The VC 2.049 update released today contains this bug. There are reports all over the steam bug report forum and here, so I am sure the VC devs are aware of the problem and will release a patch when they can.
In the meantime, to continue playing you will want to roll your install back to VC 2.044, and load a save from prior to the update. The easiest way would be if you have a backup of 2.044 or can download it somewhere. Alternatively installing a large mod built on 2.044 would automatically roll you back (Balance Mod is compatible with vanilla saves, or Dark Age would work for new saves, or Tweaks Tool could easily compile a 2.036 which is almost the same).
Do you have saves from before today? Or did you check your backup save (https://steamcommunity.com/app/48700/discussions/0/133259956023105377/#c133260492054342453)?
If so you should be fine. Just revert to 2.044 and keep playing your old save. I think you should be able to find 2.044 files around (and can certainly compile them), but if you want a 10 second solution just install Balance Mod and you will be back to a (modified but fully save compatible) 2.044. https://www.nexusmods.com/mountandbladevikingconquest/mods/5?tab=files
Or just wait a few days, and there will likely be a patch. The VC development team is amazingly dedicated (hence they are still producing updates now over 4 years after release), they will fix this too.