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Askeladd (アシェラッド, Asheraddo) also known as Lucius Artorius Castus, was a cunning, mysterious Viking who commanded mercenary band of Vikings that included Thorfinn. Askeladd was half Danish and half Welsh, claiming descent from the legendary Lucius Artorius Castus, for whom he was named by his mother, with "Askeladd" being a nickname.

He was contracted by Floki to assassinate Thors and shortly after took Thorfinn in, who grew up on the battlefield and became obsessed with avenging his father's death by killing his commander. After his band was wiped out by Thorkell, Askeladd pledged his service to Canute to achieve this goal of keeping Wales safe from Viking invasion.

Appearance

Askeladd is an average-sized Viking warrior. He is very strong, demonstrating himself capable of bisecting a man in full armor with his sword. Being half-Welsh and half-Danish, he has blond hair. His face features a small beard that goes just around his mouth, with sharp and cunning eyes. He used a dark heavy breastplate more reminiscent of the Roman tradition.  

Personality

Although Askeladd sometimes wants to give the impression of being weak, old, or not in control of his troops to his enemies, he is the exact opposite. He uses deception to give his foes a false sense of overconfidence. He then takes advantage of their lowered guard to secure an easy victory.

Witnessing how his mother and her people were mistreated by the Norse and the English, Askeladd despises his Scandinavian heritage and embraces the Romano-Celtic heritage of his mother, although, he is nevertheless a believer in the Norse gods. Sharing the belief of Welsh people, Askeladd longs for the day when his King Artorius would return and liberate the Briton people from the Germanic oppression. However, upon encountering Prince Canute, he realizes that belief is nothing more than a fairy tale and decides to aid Canute in the greatest cause.

Abilities

Master swordsman: Askeladd was a highly skilled swordsman, displaying a talent for this at age 11 when he defended his mother from his father Olaf. Despite being middle-aged at the time of his death, he survived combat against multiple opponents at once, including King Sweyn's royal guards.

Ranged weapons: Askeladd had skill with throwing hatchets and throwing knives, although they were not his primary weapons.

Leadership skills: Askeladd is also a master tactician as well as a skilled politician. His ability to manipulate those around him turned a horde of pirates and raiders into a close-knit group wholly loyal to him. He has shown himself capable of turning enemies into allies, as seen with Thorfinn, Thorkell, and Prince Canute.

Askeladd could also instantly read a man, an ability he claimed to have picked up from living 40 years among wicked men.

History

Askeladd is the son of Lydia, a Welsh noblewoman who was captured and enslaved by his Viking father Olaf. Due to being an illegitimate offspring, Lydia's son wasn't given a proper name by his father and although Lydia gave him the name Lucius Artorius Castus after their ancestor, he was still considered nameless. Although Lydia was Olaf's favorite for some years, when her health failed she was relegated to the stables and thus her son had to work from a very young age to provide for them both. Lydia's child would receive his nickname Askeladd (One covered in Ashes) from the fact that he would always be covered in ashes and manure. Lydia told Askeladd about their ancestor King Artorius, the great Roman hero as well as her belief that Artorius was healing from his wounds in Avalon so that he could return and free his people of their suffering. When Askeladd was eleven years old, Lydia finally lost her mind carried a sheet over her head and walked through the village. When Lydia came across Olaf, she confused him for the savior Artorius and clung onto him in joy. As Olaf is about to kill Lydia, Askeladd realizes that the hero Artorius will never return and that only a normal person could save his mother. With no other option Askeladd grabs a sword and fights his father. Despite never swinging a sword before, Askeladd displayed natural talent, but was still defeated. By the end, Olaf realizes that Askeladd is one of his children and decides to take him out of slavery, having taken interest in the son he never knew until now. For two years Askeladd feigned warming up to his father while hiding his murderous intent such as showing Olaf proper respect, recognizing the former as his savior from slavery and even learned to get along with his half-brothers. Ultimately, Askeladd stabbed Olaf with the sword of one of his half-brothers in the middle of the night while the latter was in his bed, avenging Lydia's suffering. With his half-brother being framed for the murder and being executed, Askeladd was able to get away with his revenge and was given the right to inherit his property. A year after his father's death, Askeladd visits Wales to bring Lydia back home and meets Welsh General Gratianas for the first time. Lydia dies after returning to her homeland. Askeladd would soon spend the next 19 years as a Danish Captain, charging a band of Mercenary Vikings, while still holding a deep-seated hatred for Vikings and the Danes despite being both of those things himself while waiting for Artorius or anything else to change the world.

Askeladd's role in the series is the captain of a notorious band of Viking pirates. He is the unlawful murderer of Thors. He's Thorfinn's 'boss' even though Thorfinn rarely listens to him, apart from when he gets a chance to fight Askeladd (his usual reward). He is a mentor for Thorfinn and a catalyst that brings about the change in Canute.

Trivia

  • Askeladd is named after the Norwegian fairy-tale character Askeladden. Askeladden appears in many stories and is the youngest son that no one expects anything from, but in the end, he's the one who succeeds. Usually not through brute strength but by wits, a dose of luck or some other kind of trickery.

References


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