Raud the Strong was a Norse priest and Viking warrior. He owned a substantial holding of land, and was a famous sea - farer. Raud was defeated in a sea battle by the Christian King Olaf, who was hunting down Pagans, but was able to escape in his famous long ship, The Sea Serpent, by sailing against the wind, (something new in those days), to his settlement in the Godey Islands.
When the winds were again favorable, King Olaf set sail after Raud, and after landing in the Godey Islands seized Raud while he was sleeping. Olaf gave the defiant Raud one last chance to save himself, his men, and his lands; convert to Christianity and be baptized. Raud the Strong refused and made fun of the Christian God. This infuriated King Olaf who had him bound to a beam, placed a wooden rod in his mouth, (to keep it open), and tried to force a snake down his throat through a horn. The first time it would not go through, so the second time he used a red hot iron to force it in. It crawled down his throat and ate its way out of his side killing him. Raud's men, who refused to convert were tortured and killed as well. Raud's possessions, including his lands, and his beautiful warship, The Sea Serpent, were confiscated by King Olaf.
In an age when Vikings fought for victories in battle, land, women, or gold and silver, Raud the Strong died for something you can not see, or hold in your hands, or own . He died for his ancestors and his belief in the old Gods and Goddesses. This in my eyes is the highest of ideals to fight and die for. I raise my horn high and cry out to the halls of Valhalla: Hail, defender of the old ways ! Hail, Strong Raud !
Far North in the Salted Fiord,
By rapine, fire, and sword,
Lives the Viking, Raud the Strong;
All the Godoe Isles belong
To him and his heathen horde .
A warlock, a wizard is he,
and lord of the wind and the sea;
And whichever way he sails,
He has ever favoring gales,
By his craft in sorcery.
With rites that we both abhor,
He worships Odin and Thor;
So it cannot yet be said,
That all the old Gods are dead,
And the warlocks are no more.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !