Rognvald' s Sons
Jarl Hrolf had bedded many maidens, but had never married. The bastards that were born out of these unions were quickly whisked away by Queen Busla and disposed of by leaving them out in the cold forest to die of exposure. The gossip that was widespread around his realm was that he was still tied to his mothers' s apron, and that she would never let go of him. Some even felt that Queen Busla had used her seidr to put Hrolf under a spell that was controlling the young Jarl. The truth was that his mother was using the elder son as a means to stay in power after King Rognvald died.
Queen Busla protected her elder son from any persecution from the king by having the court guards not allow entrance to anyone who had come to bring a complaint against Jarl Hrolf. In this way King Rognvald never really fully understood how evil his first born son really was. Queen Busla always had spies working behind the scenes to guard both Hrolf, and herself, from any damaging charges that might come before the king or the court. The king was no fool, however, and knew much more than he let on.
Just as day is the opposite of night, so too was the younger son Thorkel the exact opposite of his brother Hrolf. Thorkel was a tall handsome man with flowing blonde hair, and bright blue eyes. Whereas Jarl Hrolf was always suspicious, and hid his true intentions behind a wall of secrecy, Jarl Thorkel was a pleasant and very open young man. He seldom became angry, and was well known for his kindness, his quick wit, and his wonderful sense of humor. Although he embodied all of the decorum of a Jarl, and followed court protocol, he was never cold or distant from his subjects. He often worried his personal guards when traveling because he would stop on a road, or at a house, to speak to the people along the way. He did not see them as dirty peasants, as did his brother, but as the backbone of his father's realm. Thorkel felt that if they were to be taxed for the greater good of the kingdom, then they should be treated as a valuable asset to the realm, and respected for their contributions.Everyone from the local blacksmith to the smallest landowner loved and respected Jarl Thorkel, who they honored with the title " The Good ".
Unlike his older brother, Thorkel allowed himself to love, and to be loved. He had met a beautiful young woman when he and his brother joined their father on a trip to visit the Swedish King Svein. When he first saw her she had the most beautiful blonde hair, which was braided tightly around her head, a face that radiated like the sun, lips that, when they parted, stirred his heart, and she had the most beautiful blue eyes he had ever seen. He could not help but fall in love with her. Her shy smile told him that the feeling was mutual. In a bold move Thorkel went to his father and asked if he could marry the princess of the Swedes. The next day Rognvald met with King Svein, and it was agreed that it was not only a perfect match, but would also be a great joining of kingdoms.
The wedding was a lavish affair that was attended by all of the local Swedish chieftains, and kings from as far away as Trondelag arrived as well. By both horse and ship they came to honor the joining of the prince and the princess. The couple was showered with many gifts, some from far away lands, which filled several wagons. Jarl Hrolf put on a good act and remained cordial throughout the festivities. He wished his brother well, but inside he was seething with jealousy over all the attention his brother was receiving. This was to be the last time that he pretended to be glad for his younger brother, who he felt was favored by his father.
King Rognvald could sense the tension between Hrolf and Thorkel and tried over the years to speak of it to Queen Busla, but she would have none of it. She simply waved it off, and told the king it was just a sibling rivalry, and that in the long run it would make them both better kings. King Rognvald knew both in his heart, and with his wisdom, that Hrolf would never make a good king, and so favored Thorkel and protected him from his elder brother. The king gave his younger son the western half of the kingdom of Hordaland to rule, which included of course all of the bays, harbors and fjords. King Rognvald did something rather unusual as well to protect Thorkel. In between the eastern and western lands he built a temple, and gave all of the land in that district to the temple, thereby making it a neutral buffer zone in between the two halves of his realm. Thorkel saw it as a wonderful way to honor the Gods and Goddesses, but Jarl Hrolf saw this as just another act of dishonor against him by his father. Hrolf felt that as the first born child the entire realm should be his to rule alone after his father died. Hrolf saw Thorkel's obedience to his father and horkel's goodness as weakness. Hrolf would soon find out that this was a grave miscalculation on his part !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2013.
End Chapter 2
Next : The Godi