Chronicles of War
The Varangian Guard
Five years ago Freki “Skull-Crusher” Jǫtunn-móðr Draugadróttinnson came into some money, when an uncle died. He inherited nearly a thousand gold pieces. This was a good amount of gold and unlike himself he used it wisely. Investing in his brothers shop. He bought his brother masterwork tools forged by dwarves. He bought his brother a furnace which used red dragon scales to seal in the heat. These scales were not armor quality and were flawed but for a simple blacksmith this furnace and these tools were amazing. He quickly became renowned through the local villages and received 50% more for his goods then normal, for the amazing craftsmanship.
Freki in turn got 10% of every sale. This gave him a steady income, but he wanted more. Once in combat he had seen a paladin wielding a blade of flames and armor of gold slashing through undead like paper. So he took this income to hire some mercenaries with the goal of getting gold. More gold then he knew what to do with. Because he too deserved – nah needed – a sword which could cut through undead like paper.
Thus the Varangian Guard came into existence.
His first employee was Brennagh O’Hicidhe, the guile to his brawn. An assassin and poisoner, who is both charming and cruel. Together they put down a kobold uprising before they even had a chance to find anyone else. Brennagh still carries a scar on her right arm from a kobold spear, from this campaign. Freki didn’t take kindly to the kobold skewering his new team mate (as well as the one who would help him earn enough gold for his undead papering sword). So he hit it with his greatclub so hard blood exploded from the weak spots in the skin, splattering him with blood. In honor of this he still always makes sure to have a little red on him at all times – a sash, socks, or wristband normally.
When they got back they found Kasai. He was on the run and needed them, but they needed him too. He brought a new element to their fledgling mercenary company. Magic. He also brought a conscious. It was during their third contract together they came across their target, an “evil” warlord. He was a Jarl in the Issia Province of Brevoy. He had made enemies of local villages by taking their freemen as Thralls. Not in honorable combat, but by ambushing them with a raiding party while they were farming. So the local Jarl put forth a bounty of 1,000 gp on his head. When the Varangian Guard went to find him, he and his allies were passed out from too much drink, his guards were easily dispatched of by summoned creatures, poison, and head clubbing. Freki just wanted to jam the doors closed and burn the place to the ground, but the Jarls sons were inside. It was Kasai who insisted on saving them first. After much frustrated debate, Freki and Brennagh agreed and Brennagh snuck inside to bring the two sons out first.
Next up the group needed a healer. After a desperate attempt to find one, they finally came acrossNorwich Finkleton. Norwich was a nice enough guy. He didn’t last long though an arrow through the head by a troll archer – who even knew trolls had archers – put an abrupt end to his mercenary career.
When they returned to their headquarters after their first f=comrade had fallen in combat morale was at a low point. Also when they were dealing with the wounded and deceased another mercenary Captain by the name of Grosgrick Cragback finished the mission killing the troll himself. And claiming the reward money. Thus starting a mercenary rivalry which hasn’t gone well for Grosgrick.
They did manage to find a new member, Gwendalynne Shaele. An odd creature by any measuring, she is part fey part elf. She filled a much needed gap in the group of finding and disarming traps, especially magical ones. Along with limited healing capabilities she was a valuable addition. Together the Guard went after a very specific mission. The one Grosgrick had just set out on.
Grosgrick had been hired to protect a town in the Issian region of Brevoy. The Jarl had good reason to fear a raiding party from the River Kingdoms. Using their combined talents they managed to help the raiding party from the river kingdoms drive off Grosgrick and his mercenaries only to back stab the raiding party and protect the town. Claiming the morale victory and the gold for protecting the town.
As their reputation grew so did the danger of the missions they were hired for. Because of this it would be almost a full year before they found another member who lasted more then a few missions. No one said a mercenaries life is easy but being the new guy who just left your soldiering career for the extra pay of being a mercenary only to get eaten by giant spider, is never a good thing. After twelve more deaths in the group, including three more clerics who all died on their first or second mission. Two things were certain they needed to find someone less squishy to help hold the front lines in combat, and they didn’t need a cleric as he was likely to take a giant rock to the chest (Cleric #3) or eaten by a slime (Cleric #4).
It was then they found Lagertha Lothbrok. When they had put out a hiring notice many different mercenaries showed. Even though death seemed to follow the group for the new guys there was something to be said for earning enough gold to live two years after just one mission. One of the men who showed up was Illren Corsevan. After he insulted and threatened Lagertha she put an end to him using a keen understanding of the fact that one cannot breathe when there is a jagged chair leg through your windpipe. She was exactly what they needed and although she was just there to get a drink, they offered her a job and she accepted.
Over time many mercenaries other than this core group have worked with the Varangian Guard, and many have left on good terms. To date they have had a total of twenty members of the company die in battle and have a trophy room where each of their chosen weapons is on a pedestal. Of course they never tell the new guys, but they didn’t really expect there to be so many, so it’s not like they kept the weapons from their fallen allies for the first few. Those are just random weapon they bought from a blacksmith which they took out back and used them enough to make them look slightly battle worn.
While is was Freki and his greed that set this whole thing in motion as time went on and there was a core group of five mercenaries who worked together side by side, killed together, and saw friends die together, it transcended a mercenary company with a captain who was hiring everyone else.
It was Freki who came up with the idea that they would work together as equal partners, splitting everything equally and when they needed extra help they would all pitch in and hire the needed help.