Rig Reidarasson (c. 770s - c. 860s) was a Norse Viking related to the nobility of Trondelag and the fylki of Frosta before Harald Fairhair came to power. He was the son of Reidar Rigsson and Gisla the Axe-Low, and younger brother of Helga Gislasdottir. He later became the husband of Solveig and father of Erik Whaleborn, as well as five more sons and four daughters. Rig was also the reincarnation of the Isu Heimdall.
He also founded the hamlet of Goldness, later known as Goldsborough and ruled their as its jarl.
Rig Reidarasson was born at sea during a storm, surrounded by his mother, her six sisters, his grandmother, and his sister. According to the stories, Rig did not cry during his tumultuous birth. As a boy, he was known within Frosta for spinning tales of his visions to all the folk of the fylki. Among them he would shout, "I have drunk the mead of Odin" and "I have sat at the great table with all of the Æsir and the Swellers of Glory! They all know my name." A warrior named Sklati hated Rig and so had his son fight him, however Rig won and demanded Sklati's drinking horn as his prize. Thus he was given the nickname Rig the Horn-Filler.
After some winters passed, Rig, now twelve-years-old, was mighty but lean, a great warrior that fought in great battles along the Northern Way. He was constantly defending his family's clan and was met with strong opposition from a southern clan, the Whale Clan led by Ergon Blade-Tongue. In the midst of battle, Rig allegedly grabbed a rival warrior and clenched him so hard in a head lock that he tore the man's head clean off. Keeping the skull of his enemy, he demanded that from that day forth, any man who wished to challenge him to battle would have to talk to the skull. This gave him his second nickname, Rig Skull-Talker.
Meeting Solveig and fleeing the Whale Clan
One year in Spring, an adult Rig fell in love with a thrall named Solveig, who was in charge of making mead. When Rig arrived to fill his mug, he saw Solveig swimming in the barrel. Solveig grabbed the mug and pulled Rig into the giant barrel with her. That night, Solveig and Rig went on a long walkabout through the woods and there consummated their love. Once they returned, they found that Rig's family had been captured and burnt alive at an Althing in Trondheim, having been accused by Ergon Blade-Tongue of using black seidr, Rig's talking skull being the proof. Rig was appalled by this act of violence against his family, a miscarriage of justice and a perversion of honor so vile that Rig vowed revenge. But it would not come that day, for King Hadon, at Egon's urging, had issued an order of exile against the lovers. Under the false assumption of accepting this exile, Rig and his newly beloved packed their things and made way for the port. However, they later returned that night under cover of darkness and killed Ergon and removed his leg as a trophy, standing it outside for all to see. This act later gave Rig his third nickname, The Ghost of Trondheim. After King Hadon placed a bounty on their heads and Bolli Ergonsson vowed revenge, Rig and Solveig fled.
Sailing along the Norse coast with their most loyal drengir, they became outnumbered by bounty hunters. They then hatched a plan and hid in the carcass of a whale for ten days. On the first night, Rig and Solveig made love together in front of their warriors cheering them on. On the ninth day, Solveig birthed Rig's first child, Erik Whaleborn. During the night, Rig suffered from a restless sleep shouting "I will drink of the elixir, Father!" and "I will find you again on the other side of doom!" On the tenth day, the threat of Hadon's bounty hunters had passed, Rig and Solveig named themselves Erik Whaleborn and Silla the Sea-Queen for a time until they could commandeer a ship and a group of warriors to then head for the coast of England in search of a new life.
Settlement in England
In 820, Rig and his warriors raided Whitby Abbey in Eurviscire and slaughtered any who raised arms against them. Rig entered the scriptorium of the Abbey and found the monk Brissy the Elder cowering from him. Rig however, was more fascinated with the golden finery of the room and the book Brissy held in front of him, as if to protect himself. Rig took Brissy as thrall and wished to settle with him nearby, west of the Abbey. Believing that settling by force would deliver evil upon them, Rig dared not take it himself. Rig became enamored by the monk's illuminated texts written in gold ink. At the site of an ancient Roman signal station, Rig and his warriors settled and founded the village of Goldness, which would later become Goldsborough. Rig kept Brissy by his side and had him teach him his art of lumineering. Wanting to secure more gold to make the ink more readily available, Rig invaded a gold mine in the Peaklands. In time, Rig started wearing gold crosses as Rig the Converted, and swore he would make war against anyone who would dare tamper with the sacred art.
After some time, word of Rig's legend reached back to Hadon in Norway who retaliated by sending a war part to Goldness. Rig, who has riding his horse at the time, spied Hadon's warships loaded with battle-ready warriors. He then rode back to Goldness, and addressed his citizens; "We will lose this battle if we fight it. But some battles can be won without fighting." He then ordered his men to gather all the golden ink they had and paint the horses of the clan in it. After this, he and his best men rode to meet Hadon's forces. He instructed his men to wait for the sun to be low before striking hard. Hadon's men were blinded by the golden horses and were slaughtered, and the remaining men fled in terror. Rig was victorious with only the ten men he had, and so his legend grew larger as he earned the nickname, Rig the Gold-Skin. When Rig's horse Golddrassil died, it was burned on a funeral pyre with eight human sacrifices and two-hundred cows.
At least ten years later, Rig and Solveig had had ten children; six boys and four girls. Solveig was then kidnapped by Bolli Ergonsson who had allied with the ancients lords of Elmet who had grown angry with Rig's rising wealth and warring. Rig set out to rescue her but was pushed back into the Vale of Woden, the only path which led to their castle within the mountains. Being unable to attack the Elmetian fortress from the sea, Rig ordered his men carry their ships over the mountain. Many died in the attempt but it eventually paid off as when the enemy spotted the golden dragon figureheads, their superstition got the better of them and they panicked. Taking advantage of the turmoil, Rig destroyed the entire kingdom, rescued Solveig and beheaded Bolli. Rig and the people of Goldness then celebrated for eight nights. Rig was then also known as the Golden Flying Dragon.
By this time, Rig's Isu past came back to him in the form of voices in his head. They repeatedly instructed him to "ready [his] queen", Rig then named Solveig "Queen of the North" much to the ridicule of the neighboring kingdoms. After again hearing from these voices, Rig called a Witan and invited the many nobles from Mercia, Wessex and Northumbria. At the Witan, Solveig was dressed as a man calling herself the "King of Goldness", confusing many of the nobles present. After demanding tribute for their new pseudo-kingdom of Goldness, Rig killed all who refused to bend the knee to his Queen. This infamously stained his reputation as Solveig became known as the "Only Queen of England." After he had done as the voices commanded, he received another, naming him as Odin's perfect son, Heimdall and telling him to await his father in Himinbjörg.
Final years and death
Decades later, when Rig was old, grey, and frail, he wished to rid himself of the voices that plagued him. Neither his volva nor his monks could offer any solution. At a meeting with his trusted thegns, drengir, and his family, he expressed his desire to venture to Miklagard, which he called the house of the gods. The voices that spoke to him grew louder and angrier in the weeks following his announcement. On the day he departed, he took a flotilla of men to Miklagard to seek penance and solace as a fully converted Christian. He believed that this pilgrimage would seal his destiny and allow himself to fully commune with the voices that pestered his mind.
One day at sea, during the trip, Rig stared out into the ocean blue and consulted his talking skull for consul. They had arrived at Miklagard. There, his voices told him to kill a man with the Mark in the House of Shadows, or else he would be killed himself. Whoever he killed in the House of Shadows was not the man he was sent to kill. He exited and returned to his friends in a trance-like state echoing a statement from his past life, "I have come before my time. I was born too early and I am alone, without my father, without my friends," although no one present understood him or what he meant. Somewhat satisfied, Rig then desired to travel home via Rusland, although during this time his mind became more and more scattered. He kept shouting about needing to live on, having his mind transferred to another and to wait for his father in the Corpse Hall.
Rig's final wish never came to fruition as some days later, he was killed by a woman claiming to be the sister of Bolli. She had tracked him for nearly eighty years to avenge her family, and after she had she announced to Rig's grieving family that she would return to Trondheim a queen. At the very least, the woman spared Rig's family and allowed them to give him an honorable funeral.
Shortly after his death, his close friend Brissy began writing the Rigsogur, a saga of his life from his birth to his death. They then returned his body home, through Rusland up the Volga. His widow fought off various tribes to secure his body's passage back home. His body was brought to the shimmering creek where he had previously painted gold a statue of Odin and a cross. He was buried beneath the creek with axe and cross in hand. Upon the statue was a runestone with his many nicknames inscribed upon. In death, he was given his final nickname, The Keeper of the Shimmer of Rivers Unseen to the Eye.
By the 870s, the many pages of his saga were scattered across England. The Viking shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir, herself a reincarnation of Heimdall's father Odin, collected all the pages during her travels.