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Sten Stensson (born c. 826 – 871), also known as Blueshield, was a Viking jarl and member of the Great Heathen Army during the Viking expansion into England. He was the adopted father of Björn and Ulf Stensson.[2]


Biography

Circa 846, Sten Stensson was a penniless child when he first met with Ragnar Lothbrok and joined him in his siege of Paris in West Francia, as did over five thousand other Vikings. The Seine was filled with their 120 longships and dyed red with their battles. The Franks paid the Vikings so much silver and gold that Sten remarked that if they'd given more, their ships would've sunk. Upon returning home, he adopted a son Ulf, and some years later a second son, Björn.[1]

In 866, his sons returned from a wolf hunt and presented him with a wolf for appraisal, so he could determine what had killed it, Ulf's arrow or Björn's axe. He analysed the wolf and concluded it was felled by the arrow strike. Björn complained that his father always sided with his brother, to the laughter of the other Vikings present.[3]

A skald who had returned with the brothers approached jarl Stensson and presented him with a proposal from Ivarr the Boneless and Halfdan Ragnarsson: to come to Britain and share the spoils found there. As a show of what awaited them, the skald gifted the jarl an ornate Christian cross.[3]

Sten accepted the proposal and a group of Vikings made the journey by longship across the North Sea to England. On the voyage there, he told his sons of his experiences in Francia. He also told all Vikings on the three ships to remember three things: to guard their weaknesses, to recall that the strongest shield they had was the brothers by their side, and to know that the elements controlled all.[1]

Upon arriving in East Anglia, the skald led the Stenssons to the church housing Halfdan and Ivarr. The church was preceded by a large number of crucified people,[1] nailed there by Ivarr to warn others to not resist and to cause no trouble. They entered the church, witnessing Ivarr killing a messanger from King Edmund of East Anglia and scaring another. Fearing his life, the remaining herald passed the message that Edmund thanked them for abiding by the truce and gifted them 2,000 pounds of silver as a sign of respect and hope that the peace would continue. Ivarr sent him away, asking instead for a hundred strong horses in 10 days.[4]

The skald then approached and announced jarl Stensson, to the happiness of Ragnar's sons, who embraced their father's old friend. Sten introduced his sons, and Ivarr was eager to see them fight, given the great Blueshield had recommended them. Upon a question by Björn, Ivarr explained the horses were to be used in their next hunt, an attack they planned on York during All Saints' Day. On the night of 1 November 866, Sten and his sons joined the Sons of Ragnar in storming the city.[4]

During the capture, Sten praised his sons for working together to defeat the chief of guards and informed them of King Ælla's escape and Ivarr's claim on the York Minster. There, Ivarr presided over the tradition of gifting the most outstanding of the Vikings in the battle, Björn and Ulf. After that, Ivarr informed the Vikings of his plan, to stay and live in England, like the Anglo-Saxons had done before them.[5]

Björn, Ulf and Sten were members of the Great Heathen Army as they conquered East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria. In 4 January 871, following a failed attack at a Viking encampment at Readingum, Halfdan ordered the army to march to Ashdown, hoping to hunt King Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred.[6]

Upon arriving at Ashdown, they split up, with Halfdan going around to attempt a covert attack while Sten and his sons drew the Saxons' attention by attacking from the front. Spotting Æthelred's coat of arms fleeing from the scene, the Stenssons moved towards it, killing the Saxons standing in their way, only to have it be a trick by Alfred. Alfred loosed an arrow at Björn, but he was saved by Sten who took the blow instead. Alfred escaped from the scene as another Saxon clan arrived led by Æthelred. Björn and Ulf took their father and carved their way out of the battle. Later, they prepared a funeral for Sten, placing his shield and a barrel of his favorite mead alongside him on a small ship before letting it drift out to sea.[6]

Gallery

Appearances

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood BrothersDeparture
  2. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood Brothers – Bonus Content
  3. 3.0 3.1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood BrothersAn Invitation from England
  4. 4.0 4.1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood BrothersThe Boneless
  5. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood BrothersBattle of York
  6. 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood BrothersThe Dust Settles

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