Einarr Rognvaldarson, also known as Torf-Einarr, was one of the jarls of Orkney. He was the son of a Norse jarl and a concubine. He is seen as a successful viking warrior and his rise to power began after one of his brothers failed to keep control of the Orkney islands. Einarr founded a strong dynasty which retained control of the islands for centuries.
The family of Einarr consisted of his father Rognvald Eysteinsson jarl of Møre, his five brothers Ivar, Hrólfr, Hallad, Thorir and Hrolluag. He had a wife and three sons named Arnkel, Erlend and Thorfinn who became jarls after his death.
The Orkney and Shetland islands had been conquered by Rognvald's family in the ninth century AD. Sigurd Eysteinsson, Rognvald's brother, was made jarl of Orkney but he died during a campaign and was succeeded by his son. Guthorm, Sigurd's son, died shortly afterwards and then Rognvald sent Hallad his oldest son to govern the islands. But Hallad was unable to maintain control of Orkney due to the predations of Danish pirates. He resigned from his jarldom and returned to Norway as a common landholder.
Rognvald was furious about Hallad's failure and summoned his sons Thorir and Hrolluag. He asked which of them wanted the islands. Thorir said that this decision was up to the jarl himself. Rognvald thought that Thorir's path would likely keep him in Norway and Hrolluag was destined seek his fortune in Iceland. Einarr, the youngest son, then stepped forward and volunteered to go to the islands. Rognvald said: 'Considering the kind of mother you have, born in slavery on each side of her family, you are not likely to make much of a ruler. But I agree, the sooner you leave and the later you return the happier I'll be.'
A ship and a crew were provided to Einarr in the hope that he would sail away and never return. Despite his father's misgivings, on arrival in the Scottish islands, Einarr fought and defeated two Danish pirates, Þórir Tréskegg (nicknamed Thorir Treebeard) and Kálf Skurfa (nicknamed Kalf the Scurvy), who had taken residence there. Einarr then established himself as jarl of a territory that comprised the two archipelagoes of Orkney and Shetland.
Einarr's reign in Orkney
Two unruly sons of the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair, named Halvdan Hålegg and Gudrød Ljome had set their eyes on the possessions of jarl Rognvald Eysteinsson. Gudrød and Halvdan killed Rognvald, they surrounded his house and burnt it to the ground, killing the jarl and sixty men inside. Gudrød took possession of Rognvald's lands while Halvdan sailed westwards to Orkney. Harald the king ordered that Gudrød be arrested, forcing him into exile.
Halvdan managed to seize Orkney and temporarily displace Einarr. Halvdan's occupation was resisted by Einarr who based himself in Caithness on the Scottish mainland. The forces of Einarr won a decisive battle at sea, allowing him to land on Orkney and start a difficult and ruthless campaign to retake the islands. A spy of Einarr found Halvdan hiding in the north of the isles on North Ronaldsay. Knowing his hideout Einarr assembled a force to capture him. After the capture Einarr decided to sacrifice Halvdan to Odin as a blood eagle..
Harald was not amused by the ignoble death of his son. He agreed to settle the issue in exchange for a fine of sixty gold marks as weregild levied on Einarr and the allodial owners of the islands. Einarr offered to pay the full amount in exchange for his control of the island's lands increasing the extent of the jarl in Orkney and Shetland. The remainder of Einarr's reign was unchallenged as he died on his sickbed.
Einarr is a strong viking warrior who is capable of sea and land combat. His primary skills are maneuvers and barrage, his secondary skills are boarding, tracking and lumber.
The starting assets of Einarr are two villages (pick 2 random villages, both with ports) and one drakkar ship (pick one medium drakkar ship). A huskarl force of 30 warriors and 50 karl warriors. Players can put some of the forces on the Orkney island already when starting or you can ferry them across. He owns 40 silver and has a yearly income of 20 silver.
* An estimate of his year of birth and death has been made according to sources and his story.
- Torf-Einarr - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Icelandic Sagas, Volume 3: The Orkneyingers’ Saga
- Icelandic Sagas, Volume 3: Introduction
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