Nobles and merchants who have lived to a ripe old age, or who have fallen sick, or who are about to die for any reason that has nothing to do with battle have been known to hire headsmen. These solitary and despised figures attack and kill an old, sick or dying customer of means to ensure that they head to Valhalla and not Folkvangr (Freya’s realm) which in my gaming world is where the souls of non-warrior folk go after death.*
Headsmen typically don’t believe in any of the myths or teachings of the Church, or perhaps they see themselves as damned to live with Hel anyway. The Church has, since the time of Thor, held that killing the sick, helpless or unarmed is a grave sin, which leads to the dark underworld overseen by Hel. (My, what a wonderful divergence from the vikings of old!).
The Church of Aesir has eased off of that position over time and in fact now actually performs this last rite for a hefty donation, sending official Church Headsmen. While shunned for performing such a distasteful profession, these men make a very good living and are known for their discretion and ability to perform their duties with a minimum of pain inflicted and mess made.
Families rely on discretion as none of them would openly admit to hiring a headsman. When a old man’s pyre is lit and he lies there in full battle regalia, the family usually explains that he died in battle with an intruder, assassin or bandit. Everyone then understands exactly what happened and no one says a word.
Those who preach religious reform, who are not afraid to speak up, point to this as part of the degeneracy and hypocrisy of the Church.
Headsmen can typically be found in big cities, especially Nornland’s capital Olafstaad. Wherever nobles and merchants congregate, in other words.
*In the real world, the myth is she takes half the honorably killed warriors to her realm, leaving Odin the rest. Not only should you not confuse this stuff with the real world, but don’t confuse it with real myth, mmkay?