Humble Beginnings

A/N: This is set during Episode 4x09. Roland is named Count of Paris, responsible for the defense of the city. Princess Gisla is not entirely happy...

Spoiler Alert: This is basically a retelling of the first two Seasons.

Disclaimer: I do not own Vikings. It belongs to its rightful owners.

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"I don't like the idea of this common born soldier being placed above you", Princess Gisla told her husband.

"What's there not to like?" Rollo asked, looking at Gisla lying in their bed.

"Whoever is closest to my father, is the most powerful man in Frankia", she reminded him, "It should be you."

"I am powerful. I have great lands and riches. I hold the iron hand, I am responsible for the defense of the entire realm", Rollo told her, "Roland is only the Count of Paris."

"Exactly. He is the Count of Paris", Gisla agreed, "He will be close to my father every day. He will rise. 'The defense of the whole realm' does that not sound hollow, even to you? And I don't like the idea of a common soldier to rise that high."

Rollo smiled as he sat down on the mattress next to his pregnant wife.

"That is a problem I can't share with you", he grinned, "After all, I was once common born as well – Or did I never tell you the whole story how my brother rose to become King?"

"You didn't", Gisla replied, "I always thought he was born like this…"

"No, our parents were farmers", Rollo began his tale, "Ragnar and his wife, Lagertha had their own farm half a day outside of Kattegat."

"I remember, you told me about her…" Gisla interrupted.

"Will you let me tell the story?" Rollo smiled, "Ragnar convinced me that there had to be other lands aside from all the eastern countries we had been raiding. One of his best friends since our childhood was Floki, who later began to build the boats. We all put aside some of our savings, until we could afford to build a ship on our own."

"Only one ship?" Gisla asked in surprise.

"Only one ship", Rollo repeated, "We found us a crew and set sail, until we reached the coast of England. When we returned, the Earl was not pleased that we had gone without his blessing and contrary to his orders. First he tried to imprison Ragnar for the murder of his half-brother, later he attacked Ragnar's farm, almost killing him."

"But obviously, he survived?" Gisla wanted to know.

"He did", Rollo said, "He and his family hid at Floki's shipyard for weeks, before the Earl took me prisoner. When Ragnar learned of this, he challenged the Earl to a personal combat and killed him. So within an hour, he had risen from an outlaw to Earl. And defeating the Earl, a famous warrior himself, while Ragnar was still recovering from his previous wounds, made him even more famous."

"And how did he become King?" Gisla wanted to know, "I believe Earl is somehow similar to Duke?"

"As far as I can say, a little similar", Rollo told her, "About a year after he had risen to be Earl, Ragnar swore his allegiance to King Horik. Even the King was impressed by the fame he had won. First Ragnar helped him settle a quarrel with another Earl, then they returned to England, treating with the English kings and receiving payments. But after a few years, the friendship had become strained by their different approach to problems and a dissatisfaction with each other's goals."

"And so Ragnar rose up against King Horik?" Gisla asked, fascinated by the tale.

"Not initially. Ragnar kept faith with the King", Rollo recalled, "It was the King who plotted to kill Ragnar. But Horik needed the support of some of Ragnar's men and they betrayed him and told Ragnar about the plans. So when Horik attacked, he didn't find Ragnar unprepared as he'd hoped. Instead, Horik walked into an ambush. And in the morning, Horik was dead and Ragnar the new King."

"I am glad he did become King", Gisela smiled, "Otherwise, we would never have met…"

"I'm glad as well", Rollo smiled as he bowed down to kiss her.

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A/N: This was based on a scene from 4x09 'Death all 'Round', where Gisla privately complains about Roland's appointment to Count of Paris.

Just a one-shot, I wrote in between other chapters. I hope you like it.

Don't forget to review!