Crusader Kings Chronicles: Lords of the North, Chapter 4

With Halfdan Haraldrsson's mysterious death, all risk of rebellion in Norway was crushed. Many suspected King Ragnarr's involvement, but nothing could be proven before an assembly. Later that year, on September 26, 901, Ragnarr met with King Eirikr Björnsson of Sweden at Sudermanland. The war had outlasted the new Swedish ruler's father, and he wanted no further part of it. He surrendered to Ragnarr and offered him fealty. With a pledge of friendship, the two now turned to their shared problem: the Sami rebels to the North. Sweden was now part of King Ragnarr's realm, and thus, their bid for independence was in opposition to him.

In the summer of 902, Ragnarr's men marched and put the Sami rebellion down with brutal efficiency. It was in the ruins of one of their camps that Ragnarr came across a chained slave taken from one of the Sami border raids. She was a sickly, haggard young woman, eyes aged beyond her years, who claimed to have the gift of foresight. Intrigued, Ragnarr brought her back to his hall, where she soon began to give him counsel and look after his newborn daughter, Holmfrid. In her dreams, she claimed, she saw a flaming, golden cross sweeping across all of Scandinavia, swaying the hearts and minds of Ragnarr's people and making them forget their ancestral ways.

The only way to prevent this, so she foretold, was for a Son of Thor to travel to distant Sjóland, where he would find a forgotten cave with a spring born from the Well of Mimir, from which Odin drank to gain ultimate wisdom. Sjóland, called Zeeland by the Frisians who now ruled it, was part of the Frankish kingdom of Lotharingia. Ragnarr endeavored to take the coastal province by force, allowing him to search for this cave.

Now that my secular power base is consolidated, I need to work on reforming the Norse religion. Failing to do so will make it much more difficult to hold my realm together without converting to Christianity, which I'm looking to avoid at all costs. I hold two of the three required Holy Sites—one in Sweden and one in Norway. There is another nearby in Denmark, but as a fellow follower of the Norse religion, I currently don't have a justification for war against the Danish king. Thus, I'll be pitting myself against Queen Irmengarde Karling, a descendant of Charlemagne, whose dynasty still rules most of continental Europe. This will be my first major conflict against a Christian monarch, and she has many familial allies to potentially call to her aid.