Lord Gudmund Eklund was Jarl of a small town, Haffnarfjall. His town was small and horrible. To make things better, he came up with an idea. They needed slaves. Not the weak ones you could get for cheap, but the strong Issians capable of building a great city with towering walls.
The problem is the way you would normally do this is by raiding their town and beating them in honorable combat. His warriors weren’t that good and neither was he. So he did what any potential despot would do, kidnapped them. Turns out even a tough Issian when ambushed while hunting and forcibly disarmed and armored can be over come by a significantly weaker coward and his twelve friends.
This angered the other local Jarls, however Jarl Eklund had a strong enough force and a defensible enough town that an all out attack was not advisable. So they all pitched in for a small bounty to have mercenaries try it and avoid shedding the blood of their warriors which were needed for other battles.
The Varangian Guard took the job and had a chance to kill the Jarl in his sleep along with most of his men, the only problem was his son’s were int he great hall with them. It was Kasai who argued against his compatriots, saying they had to protect the innocents. In the end he won the argument and Brennagh saved the kids.
In the end it worked out better for the Guard who received a reputation that was good on just about all fronts. They got the job done. They did it in a horrific manner making sure those who would go against them quaked in their boots (fire, poison, and slit throats.) They rescued the children and were saviors.
So while there are those in the group who still think risking the mission for a few innocents is a pretty silly idea there is no denying the fact this was the beginning of their rise as one of the most reliable mercenary groups in all of Brevoy.