The red and black banner of Stórr flew from dozens of ships as the spring of 898 rose. 5000 men had taken oar, eager to fight for the Wolf in the West, the scion of Thor, the new King of Norway. They came ashore in the lands of Björn Ragnarsson and marched from the sea with a terrible purpose, believing the gods were on their side, and wishing to see their leader crowned as liege lord to all Norsemen. By the 19th of July, King Björn's hall at Håtuna in Uppland had fallen. But the Son of Loðbrok was swift and clever, maneuvering his armies through the forests of Sweden and evading capture. He remembered well his defeat to Ragnarr under King Þórólfr's reign, and was not eager to make the same mistakes again.
It wasn't until January 899, in the heart of winter, that Ragnarr finally lured Björn into a trap with what was meant to look like a small, vulnerable scouting force. In reality, the bulk of his army had been hiding in a blizzard, where their fires could not be seen, and their icy jaws closed around their bold opponents. 2100 of Björn's men were slain at Borgnäs, to only 850 of Ragnarr's. The Swedish king's hopes were crushed, but still he fell back with his remaining men and melted into the countryside.(opens in new tab)
In late March of 900, the arrival of a new century brought sorrowful news for Ragnarr: His younger and only brother, Jarl Sveinn of Nordland, had died under suspicious circumstances, childless, at 22. Ragnarr grieved, and swore that if the killer was ever found, they would be punished. As his son Rikulfr was too young to govern, Ragnarr reluctantly gave his house's ancient homelands to Hroðulfr Einarsson, a Shetlander known to be wise with finances... though he kept Tröndelag for himself.
My dynasty is currently still small, meaning a few turns of bad luck could leave me with no heirs—and that's Game Over in Crusader Kings II. Losing a brother before he could add to our line is unfortunate, especially having only one son myself. It may soon be time to take advantage of the Norse religion's allowance for concubines, to make sure the bloodline survives.