Heading home to the Hebrides, King Olaf spotted an opportunity to raid the lands of Andraes Vilhelmsson near the coast. Charging into the village of Lindahl, he spied that there was just enough room in the Birlinn Nathair Mhara to load additional booty. The defending bowmen were quickly dealt with by the mercenaries from the King of Norway but the mighty host of Danish warriors took longer to break down and the heavy rains prevented the burning of the village. Sensing defeat, the cowardly Vilhelmsson fled the fight. Alas, Olaf’s warriors were tiring and failed to land a blow on the advancing bodyguard. Olaf leapt into the fight with against the bodyguard challenging them, He had dispatched many noble but foolish men this way before and the first man fell swiftly to his flashing blade. Then, witchcraft struck as Olaf’s blade shattered leaving Him defenceless and outnumbered and he fell, a warriors death. Thus died Olaf a Mighty Warrior King. His warriors returned to the Hebrides with his body and He was buried at sea from whence He came, flames flickering and spluttering in the night skies in the shadow of the stones of Callanish as the Nathair Mhara sank below the waves.
The Saga of Iomhair MacAulay
I am Olaf’s eldest son and claim the Title King of the Hebrides following my Father’s untimely death. I had spent several years of life on Iona where I was educated by the monks, now a man of faith I set out to rule the lands in a different way from my father but am bound by our culture to be at feud with Vilhelmsson. New recruits have joined from other islands and during the long autumn nights We are patiently sharpening our axe blades, waiting and planning. Winter is coming.
Born at night in Tempest tossed seas far from land he my have been, but Olaf Titbit of The Hebrides now lies dead in the mud of the hamlet of Lindale.
In the cold months after Christmas Olaf led his ragtag band from his lands with fire and plunder in his mind. The quiet hamlet of Lindale was his target; but no man sneaks around Andraes Vilhelmsson’s lands without his knowledge!
Defending Lindale at first was the local levy archers; they were charged by one of Olaf’s units of Hearthguard and were pushed back with casualties but did not falter. After exchanging blows with the levy a few times, the Hearthguard carried on through Lindale towards Andraes and his reinforced Warriors who had arrived on one side of the hamlet opposite Olaf and his Warriors, while Andraes’ Hearthguard arrived on the other side.
One of the Hearthguard units chased Olaf’s war band round the hamlet and caught up with some of his warriors, in the following fight all the Hearthguard fell but took most of the warriors with them.
The other Hearthguard unit reinforced the levy in the centre of the hamlet.
Andraes lead his warriors into an attack on Olaf’s Hearthguard in the hamlet; eventually wiping them out.
Olaf’s warriors then advanced on Andraes’ warriors launching salvoes of javelins as they approached, eventually charging into melee, which they won.
Andraes joined his levy and the remaining Hearthguard in the hamlet. After trading arrows and javelins, and with fatigue building up in Olaf’s warriors they were defeated by the Levy’ shooting.
Andraes’ remaining Hearthguard started towards the edge of the hamlet, looking to engage the remains of Olaf’s warriors, but as they did so Olaf moved back and charged them challenging them to single combat. The first of the Hearthguard to face Olaf fell beneath his sword, but the second was of sterner stuff and smote Olaf a mighty blow, cleaving his head from his shoulders. With this the remnants of his warband could take no more and fled the field.
Perhaps Olaf had partaken of a little too much ‘uisge’ before deciding to attack?
My father (Robert William Gislebert) was a minor noble knight who landed with William in 1066 and took part in the fight against the English usurper as well as the subsequent battles leading to the coronation of our beloved leader in December of that year.
I followed my father shortly after this when he was granted lands just south of Shrewsbury at Lege (now Lee Brockhurst).
Our lands are classified as mainly hunting grounds although we do have several small farms and the main settlement has a mill, which has seen our prosperity increase. The farming has also helped to raise many peasants who under my tuition have become quite adept as bowmen.
We have a small retinue of knights who have loyally followed me during campaigns against both English and Welsh renegades and we now have a mutual respect. Ultimately this has enhanced my reputation, our wealth and lands (and an increase in our holdings is never a bad thing).
Unfortunately, I’ve had to return to our estate to sort things out after my father was involved in a hunting accident. However, now that the estate is all in order, let’s go and see what up for grabs out there!!
Born at night in Tempest tossed seas far from land, I have travelled on epic journeys in my trusty Birlinn ‘ Nathair Mhara’ visiting Russia and Rome. Whilst visiting Iceland I received a gift of a rare white Gyr Falcon which was to be my daughter’s dowry. This was stolen from me by that treacherous thief De La Rue with whom I at feud, it is our way of Islands for settling scores I will search until I challenge him and my blade will run crimson with his blood. I am a hero of Sagas and oath sworn to Rognvald of Orkney and Norway, so if you cross me I will come silently through the black skies, seaspray and hail. My brave warriors, who live and die by the truth of the axe will leave your cowed men hiding their shields waiting for the final blow and the silent darkness. We will drink much ‘uisge’ and epic tales will be written of our deeds. Meanwhile I bide my time searching for the chess pieces lost in a winter storm. I vow to defend our Celtic ways against the incursions pillage and raping by the Danes from Ingerland and the Northmen from Francia!!
A hard land needs a hard lord, Uhtred Beornson is such a lord. Having inherited the settlement of Elmslac and surrounding lands from his father, a prosperous land and renown great hall has attracted many fearsome retainers to bolster Uhtred’s household since the great battle at Stamford. But with the disaster down South and the loss of great King Harold the relentless march of the hated Normans, burning and savage destruction of the land, signals the time for noble warriors to muster to Uhtred’s banner as the Bastard himself resides in York.
From the town of La Roche-Guyon in the bishopric of Rouen a young man of noble birth and manner was sent to Rome to be tutored in the finer arts of manliness and Godliness. It was during these formative years that he attained a Noble Mien and the favour of God’s representatives in the Holy See. On his return from the grandeur that was Rome he sought neither property nor wealth but the honour of being a Godly man, such a reputation being worth more than gold and land. He set sail from Normandy with his supporters to the island realm across the narrow sea to seek glory for God and to bring any heathens (and any who needed correction) to the true faith. His name – John Le Roche.
I am Andraes Vilhelmsson, son of Vilhelm Vilhelmsson, son of Vilhelm Johanesson, loyal liegeman of our late King Harold Godwinson.
For many years I have honed the craft of war-leader, as I honed the edge of my great axe, in the service of our beloved King, winning many victories in his name and gathering many of the finest warriors in the land to my household.
I live to avenge Harold’s death at the hands of that upstart Duke of Normandy, Guillaume the bastard and his henchmen.
And if the curse of Norman boots trampling our land and traditions was not enough we must suffer the deprivations of bands of barbarian Welsh and Gaels raiding our farms and hamlets.
Owain the Cantankerous, son of Owain ap Gruffyd, son of Owain the Red who saw angels, son of Madoc ap Llewelyn, son of Llewelyn Maredudd is a bondsman of Bishop Dyfan of Bangor.
Owain is the chief of Melynbryn village which has been in his family for five generations. Under King Gruffyd the family prospered. However, after Gruffyd was killed by earl Godwinson, Owain’s family fell on hard times and lost a lot of their land and inheritance to the English.
Things barely improved with the arrival of the Normans. With the establishment of the earldom of Chester the kingdom of Gwynedd has come under frequent raids.
This has left Owain angry and bitter. Bitter with the English who stole his family’s money, and bitter with the Normans who continue to plunder his lands.
We’ve been playing Saga at MWS for some years now.
When the Age of the Wolf campaign pack came out we decided that we had to give it a go. So we have 6 players in the campaign, as follows:
Tony Gibbs – Normans
Jeremey Claridge – Anglo-Danes
Stephen Tucker – Welsh
Andy King – Anglo-Danes
John Le Roche – Normans
John Lambert – Norse Gaels
With that selection of armies it looked about right for England in the immediate post-Conquest period, so that’s the background behind the campaign.
Each warlord will write a piece about their warband, and as the campaign progresses we’ll also post tales of their exploits – and I’m sure you’ll get two different stories from battling leaders. You can use the SAGA:Age of the Wolf category on the blog to follow the campaign.
It also goes without saying that we’ll post lots of pictures. If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to ask.