In September of 882, Þórólfr and his viking raiders landed in Dorset, part of the Kingdom of Wessex, led by the Christian Anglo-Saxon, King Æthelred the Careless. The Norsemen knew they would not be fighting bands of forest warriors or fractious Celtic militias here. The Saxons had formidable armies of well-trained troops, hardened by years of fighting Norsemen under the Sons of Loðbrok and the Great Heathen Army.
And yet... his men met no great host of Saxons. First, they sacked the Barony of Wareham. Then, they burned the monastery of Corfe and the town of Dorchester. Daring a response, Þórólfr ordered an attack on the county capital of Winchester. The defenders were easily overwhelmed, but the king was nowhere to be found. As the Norse leader began contemplating a search for his cowardly foe, more bad news arrived...(opens in new tab)
King Björn Ironside of Sweden had laid claim to all of Þórólfr's lands, waiting until his men were away raiding, just like the Yngling had done all those years ago. Spitting with rage, Þórólfr sent word to raise every man in his realm who could swing a sword, to meet with his main host as they rushed home from England with their plunder. He had refused the yoke of Haraldr Fairhair, and he would just as surely deny the fetters of the Son of Loðbrok. Even if it was the last thing he did...
Björn is a formidable warrior with many, rich lands to draw troops from. This will not be like my independence war against Haraldr, in which I could count on outnumbering him at every turn. It will take ferocity, cleverness, and speed to make sure Nordland is not pressed under the Swedish crown.
Return next week to see the continuing saga unfold!