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The Assault on Kjotve's Fortress was an assault in 872 undertook by Eivor Varinsdottir and the Raven Clan against Kjotve the Cruel and his Wolf Clan based in his fortress. It was the culmination of the rivalry between both clans which had lasted since the 860s.

After defeating Kjotve in a holmgang, Eivor and the Raven Clan stormed the fortress with aid from King Harald Fairhair's troops and the Hidden Ones Basim Ibn Ishaq and Hytham, forcing Kjotve's son Gorm to surrender. The Raven Clan took the fortress and eliminated the Wolf Clan while Gorm escaped with his life.

Background

At least since the 850s, the Raven Clan led by Styrbjorn Sigvaldisson has been involved in a rivalry with the Wolf Clan, contending for control in southern Norway. Around 855, the village of Heillboer, which housed Varin, his wife Rosta and daughter Eivor, sworn their alliegance to Styrbjörn during a feast. The event was interrupted by a sudden raid by Kjotve and his men, resulting in the massacre of its villagers including Varin and Rosta. Eivor was subsequently adopted by Styrbjörn and raised alongside his older son, Sigurd.[1]

Over the next decade, both clans continue to wage raids against one another to a stalemate. Meanwhile, Eivor spent time trying to seek revenge against Kjotve by conducting raids on his camps and attacking his men throughout the region.[2][3] While largely successful, she was eventually captured by Kjotve in 872 but managed to escape before she was sold into slavery.[4] In the meantime, Styrbjörn was visited by King Harald's uncle Guthorm the Wise with a proposal to end the rivalry between the Raven Clan and Wolf Clan for good.[5]

Later on, Eivor led a raid on one of Kjotve's camp alongside a returning Sigurd after foiling a sneak attack in Fornburg by Kjotve's men. There, Eivor and Sigurd were visited by Harald and Guthorm, who proposed an alliance to end the rivalry between both clans for good. The offer was accepted by both Eivor and Sigurd.[6]

Battle

Now bolstered by Harald's men and Guthorm, as well as the Hidden Ones Basim and Hytham, Eivor and the Raven Clan made a standoff against Kjotve outside his stronghold. Eivor challenged Kjotve to a holmgang to regain her honor for their last encounter. Kjotve accepted the offer and largely dominated Eivor throughout the fight. After throwing Eivor into a pit, Hytham, whose target was Kjotve, attempted to assassinate the jarl from above but failed and was thrown against the wall. This distracted Kjotve and allowed Eivor to recover and eventually kill him in battle, recovering a medallion from his body in the process.[7]

With Kjotve dead, his son Gorm took control over the stronghold and refused to surrender, causing the allied forces to lay siege to the fortress. While the Raven Clan were able to eliminate Kjotve's men and take control, Gorm managed to escape and fled from battle.[7]

Aftermath

In the aftermath of the battle, an Althing was organized by Harald who invited the clans throughout Norway, including the Raven Clan, to his estate in Alrekstad.[7] This was done in order to fully consumate his rule over the region and unite the lands under his rule.[8]

Kjotve's membership in the Order of the Ancients was also made aware to Eivor by Basim, who gained his medallion from the former.[8] His son Gorm inherited his membership in the Order and would spend the next few years in Vinland to locate Isu artifacts.[9]

Appearances

References

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