Rollo looked out across the battlefield and saw what were once his fellow Norsemen lined up for battle in a shield wall formation. These Vikings were now pitiful few in numbers. The Norman leader estimated that there were less than three hundred of the Norsemen left, and now they were completely surrounded. As Rollo stood watching these brave warriors who were about to die, he glanced to his left and right at his own Norman army which had suffered many losses at the hands of these Norse raiders. Rollo figured that he had lost about four hundred warriors to these unrelenting Vikings who had invaded his land, and he could not afford to lose any more. The Norman commander suddenly postponed the attack , and gathered his leaders together.
Ospak watched from the treeline as a group of the enemy warriors gathered around the man named Rollo. He took it as a sign that the attack would begin at any moment. To his surprise these warriors, and only these warriors, turned towards his position and began to walk across the field . Rollo and his men stopped about twenty paces from the Viking position and addressed them . " Who now leads this army ? " Rollo asked. Ospak pushed his way through the shield wall and held his head as he replied. " I do ! I am Ospak of Vestfold ! " he told the Norman leader with great pride. Rollo walked over to Ospak, who was only slightly smaller than himself, and took off his helmet before speaking again. " Your army has cost me many of my best warriors, and to wipe you out will cost me even more ! I have seldom seen warriors fight with the tenacity that your Norsemen have shown here on this battlefield. It would be a pity to kill such brave and valuable men as these, Ospak of Vestfold. I therefore would like to make an offer to you. " Rollo told him without any emotion. Ospak stood frozen, not knowing quite what to do or say. Finally he muttered : " I am listening. "
Rollo offered Ospak and his men mercy, and a chance to join his army. The Norman leader told Ospak that he planned to expand his territory, and that every warrior who followed him would be granted a large parcel of that land to own. Rollo also told Ospak that once they settled into this new land they could send back for their wives and children as well. Finally, the Norman leader told Ospak that he would be allowed to lead his own people into battle, under his overall direction of course. Ospak agreed that the terms were more than reasonable, then turned around and explained the offer to his warriors. Slowly, one by one, every Viking dropped his shield and weapon on the ground as a form of surrender. Rollo walked up and down the Viking's battle line, and inspected the Norse warriors. When he was done he walked back to the center of the line and motioned for Ospak to join him. With Ospak at his side Rollo spoke to these proud Vikings. " Pick up your shields and your weapons my friends and join my army ! Tonight we shall feast like never before ! " Across the field a low rumble turned into a rousing cheer as the Normans welcomed their former enemies as new comrades, and countrymen !
Six months later Rollo allowed Ospak and his men to send several ships back to Norway and Denmark to bring their families to Normandy. The three ships were lead by Vermund of Agder, and they were crewed by volunteers. Before the ships sailed north Ospak met with Vermund. Ospak asked him to seek out Thorir of Vestfold, and then he gave him Hogni' s sword. " Give this sword to Thorir Hognisson, and tell him that his father died well ! "
For years that sword hung upon Thorir's wall as an honored possession. When Thorir died in battle, Yngvar, then a young man, took the sword down, had it cleaned and sharpened, and carried it for years into every battle he fought. Yngvar was such a great warrior that he earned the nickname " Yngvar the Bold " !
And standing in Hlidskjalf, by Odin's side, watching Yngvar become a great warrior was Hogni . He did not miss seeing his grandson grow up after all !
- The End
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2015.