of Ragnar, and so gave to Hauk a long-ship and sent him trading. However in order that he would not forget this was a punishment, the ship was hight Lögseims, that is Sea-thread, a kenning for Jörmungandr the sea-serpent bastard child of Loki.

Magnus gave Hauk a great many furs, and instructed him to travel through the lands of the Rus and trade the furs for silver. He sent with them a mighty warrior hight Bjartsörli ("bright armour"), to lead their men and teach them the ways of war.


Travels in the Rus-lands

So Hauk and Sighfridh took many men, including their good friends Lopt and Olaf, and travel south and east, up the rivers to Rurik's city, mighty Holmgarðr (that was later named Novgorod). Here they conducted their trade, and got much silver. Thereafter they went further, to Kiev the capital.

There they fought alongside the Rus in a great battle, which sadly was lost. Many tales are told of that epic contest- how Lopt led the Rus charge, how Sighfridh lost several of his teeth, and how Hauk did absolutely no fighting but got very drunk. Afterwards the survivors among the men of Lögseims fled, and dwelt for a while with the local population. Hauk got on extremely well with them, and adopted many of their styles.


The Return to Gotland

Ragnar's bastards escaped the lands of the Rus, and returned to Gotland. They returned with much silver and fine clothes, but lacking many of their men. However their mother's brother Magnus declared the journey successful, and gave both of them fine swords.

Hauk met his son hight Wolfbeard, the bastard he had fathered by his mother's slave-girl, and was most proud for he was a fair and strong son.

It happened that at that time they met up again with Arinbjorn Eriksson. He had had ill luck in the years they had been gone, having lost much money paying the weregild for killing a man. He had also got a fostersonnr hight Harald, the son of the man he killed, who was most skilled in the craft of woodworking. Arinbjorn was most enthusiastic about leaving Gotland, and convinced Hauk and Sighfridh to travel again, with him to replace Bjartsörli as the leader of the warriors on Lögseims.

Many warriors were recruited to travel west. Foremost among the recruits were the half-brothers Thorhelm and Snorri Sveinsson. Thorhelm was the greatest warrior on Gotland with the double-handed spear, and after much good service with Lögseims & the tragic loss of his first wife Fritha on a trip to Vinland, married Wulfhild, daughter of Magnus and cousin to Hauk & Sighfridh, who bore him a son hight Ragnar. Snorri was, like many of Lögseims, a great follower of fashion and was particularly famed for his vast collection of clothes.


Fighting in England

And so Lögseims came to the land of the Saxons. The Vikings needed re-enforcements for the campaigns against Alfred, as the peace with Alfred was uneasy at best. Led by Arinbjorn or Hauk, the warriors of Lögseims plundered around the country gathering slaves, riches and wenches.
They fought in many battles alongside numerous brave warriors, including the fierce Visna, a shieldmaiden every bit as fearsome as her namesake who fought for Harald Wartooth against Sigurd Ring at the Battle of Bråvalla, and Rhialobran, a mercenary from Kernow. These warriors trained the travellers from Gotland, teaching them new ways of fighting.
In these years the warriors of Lögseims travelled widely, from Tintagel in the lands of the West Welsh to Oxenaforda on the river Temese to Jorvik in the Danelaw.

Establishment of Hauksby


After several years of viking, Hauk tired of battle and looked for a place to settle. Near Jorvik they found a large Saxon farmstead called Mortun, the farm near the moor. Mortun was home to a large family of Saxons, however it was depleted of protectors due to the continual wars which had even claimed the life of Ceowulf, the head of the village. Athelstan, Aelwin and Aelfwin were forced to accept rule by Hauk on the three conditions that they were allowed to keep their houses & freedom; that Athelstan would remain in charge of the running of the farm; and that Hauk would convert to Christianity.

The farm was renamed Hauksby, and settlers were encouraged. Sighfridh and Aelwin were dispatched to oversee the buying of more slaves and recruitment of more workers in Jorvik.

Olaf Sigurdsson comes to Jorvik


It happened that at that time Olaf son of Sigurd, a trader from Gotland who knew Sighfridh, was in Jorvik trading slaves from the great market of Dyflin in Ireland. Sighfridh and Aelwin purchased several slaves, and encouraged Olaf to visit the village. When Olaf fell in love with Wynflæd daughter of the Jorvik merchant Wulfstan (son of Ubbi), he married her and they settled in Hauksby. Wynflæd was a weaver and made cloth to be sold by her husband on his trading trips. Olaf had a chequered history, caring more for profit than morals. However, the influence of marriage and of Wynflæd's Christian piety gradually tempered his wild side - though he still retained some pagan beliefs and would occasionally disappear for several days, leaving his clothes behind.

One of the slaves bought from Olaf by Sighfridh and Aelwin was Bridget. Hauk pursuaded them to gamble for ownership of Bridget, won her and she bore him a daughter hight Freya. Hauk then granted her her freedom, and Bridget later settled with a Saxon named Eadmond and mothered another daughter called Kiara.


Hauksby grew, and swelled from farmstead to small town as more settlers arrived. Relations of inhabitants often visited such as Alfred the Pilgrim, cousin of Wynflæd, or Hauk's half-sister Ingibjorg from Hólmr, the island of Osea. Others visitors included the Abbess Winfrith and Father Godfrid.

However tensions remained high in the town. Hauk and Sighfridh Ragnarsson and Olaf Sigurdsson settled peacefully with the locals, adopting their ways and religion. But their men remained pagan, and many of them found themselves ill-suited for the quiet life of farming after years of fighting. Men such as Arinbjorn and Thorhelm did not see the reason for appeasing the Saxons, and remained fierce and cruel.

To protect himself from his unruly warriors, Hauk hired Saxon mercenary warriors as his bodyguard, led by Cuthwin and Beornwulf of the Beorcshiringas. This meant that the power of the Saxons in the land increased manyfold from the time of the conquest- Athelstan still ran the village, the Beorcshiringas were the most coherent fighting force, and Wynflæd's family from Jorvik were some of the richest inhabitants.

Meanwhile the Saxon farmstead next door, home to Cynan of Bruton and Eowyn of Carhaix and the children hight Robyn, Nessa and Corrin, retained it's independence and looked mistrustingly at Hauksby as it swelled ever closer to their land.

It is now a dangerous time for the Gotlandic settlers at Hauksby, the fierce men of Lögseims. The peace that has helped them build a successful town is showing signs of tension. Rumour has it the Saxons south of Danelaw have built up their defences and are now creating an army, whilst tensions between the Viking groups rises. If war does break out, what will happen to Hauksby? Will the Vikings march to war? Or stay behind, and face the consequences if the Saxons press their advantage all the way to Jorvik? And will the Hauksby Saxons turn on their Swedish overlords?

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