Bjarni Thorvaldrson was born in Northumbria to Thorvaldr the blacksmith. The family soon moved south, to the Isle of Thanet in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent. There Thorvaldr soon became prosperous and gained the patronage of the local Ealdorman.
When he was just 12 years old Bjarni killed his first wild boar while hunting with his father. At the age of 15 he was exiled from Kent after killing the Ealdorman’s son in a fight. From there he wandered for several years, finally landing in North Wales where he joined up with the Viking raider Erling Rigsson. After a couple of years he joined the Aescesdun warband in Wessex before finally, as a renowned warrior, being voted onto the Witan of the Hwicce clan in Mercia.
Several years later Bjarni was on the move again, having been exiled once more for an unlawful killing. He moved north, finally coming to the wilderness of Cumberland. Again fully equipped as a warrior, he was approaching the area around Gosforth when he came across the campsite of Vandrad the Merciless, self-styled Jarl of Copeland. Approaching the camp openly, he was attacked by one of the sentries, who he swiftly killed. The sound of fighting attracted another sentry, whom he disabled, thinking it not a good introduction to this possibly powerful warlord. Approaching the main camp, he was beset by half a dozen attackers, and it was only by his great skill at arms that he managed to defeat them. Finally, facing Vandrad himself, Bjarni put the Jarl on his back and, sword point at Vandrad’s throat, introduced himself.
Bjarni agreed to take command of Vandrad’s warband and train his warriors. After a couple of years, Vandrad could properly call himself the most powerful warlord of the wild North West, with his now well trained warriors able to defeat all enemies. After six years with Vandrad, Bjarni heard that his exile from Hwicce was over. Rather than return south he has elected to remain in the north, but maintains close links with his old Mercian friends.
Nowadays Bjarni does more trading than raiding, travelling the country explaining the uses of Viking weapons and training young warriors in the shield wall. He now appears regularly at the Jorvik Viking Festival every winter, as well as other events all over the country, explaining about topics as diverse as everyday Viking life to Viking methods of navigation upon the open seas.