When a deal was finally struck between the five kings they sent out a call to all of the bonders from their districts. When the bonders met with the kings, the kings laid out their plans before them. They wanted 360 men from each of the kings to oppose King Olav. Most of the bonders seemed to like the plan so they were sent back to their districts to raise men for their armies. Unfortunately for the 5 kings one of the men who left this meeting had a more sinister idea in mind.
There was a man at his meeting whose name was Ketel of Ringanes. After he left the meeting he took the ship that he had been given by King Olav, and with forty men rowed to Vasenda. From there Ketel left 20 men to guard the boat, and then went with the rest of his men in search of King Olav. Eventually Ketel caught up with King Olav at Eid, in Upper Raumarik. Olav greeted him kindly, and Ketel then told the king about the meeting in Hedemark, and the plans they were making to kill him. When King Olav heard of the treachery of the 5 kings he made plans at once to squash the uprising before it could even begin. Olav made ready his ships, and his men, which numbered 480, sailed to Ringjaker.
Ketel, who accompanied King Olav, knew exactly which of the houses the 5 kings slept in. Olav had all 5 houses watched to make sure that no one came out of the houses. When morning came it was easy for Olav to take the 5 kings prisoners, because they had not yet amassed an army to protect them. They were also not expecting that Olav would discover their plans so quickly, and felt secure where they were staying.
King Rorik was a very wise man, and was hard to deal with. King Olav feeling that he could not trust him, had Rorik blinded in both eyes. Gudrod, King of the Dales, had his tongue cut out for inciting the others to war. Ring and the other two kings were luckier and were simple exiled from Norway, after swearing oaths to King Olav. The bonders who were guilty of treason against Olav were either driven out of Norway, or maimed to make them harmless. A lucky few were able to come to terms with King Olav and were allowed to remain, unharmed, in Norway. King Olav then placed the 5 kingdoms under his rule and took hostages to ensure their loyalty.
King Rorik, ( now known as the blind ), was kept with King Olav. When his eye wounds had healed Olav sent two men to serve him. He provided him with food, drink, clothes, and even allowed him to sit next to him on his high - seat. Whether this was done out of pity, or as a symbol of what happens to those who defy him, is a matter of opinion. I personally believe it is the latter. Rorik, as might be expected, became bitter, and answered questions he was asked abruptly, and rudely. Only when Rorik was with his kinsman Swein, who served him, did he become happy and talkative. The bitterness he felt towards King Olav was never forgotten by Rorik, however. He was also angry that his own kin and folk did not avenge him. Swein would try to calm his anger by saying that they would have to fight against great odds to defeat Olav, and they no longer held much power in the land.
Rorik then planned to kill King Olav, because he felt that Olav feared nothing, and no one now, and felt he could do anything he wanted with impunity. He told Swein that it was possible that if they killed King Olav, that he would become King and that Swein would be a Jarl. Swein, who was swayed by Rorik's big talk promised to follow his plan to kill King Olav. Rorik told Swein to wait outside on the porch with a sword hidden under his cape, which he agreed to do. When King Olav went to Evensong, Swein came out of the church towards Swein at such a pace that he froze, and his face turned pale. Olav noticed this and Swein's discomfort, and asked him if he was planning to betray him. Swein, who was terrified, threw off the cape, discarded the sword, and fell at the king's feet. King Olav sent Swein out of his lands, and sent Rorik to a lower bench opposite his own, known as the second bench. Olav also had guards follow Rorik night and day, and listen to his conversations.
King Rorik's mood naow changed like the winds, and the weather. At times he was silent for days, and other times he was very happy and enjoyed conversation. Sometimes, however, he spoke only of evil. Yet King Olav gave him much spending money, and all the food and drink that any man could want.
Then there came to Rorik a man from the Uplands named Finn the Little. He was a small man which gave him his name, but he was very fleet of foot, and was skilled at skiing, and shooting arrows. He was a trusted servant of Rorik's and would often go on errands for him. King Rorik was always careful not to speak to him at great length, as not to alarm King Olav of their intentions. Finn the Little came and went, and as spring passed he went away from Olav's army with plans. These plans included helping King Rorik to escape, and go back to his kinsmen.
When Olav came to Tunsberg, just before Easter, their was such a good season that there was a lot of merriment and celebration. The horns were passed liberally, and many became drunk. Rorik, who was in his bedroom, after a night of heavy drinking, woke up his guards, and said that he wished to go outside. Rorik and his guards sat on the steps of an outhouse when a planned fight broke out. King Rorik asked them to go at once and stop the fight. When they got near the fighters they were both struck down by King Rorik's men who had come to rescue him. They then brought King Rorik to a boat they had waiting for them and rowed silently away.
During the night, however, the bodies were found, and a boy was sent to King Rorik's room. Sigvar feared waking King Olav so he had the guards ring the church bells, which woke Olav. When Olav reached the street he asked why the bells were rung at such an hour. A man named Tord told him that events had happened, and that King Rorik had gone away, and that his two bodyguards had been killed. Olav sent a man named Tore the Long, with a small ship, and 30 men and went after Rorik. Tore saw two boats in front of them and told his men to row harder. As they came nearer to King Rorik's boat, Rorik's men became afraid and turned the boat to shore and leapt out onto the beach. King Rorik remained in the boat, however, and sat stoic and upright. Finn the Little, as he was escaping, turned and shot an arrow which killed Tore. Tore's men brought his body and the recaptured King Rorik back to Tunsberg to face King Olav. Olav now had King Rorik watched every minute of every day. His guards were told to be wary of his treacherous ways.
King Rorik was not done trying to do away with King Olav, and on Ascension Day, while the king was at mass Rorik was lead to the seat next to King Olav, and sat down. King Rorik put his hands on Olav's shoulder and started to feel about. He said to Olav that his clothes were very fine to the feel, but he was not not interested in the clothing. He was trying to ascertain whether Olav had on mail or not. As King Olave stood up during the Mass as Catholics often do, his cloak hung down from his shoulder loosely. It was then that Rorik jumped up brandishing a knife and stabbed violently at King Olav. The dagger missed its mark however, and only ripped the king's clothes. When Olav saw that Rorik was trying to kill him he leaped foward out of reach. Rorik tried to stab Olav a second time but his blade only hit air because Olav was now out of range. Olav then had his men restrain Rorik and carry him out of the church.
Why King Rorik is still alive at this point is beyond me ! He has planned to kill Olav, and convinced another man to try and kill the king, and yet King Olav will not put have him put to death. Shocking from a man who has been so quick in the past to condemn to death, pemanently injure, or exile, anyone who was a follower of the old Gods. He does actually respond to this question in Heimskringla by saying : " I like not to mar the victory I won over the Upland kings when I took all five of them in one morning, and so got all their kingdoms without having to be the slayer of any of them, for they were all my kinsmen. " Personally I feel that to King Olav, King Rorik was almost used as a trophy, to show all of those who came before him what would happen to those who opposed him or the white Christ.
A man named Toraren Nevjolvson, an Icelander, came to be in Tunsberg at the time of these happennings. He was a great traveler who spent much of his days on the high seas. King Olav asked Toraren to sail to Greenland and to take Rorik with him. He wanted Rorik brought to Leif Eiriksson. Toraren said that he had never been to Greenland. The king responded that such a world traveler as he should go to Greenland. Toraren agreed but only if he could become one of the king's guards. The king agreed, and soon ships were fitted out for the voyage Greenland. This change of heart by Olav, I believe, came about because many of the king's men had been pushing for Rorik's death. Olav chose to exile Rorik instead.
Before leaving Toraren asked what he should do with King Rorik if he was blown away from Greenland, and were to land in Iceland. King Olaf told him to give Rorik to either Gudmund Eyolfson, or Skafti the Lawman, or for that matter any chieftain who would accept the tokens that I give you. These " tokens " as they are called in Heimskringla, I believe must have been gold coins, which would pay for Rorik's keep.
Toraren had smooth sailing until he hit the Greenland Sea. Here the seas were high, and the weather stormy, and he was blown away from Greenland. Either this was Toraren's plan all along, or he was a seer who saw that he would never reach Greenland. I believe that is why he asked Olav what to do with Rorik if he landed in Iceland. At the end of the summer he landed at Breidafjord, in Iceland.
Torgils Arason was the first chieftain to come to Toraren. He told Torgils about King Olav's promise of friendship, and showed him the tokens regarding the taking over of King Rorik. During that first winterRorik stayed with Torgils Arason, but Rorik did not like it there, and asked that he be moved to the care of Gudmund. Torgils then sent Rorik to Gudmund where he spent his second winter in Iceland. Rorik became discontent there also so Gudmund sent him to stay at a place called Kalvskin. Rorik liked it there because there were so few people that he sat on one of the highest seats. During the summer, after the third winter in Iceland, Rorik caught an illness which caused his death. It is said that Kin Rorik has the distinction of being the only king buried in the soil of Iceland. I guess in that respect he sits in the highest seat of all !
King Rorik should be remembered for trying to stop the evil King Olav from forcing his people, and the people of the other five kingdoms, from being forced to convert to Christianity. If not for a traitor, who knows if their plan would have worked and King Olav's reign of terror stopped ? He also, even after being blinded in both eyes, tried to kill King Olav multiple times, including his own valiant, but feeble, attempt in the church. His reward for protecting his people, and his Gods was blindness, being exiled, and dying in a foreign land. All Followers of the Old Ways should remember King Rorik for the intelligent man that he was, and the heroic figure that he became. All hail King Rorik on his day June 9th ! All hail great King Rorik !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !