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Your task will not be easy. The journey shall only get harsher. But fewer things are finer and more rewarding than achieving the unachievable. If you topple Jagar Tharn, no one will forget your names. Maybe that does not matter in the long run, but I always assumed it was nice to be remembered.
 
— Ragnar Heljarchen in Reign of Chaos

Ragnar Heljarchen, his full title being Thane Ragnar Heljarchen, Baron of the North and also formerly known as Ragnar Aakasak, is a Nordic warrior, noble, and founder of Heljarchen Hall in the Reign of Chaos. He was executed by Jagar Tharn, and upon his death ascended to Shor's side and became a Hero of Sovngarde.

Background

Perhaps I will be a more successful martyr than a Baron.
 
— Ragnar Heljarchen in Reign of Chaos
Ragnar was imprisoned in the Imperial prison for treason. He attempted to start an uprising within Skyrim, believing the Empire to be corrupt and no longer faithful to it's Nordic roots. However, his insurrection was shortlived as, before he could gather any followers, he was captured, stripped of all formal titles, and imprisoned.

Ragnar had modest beginnings. He was the third of seven children in a Winterhold farming family. Born Ragnar Aakasak, to Rasmus and Lona Aakasak, he would grow up working on his father's farm, fated to live the rest of his days out as a peasant. For much of his youth, Ragnar was content with it. As a quiet and thoughful boy, he found solace tending to the animals. However, when Ragnar was just eight, and trading lumber in the Hold, and then provinical, capital for his family he would see an Imperial procession, and Pelagius Septim the Forth himself. The Emperor would be in Winterhold on buisness, trying to further integrate the kingdoms just outlying the Imperial province. Ragnar would abandon his lumber trading to watch the proceedings, and was swept up in the Emperor's power and majesty. He would teach himself to read at the College of Winterhold, sneaking in late at night by climbing along the outcroppings and entering through the cutouts in the stone wall. He was discovered one day by a magnus patrolling the library late at night, having been aware to the midnight break-in's. The old mage, however, looked favorably upon Ragnar, approving of the farmboy's search for knowledge and offered to teach the Nord. Ragnar complied and his studies began.

Ragnar1

Ragnar in action

Ragnar was only interested in the Emperors, and old war heroes. Once he could read better than 90% of Tamriel's population, he began readings of old war histories. His favorite figure was Tiber Septim, a Nordic legend whom, from humble beginnings similar to Ragnar's, rose to the seat of Emperor. Ragnar grew more ambitious with every passing day of his education and eventually urged one his older brother's, a Legionnaire, to teach Ragnar all he could about combat. Ragnar was a quick learner, and soon surpassed his family, and then all of Winterhold in skill. When he was seventeen, he struck out on his own, determined to make a name for himself.

Ragnar first began by heading south, to Falkreath, just as Tiber Septim had done in his early days. He landed a job as a bounty hunter, then a guard, soon working his way up in the ranks. He proved his worth to the Jarl, and was bestowed the title of Thane. When asked his name, Ragnar declared himself, "Ragnar Heljarchen," the later word which means something similar to 'Small Beginnings' in the old Nordic tounge. His choosing of a new name is akin to Tiber Septim's own change in name from Hjalti Early-Beard to Talos or the aforementioned name. Upon being declared Thane and delivered the deed to a Thanage, Ragnar built himself a manor overlooking the southern lake of Skyrim. He turned it into a small estate, setting up several occupants there, before heading north.

He repeated a similar process in all nine Holds of the province. When he acquired the last Thanage in the Pale, and built Heljarchen Hall, named in the honor of his newly found clan, Ragnar was called to conference with the High King, and declared a Baron, for ruling over so much land. He was an effective and strict lord. Crimes were met with swift punishments, and little mercy was shown. He did not take border disputes between farmers seriously, and repeaditly drafted peasants into wars against the Forsworn, whom he had little respect or sympathy for. He never acknowledged nor made any further contact with his family, cutting all ties with them.  He never started a family of his own, apparently not a priority of his. He did, however, develop a relationship with a Redguard companion of his named Nadina, but it had not progressed very far over the rather long length of time it took place before Ragnar's imprisonment.

By age thirty-three, Ragnar had amassed quite the Barony, yet found himself unable to stay content. He grew more and more angry with the Empire and it's Emperor, Uriel Septim the Seventh, as it tried to further integrate the outlying provinces and impress it's own culture upon them, destroying Nordic customs in the process. He would attempt to spread strife among the province of Skyrim, throughout the Holds and his Barony, but was betrayed by one of his own, a member of his inner circle of allies. Ragnar was captured by Legionnaires, denounced in front of the Imperial palace, and imprisoned. By the time of his escape, he had been in the dungeon for three months, having lost track of time.

It is later revealed in flashbacks that Ragnar killed Nadina when he learned that she was the one responsible for revealing his treason to the Imperials.

Reign of Chaos

Ragnar, once let out of his cell, is very mistrusting of his rescuer and fellow escapees. He insists on guarding the rear during the early stages of the escape, but once he acquires weapons he becomes more relaxed, also assuming that none of them would attempt to kill them. He displays ambivalence at the Emperor's capture, even seeing it as an opportunity to further his plans for Nordic progress, given Talin is a General's son. He remains silent, only making remarks when he deems it necessary, mainly about the progress through the escape route, and various aspects of the sitation. When Shakti is surrounded by goblins and apparently left without escape, Ragnar complies without protest to leaving her behind in order for the companionship to escape safely. He does speak long enough to chastise Zaydate for running her mouth, deeming her "grating" for dishing out insults too often. He shows no fear in the face of danger, and begins to eagerly take point at the prospect of a nearing escape.

Legacy

Ragnar is captured by the Imperial Legion during the events of Reign of Chaos and was summarily executed two years after his capture.

His soul found its way to Sovngarde, where he was chosen by Shor to be a Hero of Sovngarde.

Personality

You can trust no one but yourself.
 
— Ragnar Heljarchen in Reign of Chaos
Ragnar has very low morals. He holds no qualms with murder or extortion, and is very willing to commit heinous deeds if it can further his own position or perhaps just increase his chances of survival. He does not value any other lives than his own, only keeping his companions alive as long as they are needed or can be of use. Despite all this, he is very honorable and holds honor and pride to a very high esteem. If he intends to murder someone or the like, he will let them know well in advance. The concept of theft does not appeal to him, instead preferring extortion, or perhaps a test of arms to acquire something he wishes to possess. This contradiction in his personality is most likely because Ragnar has a conscience and is a very ethical man, easily telling right from wrong, but is not emotionally affected by any wrongful or "evil" actions he may commit. Ragnar also is cold-blooded and quite heartless. He feels no grief over losing friends or colleagues and, although he prefers to preserve his companions' lives, he will abandon them if it seems like the best decision given the situation. He has a a strong sense of national pride, and is pragmatic about most things. Despite being usually stoical, Ragnar does possess a sense of humor, making an infamously dry remark every once and a while.

Much is revealed about Ragnar's inner self when he is apprehended by the Legion in the letters he leaves behind for his comrades. It is shown that he had a deep respect for all of them, since they all answered a calling no on else would and departed on a noble quest. He also is not as heartless as he appears. He cared deeply for several members of the company, particularly Diana Draci and Agatha Tira, as demonstrated by his parting words to them. He also was very selfless, holding himself to his own virtues, as demonstrated by attempting to give his own life so that the rest of the companionship would have more motivation to overthrow Tharn. Ragnar explained in a letter left to the companionship, one of many intended to be read after a situation in which he would become indisposed, that this was a calculated choice, made because he saw no other option.

Trivia

Appearances

Reign of Chaos

Chapter 1 - High Rock

Chapter 2: Skyrim

Chapter 3: Elsweyr

Darkest Night

The Daedra Wars

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