The Bearskins are an elite group of warriors sworn to personally serve and protect the Jarl. Like godi they are bloodsworn to their duty for life giving up all other bonds to clan and kin. As each new Jarl is elected their Blood Bond oath is renewed. Those that wish to join the Bearskins make their intention known before their coming of age ceremony when they are sixteen. An additional secret trial in undertaken, known only to those who are already within the order. If they emerge with their life they are granted a bear’s pelt and join the Bearskins. The Jarl uses Bearskins both as bodyguards and representatives where they cannot be.
The most famous Bearskin was Dagmar Eydisdotter who gave her life to save Jarl Erik Eliasson. They were on a raid when Mist started rolling into the battlefield as fast as they could retreat to their longships. Jarl Erik was wounded and was not going to make it safely so Dagmar carried him to the longship and pushed it out into the ebbing tide, just as Mist engulfed her. As they drifted out to sea the Mist lifted and she was gone.
While all Skyldings are taught some form of martial arts, the Svinfylking, or Boarskins, are an order that has dedicated their life to the art of war. They are the battle strategist, elite warriors and battlefield commanders. Every Skati has a Svin bloodsworn to them, who leads their vikings and oversees the training of their warriors.
There have been many famous Svin over the generations, but none more so than those known by Skalds as The Vaskyr, who held a large foreign army at bay for days so the rest of the forces could get away. The only one who survived was the Skald Jorgi Hannasson who had stayed behind with them to witness their brave sacrifice.
The Svinfylking are lead by the most worthy warrior known as The Drengr, and every year there is a tournament for all Svin to see who proves themselves most worthy. The tournament involves tests of the mind and body. For the last ten years the position of Drengr has been held by Destina Magnhilasdotter of Clan Skogr. She is a seasoned veteran of many vikings and has a death count in the hundreds. The Drengr traditionally is an honoured advisor of the Jarl, however Destina is known to be an outspoken opponent of Jarl Jorrun’s plan to viking west, and so she has fallen out of favour in the past year.
The call of the wild and the scent of the hunt is the domain of the Ulfhednar, or Wolfskins. Founded by Elya Frigasdotter of the Skogr, the Ulfhednar are a company of elite hunters who dedicate their lives to learning the craft of the forest, tracking, trapping and hunting wild animals for food and skins, and surviving in the wilderness. Any expedition into the inland territory of the norse would be foolish not to include an Ulf. The Claw is the leader of the Ulf, and if they do not return to Skyldingheim within the space of one year then a new head is chosen by a secret ceremony conducted deep in the forest clad mountains that shadow the Harbour of Hringr, attended only by Ulf and selected Godi. Up until recently The Claw was Garryn Balliasson, a seasoned hunter decorated with scars from his adventures. He has served as the Claw for over twenty years, and all Ulf almost worship him for his prowess in the hunt. However, nearly a year ago he went on a expedition with his son Ragnar Jarasson and they have not been heard from since.
Most Ulfhednar work in groups of two or three, spending much of their lives in the forest. It is not unknown for them to have few bonds, as much of their life is spent alone rather than integrated into society, and they are more likely to bond to those they travel with. It is not unknown for them to be gone for months or sometimes years at a time, and at times never returning. The greatest achievement for an Ulf is for them to encounter and slay a magical creature, but in the forests around Skyldingheim none of these beasts have been seen for many generations. Sometimes a more adventurous Skald will attach themselves to an Ulf and travel with them on the hope that there will be daring exploits for them to immortalise in song.
The most famous Ulf was one Idunn Karasdotter, known through the words of her union-partner Skald Vyra Fredisdotter. Idunn and Vyra travelled to the cold north and encountered a great ogre who was terrorising a village. The two snuck into the village and Vyra rallied the folks spirits to fight off the attack. After wounding the beast, Idunn tracked the Ogre back to its lair, trapping and slaying it.