Poor, poor abused Hrolf.
He exists normally as nothing more than a courtier of Holland.
No more, I say! No. More.
Hrolf de Normandie was born with a great destiny. The Gods truly had a plan laid out for him; why else would the birthing woman so insist, as if commanded by Odin himself, to strike Hrolf’s father’s name, and replace it with the mysterious “de Normandie”?
Hrolf has spent his entire life wondering why he was cursed with this affliction, this… This Frankish name. It plagued him throughout childhood. Constantly, people would mock him “Do you have no Father? A concubine’s bastard, eh? What Jarl would want you in his service?” It, of course, only pushed him; made him want to be better than all of them. This, the Gods planned well.
What they did not plan well was Hrolf’s father dying, and his brother being executed at the orders of a Danish noblemen. Hrolf often wonders why the nobleman didn’t have him killed as well. He never got a chance to ask before being shipped off to this silly Dutch land of Holland. If the noble were ever asked why he spared a young man such as Hrolf he would only pause, clearly in distress at the question, and say “History demanded it”.
So, Hrolf spends his days in the court of Holland, unsure of his life and his meaning. He serves this reformed Norseman Hrorekr, the Catholic bastard, as Marshal. Administering his armed forces, it is never enough to occupy his time – Hrolf is nothing if not diligent however, so he performs his duties well.
Again, the Gods deign it necessary to interfere.
Odin speaks to Hrorekr in the night. He tells him plainly and simply, with no allusions to his betrayal of the old ways, what he must do. Hrorekr speaks to no one about this.
Instead, he summons Hrolf to his hall early in the morning, conferring upon him a most unexpected and rather confusing honour:
“You will leave this moment for Westfriesland. It is now your land. You are also hereby released from my vassalage… You are your own free man now… Go. And speak no more of it”
Hrolf de Normandie is now the Count of Westfriesland. An independent Norse count, no less! Two Norse vassals serve beneath him as heads of the city and church there, thus giving him real and true power.
Truly, Hrolf did not quite understand why he was given this; court rumours states the Duke’s insanity and betrayal of some figure known as “Christ”, but Hrolf did not care. He did not question it. He simply assumed that the Gods had this planned all along, a chance at last to allow him some real power. He envisioned himself raiding Northern Europe and dying surrounded by wealth and women, content in his new home of Westfriesland.
The Gods did indeed plan this. But their plotting was not yet over. Hrolf still had plenty left to do before they were done with him.