- "We march into Wessex... to the aid of Wessex, but be in no doubt, what we fight for is the freedom and the glory of Mercia. And once again, we will show the King Alfred how a warrior should be. We will show the bastard heathen how a warrior should be!"
- —Æthelflæd rallying the Mercian Guard before the Battle at Fearnham[src]
After Gisela's death in The Burning Land, Uhtred reneges on his oath to Alfred of Wessex. When Jarl Hæsten prepares to attack Mercia, and Æthelred tries to get a divorce from Æthelflæd by having one of his lords to sleep with her (therefore making her an adulterer).
Uhtred with his some 40 men return to Æthelflæd's side and rescue her from the Lord Aldhem. It is soon revealed that the ailing Alfred of Wessex advised Æthelflæd to use Uhtred's oath. Uhtred has maintained a friendly relationship with Æthelflæd since she was a child.
Winchester, Wessex; Ælswith has given birth to a baby boy, who she and Alfred name Edward. Æthelflæd rushes into his arms as he orders Odda and Wulfhere to ride towards the Severn River to face Ubba while he rides south to face Guthrum. ("Episode 1.5")
Athelney Marshes, Wessex; Æthelflæd escapes with her family to the swamplands after Winchester is invaded by the Danes. She remains by her mother's side and helps tend to baby Edward, who continues to grow ill. ("Episode 1.7")
Winchester, Wessex; Æthelflæd attends a Witan in Winchester. To keep Wessex safe, they must look beyond its borders, where Christians suffer under the same rule of the Danes. There are two Northmen, Sigefrid and Erik, two Godless brothers with a voracious appetite for land, silver, slaves and war. ("Episode 2.1")
Æthelflæd trains with Steapa. He tells her to use her voice more in battle. Later, she learns that Uhtred is taken as a slave. Her parents are reluctant to help him. Alfred doesn’t believe that Uhtred can be saved. Ælswith adds that it’s too late and that Uhtred can be across the seas by now. However, Æthelflæd wishes to help Uhtred, who has helped them many times before. Odda suggests releasing Ragnar and Brida to find Uhtred. ("Episode 2.2")
Alfred and Ælswith show Æthelflæd a map of their lands as well as beyond their borders. Ælswith then informs Æthelflæd that she is to be married once a suitable match is made. ("Episode 2.3")
Æthelflæd eavesdrops as her parents discuss with Æthelred, her husband-to-be, the price of her marriage. Æthelred has proposed 4,000 pieces. They want more than silver. Æthelred is also willing to bequeath her titled lands in order to strengthen the union between Mercia and Wessex. ("Episode 2.3")
Ælswith calls Æthelflæd into Alfred's Reading Room to show off her wedding dress. Alfred has not ever seen something so beautiful. As for Æthelred, he is a good and godly man. Æthelflæd asks if Uhtred will be coming to the wedding, as she considers him a lucky charm. ("Episode 2.5")
Æthelflæd is married to Æthelred. Afterward, during the feast, Æthelflæd greets Uhtred as she did not see him at the church, but he assures her he attended the wedding. Æthelred tries to cut her off, but she continues by asking if the Northmen intend to stay in London. Alfred and Æthelred want to offer negotiations. After the celebration, Uhtred and Æthelred are to travel to London to assess the threat. Aldhelm wonders what bargain was struck in Northumbria to allow the brothers to leave with their lives. Uhtred has told Æthelflæd this story. He defeated Sigefrid in combat but spared him on the condition they leave. He did this to preserve the lives of his own men. ("Episode 2.6")
Æthelred tells Æthelflæd that it’s not her place to involve herself in a conversation that becomes an informal Witan. Æthelflæd has taken interest in these matters and her father has encouraged her to be involved. However, she’s his queen. She questions if he actually believes he’s a king. Æthelred is insulted by her tone. He tells her to lie on her belly on the bed. He threatens to hand her back to Wessex should her disobedience persist. She stops him from leaving and does as he says. He proceeds to hump her as she cries. ("Episode 2.6")
Æthelred and Æthelflæd have dinner. He wants Æthelflæd to travel with him, at least part of the way to war. He touches her face, but she pulls away. She tells him that love should be gentle. Æthelred is insulted and asks who else she has been with. She demands that he show her some respect. Æthelred grabs her by her hair and places her head on the table and tells her to never raise her voice to him. He then makes plans for her to see a priest. ("Episode 2.6")
Æthelred tells Beocca that he fears that he isn’t the first to lie in bed with his wife. He asks if there’s a way to test her purity. Beocca admits that there is a way, from the holy books. Æthelred orders that it be done immediately. Father Beocca and Hild determine if Æthelflæd has been unfaithful to Æthelred. Beocca prepares the bitter waters. A mixture of God's water and God's earth shall be drunk. If thou hast gone aside to another man, the Lord shall make thy thigh to rot and thy belly to swell. Æthelflæd reaches for the water, but Beocca knocks it over as he knows Æthelflæd to be pure. Thyra asks Æthelflæd if her husband beats her. If he does not, she can already see that he will. Æthelred is neither tending nor loving. Hild wants Beocca to tell the king, but Æthelflæd wants to fulfill her duty to unite the lands. ("Episode 2.6")
Æthelflæd is at the camp when the Danes attack. Thyra watches as the Danes approach. She exclaims "Death is coming!" To alert those at the camp. Thyra finds Æthelflæd, and together, they run into the woods. However, they get split up and Æthelflæd finds herself getting chased down by three warriors. ("Episode 2.6")
Æthelflæd is taken hostage by Erik and Sigefrid. They’re taking her to Beamfleot. Æthelflæd is refusing to eat. She would like to bathe as well as breathe fresh air. Erik tells her how Sigefrid wanted her to bathe in a barrel in full view of their men. Erik, however, refused him. Erik will arrange for her to bathe with privacy, but in return, she must eat the food they provide. Later, Erik, Hæsten, and Dagfinn take Æthelflæd to the river, where she can bathe in somewhat privacy. He orders them to turn around and show Æthelflæd the back of their heads out of respect. ("Episode 2.7")
Hæsten walks towards Æthelflæd’s chamber. He tells Dagfinn to keep his mouth closed as he enters her chamber to hump her. He tells her to remove her clothes, claiming that Erik sent him. She hits him over the head with her night bucket and grabs his knife. Just as she is about to kill him, Erik and Dagfinn restrain her. Erik then punches Hæsten for going against his wishes. He reminds Hæsten that she is of value and tells him and Dagfinn to leave. Erik helps her off the ground and apologizes for the inconvenience. She tells him it’s not the first time a man has mistreated her. Now she knows what to do should it happen again. ("Episode 2.7")
Erik takes Æthelflæd to the hill side to breathe the night’s air. He was born on a night of a whole moon. His father wanted to call him Mani, after the moon god. But Mani is chased each night across the sky by Hati the wolf. His mother did not want him to be chased by wolves. He saw the moon, the clear sky and wanted to share it. Erik has never known such beauty such as Æthelflæd. And any man who doesn’t see her, such as her husband, is blind or stupid. Æthelflæd replies that he is not blind. Erik realizes that it is her husband who she spoke about that mistreats her. They then share a kiss. ("Episode 2.7")
Æthelflæd is visited by Uhtred, who informs her that they’ve arranged her release. She asks if he’s spoken with Erik and what he has told her. Uhtred tells Æthelflæd that any hope she has of a life with him is nonsense and can never happen. However, Æthelflæd despises her husband. Uhtred warns her that she will lose her entire family, and she will die. A life with Erik is what Æthelflæd wants. She can only say this to Uhtred, though. She looks to him to help her escape with Erik. ("Episode 2.7")
Erik dismisses Dagfinn from guard duty and brings Æthelflæd ink and paper so that she may write a letter to Uhtred. Erik wonders why Uhtred would come. They’re asking him to risk everything for no reward. She replies that it is in his nature. She is later taken from her cell by Sigefrid and hoisted by in a cage in the hall. ("Episode 2.8")
Uhtred comes to Æthelflæd's rescue as planned. They set fire to the fortress as a distraction and rescue Æthelflæd. Unfortunately, Erik is killed by his brother during the escape. However, Æthelflæd manages to get away with Uhtred. They meet with Alfred, Odda, and the fyrd. The Danes breach the shield wall and Sigefrid looks for Æthelflæd. As he is distracted by Uhtred, Æthelflæd sneaks up from behind and kills Sigefrid. ("Episode 2.8")
Æthelflæd returns to Winchester after the battle and thanks Uhtred for not only saving her but risking his life at the cost of helping her and Erik escape. She tells Uhtred that she may be pregnant with Erik’s child. And should her husband come to think what Uhtred is thinking, then it would be a great comfort for her to know that she can call upon him again. Uhtred is the man she trusts the most and makes him swear that he will come during her time of need. She kisses him and says goodbye. ("Episode 2.8")
Aegelesburg, Mercia; Æthelflæd joins Æthelred and Aldhelm as the latter prepares to march with Wessex. She insists that she ride off into battle as well as she wishes to see her father. She tells Æthelred that he should be leading his men, but he’d rather she leave him alone. Æthelred then asks Æthelflæd how is her daughter. Æthelflæd retorts that the child is their daughter. Æthelflæd and Aldhelm then lead the Merican guard into battle with Wessex against the Danes, who they defeat. ("Episode 3.1")
Saltwic, Mercia; Aldhelm arrives at Æthelflæd’s estate and sneaks in through a window. He withdraws his blade and sneaks up behind her, though he assures Æthelflæd that he means her no harm. He warns her to leave Mercia because Æthelred wants her dead and will blame her demise on rouge Danes. He fears that they would be a poorer land without Æthelflæd, which is why he begs that she leave now to stay alive. However, she can’t tell her father because the alliance must hold. He also informs her that Uhtred has fled north. Aldhelm will remain at Æthelred’s side, but he is not the king that Aldhelm had hoped he would become. ("Episode 3.3")
Æthelflæd drags Godric and his men from their beds and heads for the nunnery at Wincelcumb. She claims they’re only going for a short period of time to pray for her father. Before leaving, Æthelflæd gives Sable several letters to deliver to Father Beocca. Sable tells Æthelflæd that she has the will of a queen. ("Episode 3.3")
Wincelcumb, Mercia; Æthelflæd asks how strong a woman must be to want to spend her life in a nunnery. Abbess replies that she wishes to live like this and regrets not a single moment. They suddenly get word of Danes in the kitchen. Æthelflæd, Sable and the nuns block the door with a table. Abbess tells them that her God will strike them down should they bring harm. Uhtred then reveals himself as the alleged Dane, along with Skade, Finan, Sihtric, and Osferth, who informs Æthelflæd that her men are not guards and that she should find more skilled warriors. They will need real protection when the Danes eventually do invade. ("Episode 3.4")
Æthelflæd is grateful to Uhtred for answering her call even after she freed him of his oath. She warns him against trusting Skade, as she carries a darkness. Soon, Æthelflæd will travel to her estate and face both her husband and the Danes. When Uhtred tries to talk her out of marching, she kisses him and leaves. ("Episode 3.4")
Hæsten and Dagfinn arrive at the nunnery, where they kill a guard and demand that Æthelflæd be brought to them. Abbess witnesses the assault and runs inside to inform the others of the Danes’ arrival. Uhtred wishes to send Abbess back out to talk to them as they are not aware of Uhtred, Skade, Finan, Sihtric, and Osferth’s presence. Sable volunteers to go out there, but Abbess takes the responsibility. Unfortunately, they kill Abbess and enter the church, where they are ambushed by Uhtred, Skade, Finan, Sihtric, and Osferth. Hæsten and Dagfinn escape as their men are slaughtered. What’s left of them surrounds the nunnery. Æthelflæd is prepared to give herself up so that no one else has to die for her. Uhtred then gives Skade over to Hæsten in exchange for him leaving peacefully. ("Episode 3.4")
Saltwic, Mercia; Æthelflæd finds Uhtred in the stable talking to his horse. She explains that he is a man who instills trust, which she finds admirable. She would like for him to kiss her, but he can’t. He tells Æthelflæd that much like Erik, he is someone who she can never be with. He fears that Skade will find out and destroy them both. And so, Uhtred has to save her as he promised he would. To fight Hæsten’s army, they will need an army. Alfred is to join the Mercians in Aegelesburg. Æthelflæd will meet with them and tell her father of Hæsten’s attack on her. She hopes Uhtred will come with her and use her father’s army to recover Skade. ("Episode 3.5")
Aegelesburg, Mercia; Æthelflæd, Uhtred, Finan, Sihtric, and Osferth arrive in Aegelesburg to see Edward. They are greeted at the gate by Æthelred, Aldhelm, and Steapa. They claim that they only want to warn Alfred about Hæsten. Æthelred allows them in but without their weapons. The Witan requests their presence. Edward has come in place of the king. Æthelflæd claims that Danes are near and it was Hæsten who attacked her. Æthelred and Æthelhelm question how Uhtred knew where to find Æthelflæd. He accuses Uhtred of making a plan with Hæsten in order to gain Æthelflæd’s trust. Alfred joins them and demands the truth. Uhtred wants 1,000 men and he will give them Beamfleot and peace. Alfred denies Uhtred's proposal. He then tells Uhtred that while he remains an outlaw, he is under the protection of Lady Æthelflæd and free to leave when he is ready. ("Episode 3.5")
Æthelflæd invites Æthelred to join her for dinner. She informs him that she has no plans of returning to Wincelcumb. She has assigned her guard to Uhtred and will remain in Merica until the battle. She then remarks that he didn’t appear concerned or surprised at Hæsten’s attempt to kill her. She wonders why Æthelred doesn’t kill him. ("Episode 3.5")
Saltwic, Mercia; The Wessex guard returns to Æthelflæd’s estate after defeating the Danes. Æthelflæd finds Uhtred holding his necklace of Thor’s hammer, that he was gifted by Ragnar the Fearless. Uhtred wants to go to Ragnar’s grave. Æthelflæd is regretful at all Uhtred has lost in order to protect her. So, she’d like for him to have Merica as his home. For him and his men to live. ("Episode 3.6")
Æthelflæd informs Uhtred that her husband will be coming to her estate soon. Now that she is wise to his tricks, she can defend herself. Uhtred suddenly realizes that they’re being followed. They are being tracked by Offa and a group of Danes. One by one, Uhtred and Æthelflæd kill their attackers. He recognizes Offa from Winchester and takes him prisoner. Uhtred knows Offa as Æthelwold’s man. Æthelflæd questions why he tried to kill Uhtred. Offa explains that Uhtred is Alfred’s sword and shield. Uhtred sends Offa back to Æthelwold to inform the Danes that he is coming as a shadow walker. ("Episode 3.7")
Æthelred and Aldhelm ride to Æthelflæd’s estate. They propose sending 30 men to guard her. However, Æthelflæd doesn’t want his help and is willing to absolve him of his responsibilities of her. She assures Æthelred that her guard is adequate. He then asks about her daughter, the half Dane. Æthelflæd replies that their daughter isn’t half Dane, but Æthelred only sees a Dane. Aldhelm jokes that Æthelred also looks like a Dane. When Æthelred leaves the table, Aldhelm warns her that he has been tasked with bedding her. Aldhelm admires Æthelflæd, and so he advises her to accept her husband’s offer of men but only half the number. And Aldhelm will choose them himself. ("Episode 3.7")
Æthelflæd discovers that her father has died from his illness during the late hours of the night. Her mother brings her to see him. Admittedly, Ælswith has not loved him for a long time. As a young man, he behaved as such. She could not forgive him for his infidelities. And then, without being aware why, she realized that she did in fact love him. She knew that without her, he couldn’t be the king she needed him to be. ("Episode 3.9")
Æthelflæd visits Uhtred in his cell and informs him that he has been banished from Winchester and Wessex and never to return. Otherwise, her mother will have Uhtred’s killed. Uhtred asks Æthelflæd to fetch Beocca, but he arrives moments later on his own, and he’s come to beg Uhtred to stay. He encourages Uhtred to accept a trial and speak out. ("Episode 3.10")
Æthelred tells Æthelflæd to inform her family that Mercia has a king with his own mind. Alfred is gone and therefore all agreements made with Alfred are gone with him. He adds that both countries are equal and free to choose who they ally with or fight against. ("Episode 3.10")
Æthelflæd finds Aldhelm bleeding in her room. He informs her that Æthelred is considering negotiating with Danes, which worries him deeply. Aldhelm then tells Æthelflæd that she has his heart and that he loves her. A love that she does not reciprocate. Aldhelm tells Æthelflæd to act for Mercia and call the men to arms. ("Episode 3.10")
Æthelflæd leads the Merican army into battle with Wessex against the Danes, ultimately defeating them. ("Episode 3.10")
Cookham, Uhtred’s Estate, Wessex; Uhtred and Æthelflæd have sex. Uhtred hears a noise coming from outside. He goes downstairs to investigate. Aldhelm has come to tell Uhtred that Lady Æthelflæd’s absence has been noted by her husband and that she should leave before she is discovered. Uhtred pleads with Æthelflæd to stay with him, but she continues to get dressed. She refuses to allow men to die just so that she can love Uhtred. Hopefully, in time, things will change for them. Until then, Æthelflæd will go to Winchester to comfort her mother. She kisses Uhtred goodbye and assures him that his men will return from the north soon. ("Episode 4.1")
Aldhelm warns Æthelflæd that her husband would take great pleasure in punishing her for adultery should he find out. Æthelflæd retorts that he’ll punish her no matter what she does. Besides, she has good men to protect her. ("Episode 4.1")
Winchester, Wessex; Alfred's study is being cleaned out by the guards. Ælswith informs Æthelflæd that Lord Æthelhelm wants the room given over for planning their defences. Ælswith instructs the men to be careful with her husband’s Chronicle. Æthelflæd remarks that every time she returns home there is a new insult. ("Episode 4.1")
Uhtred finds Æthelflæd in the garden just as Hild said. Her woman Sable is works at Lord Æthelred's estate and she knows of something that will be of use to Uhtred. Lord Æthelred is collecting the relics of St. Oswald. When St. Oswald’s body is reunited in Mercia, the land will be returned to greatness. All that remains to be gathered is the heart of St. Oswald, which Aelfric keeps at Bebbanburg. Lord Æthelflæd has sent a pair of monks up north to strike a bargain for it. They should reach Grimesby by Sunday, then Bebbanburg on the day of Ascension, which is ten days before Pentecost. Should Uhtred intercept these monks, he could gain entry into the fortress. ("Episode 4.1")
Æthelflæd Pyrlig, Lord Æthelhelm, and King Edward discuss Æthelred of Mercia and the troop of soldiers he’s led from Aegelesburg. All Æthelflæd knows for certain is that he is seeking the bones of St. Oswald. Ælswith warns them that If Æthelred is seeking St. Oswald, he means to break from Wessex. Many Mercians believe that uniting the body of the saint will restore their land to greatness. This is a signal of intention. Or to Æthelhelm’s point, a ploy to pander to the simple folk of Mercia. Pyrlig and Lord Æthelhelm advise King Edward from being drawn in. They are then joined by Steapa, Ælflæd, and Ælfweard, though Edward doesn’t appear interested in eithe rof them. Æthelhelm tells Ælfweard that the men of Wessex are fighters. Rule the sword, and rule the land. ("Episode 4.2")
Æthelflæd and Ælswith worry about the negative influence Æthelhelm may have on Ælfweard. It’s troubling, as are Æthelred’s intentions. Æthelflæd will ask Aldhelm to make inquiries. ("Episode 4.2")
Æthelflæd, Ælswith, and Hild watch as Ælflæd prepares for the royal coronation. Lord Æthelhelm and Ælfweard watch from the crowd. Hild remarks that while he’s quiet, his ambitions for his family grow. He obsesses over the aetheling and pushes Ælswith aside. Had she known what sort of man he was, Ælswith would've selected a different bride for Edward, who cherishes peace both within Wessex and within the palace. As Ælswith leaves, Æthelflæd tells Hild how her mother feels her father’s loss. ("Episode 4.2")
Æthelflæd, Ælswith, Pyrlig, King Edward, Aldhelm, and Æthelhelm attend Ælflæd’s coronation. Steapa interrupts to inform Pyrlig that the Danes have attacked Mercia. Pyrlig then relays this to the king. As for Lord Æthelred, no one knows if he’s dead or alive. Ælswith and Æthelflæd suggest calling off the coronation and sending men to Aegelesburg to retake it. However, Æthelhelm disagrees with calling off the ceremony. King Edward explains that he will set the terms, not anyone else. And so, they return to the coronation for it to resume Ælflæd is coronated. ("Episode 4.2")
Pyrlig informs King Edward, Æthelhelm, and Steapa that Cnut has left Aegelesburg and is camped near Tameworthig. Ælswith, Æthelflæd, and Aldhelm enter the room and question when the king intends to act. He explains that going in would essentially mean sacrificing his own men. Ælswith explains that Edward’s father was crowned King of Wessex, but he always sought to unite the Christian peoples. In spirit, he was King of all Saxons. Edward retorts that his father is gone. Instead of helping, he tells Pyrlig to dispatch messengers to find Æthelred. ("Episode 4.3")
Ælswith tells Æthelflæd that Edward betrays his father’s memories. Ælswith is Mercian. She was married to Alfred to knit the two kingdoms together, as Æthelflæd was with Æthelred. If Mercia falls, then Wessex will stand alone against the Danes. Æthelflæd duty is to Mercia, and she will do whatever she can to save it, starting with going to Aegelesburg and summoning the Mercian fyrds. In doing this, Æthelflæd will be throwing herself in the path of the Danes. She could be harmed or held for ransom. She makes Ælswith promise her that she won’t tell Edward about her plan until she’s gone. Ælswith not only agrees but tells Æthelflæd about a place for the fyrds to assemble. Ælswith assures Æthelflæd that her brother won’t abandon her and that he’ll be there once he learns that she left. ("Episode 4.3")
Aegelesburg, Mercia; Æthelflæd and Aldhelm arrive in Aegelesburg. The village has been decimated. It’s merely a wasteland now with few survivors. Creoda questions the whereabouts of the king. Æthelflæd doesn’t answer, but she assures him they’ll be fed. She then tells Aldhelm to search for survivors and bring them to her. She has summoned Mercian fyrds. They’re marching to Tettenhall. ("Episode 4.3")
As men on horseback arrive, Aldhelm demands Lady Æthelflæd’s presence. She is awakened at the arrival of Uhtred, young Uhtred, Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric. Uhtred hands young Cnut and Esgar over. With Cnut’s heirs in his possession, Cnut will surely come for them. So, Uhtred asks where is Æthelflæd’s army. She replies that Æthelred is in East Anglia with his men. Although, Æthelflæd has ordered the Mercian fyrd to Tettenhall, and she believes that Edward will meet them there. Æthelflæd doesn’t know if Æthelred is coming, so she had to force her brother’s hand. Uhtred tells Finan that they leave at first light, and Æthelflæd instructs Aldhelm to prepare the survivors. Æthelflæd then asks Uhtred what happened at Bebbanburg, and he starts to cry. Unbeknownst to them, Bjorgulf arrives with a fleet of soldiers just up the hill. ("Episode 4.3")
Young Uhtred says a prayer for the lives lost during the Dane attack. Uhtred tells Æthelflæd that they don’t have the time for such luxuries. However, many of the dead are children, which deeply saddens Æthelflæd as she further explains that the Danes also took their heads. Uhtred urges Æthelflæd to leave before the Danes arrive, but it’s too late. Finan and Osferth alert the others that the Danes are charging towards the gate. Uhtred guides Æthelflæd to safety while Aldhelm and Sihtric stay behind with the others to hold off the Danes. Uhtred, Finan, and Sihtric trick the Danes into leaving. They then leave for Tettenhall. ("Episode 4.4")
Mercia; Uhtred and Æthelflæd kiss in the nearby woods. Æthelflæd believes she’ll survive the battle with the Danes because God favors those with goodness in their hearts. Uhtred argues that the Gods simply play with them. But tonight, he will believe what Æthelflæd believes. She then asks about Bebbanburg. He thought it was his destiny for so long, but it apparently was not. All he knows for certain is that destiny has brought him back to Æthelflæd. ("Episode 4.4")
Tettenhall, Mercia; Uhtred, Æthelflæd, young Uhtred, Finan, Osferth, Sihtric, and Aldhelm arrive at Tettenhall. They are joined by Father Pyrlig and King Hywel’s army. Pyrlig explains that it was Ælswith who sent him to find allies, as he’s heard nothing from the king. Uhtred still fears that the men they have may not be enough. However, Æthelflæd refuses to back down. With no word from Edward, Uhtred advises Æthelflæd to lie to her men to keep their spirits up. ("Episode 4.4")
The Dane army arrives in Tettenhall. Brida notes that something isn’t right and orders them to fallback, but Cnut leads his men forward, right into Uhtred’s trap; a large, camouflaged ditch. As the Danes try to recover, Uhtred, Æthelflæd, young Uhtred, Finan, Osferth, Sihtric, Pyrlig, and Aldhelm charge, with the Welsh as backup. Brida is knocked off her horse, but she manages to take out two enemies in the same breath. Meanwhile, Cnut pulls himself up from under the pile of dead bodies in the ditch. Young Uhtred is nearly killed by a Dane, but Uhtred saves him, and Father Pyrlig helps him up. ("Episode 4.4")
Æthelflæd and Aldhelm fight back to back, taking out multiple Danes. However, Æthelflæd is disarmed and they find themselves surrounded. Æthelflæd has asked that Aldhelm kill her should they ever find themselves cornered, as they now have. Jackdaw doubts that Aldhelm has the courage to kill her, and he is right. She pleads with Aldhelm to show her mercy, but he can’t bring himself to do it. An arrow fired by Edward kills Jackdaw and provides Aldhelm and Æthelflæd with a chance to fight back. ("Episode 4.4")
Uhtred and Æthelflæd reconvene after the battle. However, Uhtred feels guilty for sending Brida to her doom. Aldhelm believes they owe their victory over the Danes to Æthelflæd. She led them to a great victory that they will speak of for years to come. To which she thanks Aldhelm that she is alive to see it, as he did not kill her as she requested. Æthelflæd then thanks Edward for his contribution and for saving her. However, he came against his better judgement, and he doesn’t take his sister’s defiance lightly. He lost many men in the battle, including Steapa. The man they’ve both known since childhood. He blames Steapa’s death on Æthelflæd’s ambition to be loved by all and chronicled for her bravery. He tells her not to return south. Lord Æthelhelm adds that she would not be welcomed by the grieving widows of the Wessex men whose lives were lost. Æthelflæd explains that none of this was done for anything but love of her country. ("Episode 4.4")
Uhtred wonders what excuse Edward gave for his cowardice. Æthelflæd explains that he wanted to avoid bloodshed for his men. Which Uhtred argues created more bloodshed. He wants to speak with Edward personally, but Æthelflæd asks him to leave it be and for them to celebrate their victory over the Danes. ("Episode 4.4")
Saltwic, Mercia; Æthelflæd and the others arrive at Æthelflæd’s Mercian estate. Uhtred has come to bring Stiorra home. Æthelflæd asks where is her daughter, and Ælfwynn rushes into her arms. Aldhelm arrives to report that Æthelred is fatally injured and he may not last a week. No plan has been made for the succession, so Æthelflæd is eager to speak with him and the Ealdormen. Unfortunately, those who survived the massacre blame Æthelred for deserting them and denounce King Edward for not coming to their aid. Uhtred then tells Stiorra to take the children and secure them. She questions how much younger she’ll have to be a prisoner, as she leads Ælfwynn and Æthelstan into the other room. If Æthelred dies, times will be unstable. Uhtred questions what will happen if the successor the Ealdormen chooses seeks to have Æthelflæd removed. He fears they'll send her to a nunnery and her daughter will be sold to the highest bidder. He urges Æthelflæd to follow him to Coccham, where he can protect her and her daughter. ("Episode 4.5")
Aldhelm informs Æthelflæd and Uhtred that he’s spoken with the Ealdormen and there’s to be a Witan with the survivors. Æthelflæd suggests that Uhtred stay behind while she returns to Aegelesburg. ("Episode 4.5")
Aegelesburg, Mercia; Æthelflæd arrives in Mercia and tells everyone to withdraw from the King's chamber. Æthelred remarks that he must be dying if Æthelflæd has returned. He fears he is dying after the priests prayed over over him as though preparing for final rights. He questions why she came. Æthelflæd is concerned about the fate of their daughter should he die. She’s treated cruelly because as Æthelred points out, Ælfwynn isn’t his daughter. At the very least, Æthelflæd asks that Æthelred agree not to betroth her to a heartless fool. The Ealdormen of marriageable age were all slaughtered. Æthelflæd wants to personally choose someone suitable so that the Kingdom will thrive. Æthelred agrees. Had he not treated her with such cruelty since their wedding night, perhaps things could’ve been different between them. Æthelred then takes the time to apologize to Æthelflæd. ("Episode 4.5")
Uhtred, Æthelflæd, and Aldhelm meet with Edward and Pyrlig to discuss the succession of the king. Uhtred informs Edward of the rumors of a break from Wessex. Edward intends to betroth Ælfwynn to the successor and seal the bond between lands. In return for the strength it’ll bring to Mercia, they’ll simply ask for loyalty. Edward wants Ælfwynn brought to Aegelesburg immediately, but Æthelflæd refuses. Instead, she asks that Edward first find a suitor and they will arrange a match. ("Episode 4.5")
Uhtred informs Æthelflæd that Edward has ordered all his troops to Aegelesburg. Uhtred fears that this means a war is coming. Æthelflæd urges Uhtred to trust her brother. They then stumble upon Eadith and Eardwulf in the middle of an argument. Eadith assures Uhtred that she’s fine, and then Æthelflæd tells Eadith that Æthelred is asking for her. Again, Uhtred asks Æthelflæd to leave with him, but she fears that if she leaves, she’ll never be able to return. ("Episode 4.5")
Pyrlig informs Æthelflæd of Edward’s plans to have her daughter betrothed to Ludeca. He asks that Æthelflæd keep his name out of it. With this in mind, Æthelflæd confronts Edward and Ludeca. However, Ludeca reveals that he isn’t the suitor. He’s merely someone trying to prevent chaos. ("Episode 4.5")
Edward and Æthelflæd discover that Æthelred is dead. Edward tells Eadith to prepare the body and tell her brother that the betrothal will happen imminently. However, Æthelflæd intends to fight this. She won’t allow her child to be condemned to a life of misery. Æthelflæd pleads with Ludeca to oppose this plan, but he can’t as it offers stability. ("Episode 4.5")
Æthelflæd informs Uhtred and Aldhelm of Æthelred’s demise. She thought his death would bring her peace, but it hasn’t. Aldhelm promises that he will bargain their way out of this, but what they need is to alert their allies. Rally them against Eardwulf if necessary. This would set the Mercian Fyrd against the Wessex army. Pyrlig reveals that a group of riders were just sent to retrieve Ælfwynn. Æthelflæd will try to speak with Edward. In the meantime, she orders Uhtred to go to Ceaster and take her daughter somewhere she can be protected. ("Episode 4.5")
Æthelflæd is locked in a room at Edward's behest. Eadith comes to set Æthelflæd free. She’s alerted Aldhelm, who’s outside the window waiting with a horse. Æthelflæd suspects it's a trap, wondering why a mistress would help a wife. Eadith explains that Mercia has wronged them both and both of their brothers have turned on them. Eardwulf cannot be controlled and will bring disaster. Before leaving, Æthelflæd tells Eadith to find Uhtred on the road to Ceaster and tell him to meet Æthelflæd at the ruins of Saint Milburg’s Priory. Do this and Æthelflæd will ensure that Eadith never goes penniless. Æthelflæd jumps out the window and onto the horse. Aldhelm tells Æthelflæd that it is not she who is abandoning Mercia but the other way around. ("Episode 4.5")
Wenloca, Mercia; Æthelflæd and Aldhelm arrive in Wenloca and wait for Uhtred. Æthelflæd worries that Edward’s men might have taken her child. Aldhelm assures Æthelflæd that Uhtred will come through as he always has. As for Aegelesburg, Æthelflæd fears that there is no return. They may spare her but they won’t show Aldhelm the same mercy. ("Episode 4.6")
As Æthelflæd and Aldhelm wait for the arrival of Uhtred, she wonders if she was wrong to interfere with the betrothal. Aldhelm insists she did the right thing. They are startled by the passing villagers, who reveal that the sickness is taking young and old. ("Episode 4.6")
Æthelflæd and Aldhelm can smell the burning bodies in the air. Meaning the fever is just fields away. They’ve likely closed the roads to contain the sickness. She suspects Uhtred would’ve gone on ahead to Ceaster, so Æthelflæd and Aldhelm follow. ("Episode 4.6")
Peckforton Hills, Mercia; Æthelflæd and Aldhelm travel through the Peckforton hills. She realizes they’re being followed and they jump off their horses and hide. Æthelflæd and Aldhelm realize that they were being followed by Sihtric and young Uhtred and come out of hiding. They inform her that Uhtred returned to Aegelesburg to bargain for her protection and Ælfwynn is stricken with the sickness. Æthelflæd asks to be taken to her daughter. ("Episode 4.7")
Wyre Forest, Mercia; Sihtric, young Uhtred, Æthelflæd and Aldhelm arrive at Wyre Forest. The healer informs them that Ælfwynn passed away and that her body was taken to Aegelesburg. ("Episode 4.7")
Aegelesburg, Mercia; They arrive outside of Aegelesburg’s gates, where they are confronted by Cenric. Æthelflæd pleads with him to allow her in so that she may see her daughter, who she believes to be dead. Cenric concedes and allows them to enter. Ælswith reveals to Æthelflæd that Ælfwynn is very much alive. They enter Ælfwynn’s chamber to find Eadith watching over her. Ælfwynn awakens and gives her mother a hug. Ælswith informs Æthelflæd that Edward has restored peace and the people are being fed. Mostly, everyone now looks forward to the new Lord, that being Uhtred. ("Episode 4.7")
Æthelflæd awakens in bed next to Ælfwynn. She sees Uhtred headed towards the monastery and expresses her displeasure with him accepting to be Lord of Mercia. She doesn’t believe he’s right for the role. Mercia needs someone more diplomatic, who can rebuild the kingdom and forge alliances. She fears that people will see him nothing more than a tyrant imposed by Wessex. However, Uhtred fears that the next Lord may banish Æthelflæd. If he’s ruler, Mercia will protect her. ("Episode 4.8")
Eadith watches over Ælfwynn and Æthelstan as they play on the swings. Æthelflæd arrives and apologizes for ever doubting Eadith. She delivered the message as she said she would. She also cared for Ælfwynn on the road. Æthelflæd questions why did Eadith reveal Eardwulf to be Æthelred’s killer. Eardwulf may be Eadith’s brother, but what he did was wrong. Eadith chooses to be loyal to Uhtred and Æthelflæd because she believes in what they are doing. ("Episode 4.8")
Ælswith informs Æthelflæd that Uhtred has been baptized and will become the Lord of Mercia. Ælswith recalls Alfred always seeing something in Uhtred that the rest of them were blind to. Still, Æthelflæd doesn’t believe Uhtred is the right man. Æthelflæd accuses Edward of simply doing what’s best for him as opposed to Mercia. Æthelflæd would prefer a lord selected by Wessex. Ælswith explains that these decisions and others like them are not made by them. Aldhelm then informs them that the gathering has started. ("Episode 4.8")
Uhtred and Pyrlig arrive for the Witan, where Edward, Aldhelm, Burgred, Ludeca, and the other Ealdormen await. Æthelflæd and Ælswith watch from above. Ludeca takes lead. They must choose a leader to defend. One who will stand shoulder to shoulder with their allies in Wessex. Edward assures them that Wessex has no desire to influence Witan. He only wants to maintain the bond. Ludeca explains that Uhtred has both defended Wessex and Mercia. He also only holds the position until a younger Ealdormen can come of age and Lady Ælfwynn is old enough to marry. There are no objections from the Witan and Uhtred is crowned king. Despite the Witan accepting him as their Lord, Uhtred believes there to be someone better suited to rule. As his first act as Lord of Mercia, Uhtred relinquishes the throne in favor of Æthelflæd. Edward and the Ealdormen argue that Æthelflæd can’t rule because she is a woman. However, Ludeca explains that it was never a rule that women can’t take the throne. King Offa’s widow ruled for years. Æthelflæd proposes a solution. She will swear an oath that as long as she is Lady of Mercia, she will remain chaste. Still, Edward is very much against his sister ruling. With Witan’s support, Æthelflæd takes the throne. ("Episode 4.8")
Aldhelm tells Uhtred that while his reign was brief, he served Mercia well and they now have the ruler they need in Æthelflæd. Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric enter the monastery to inform Uhtred and Aldhelm that King Edward’s guards have taken control of Aegelesburg. Æthelflæd reminds them all that Mercia and Wessex are allied. She would like to speak to her brother, but Pyrlig explains that Edward is at prayer and doesn’t want to be disturbed. ("Episode 4.8")
Uhtred questions the whereabouts of the Mercian Guard. Ludeca explains that they are leaderless without Eardwulf and the fyrd is disheartened and scattered. Æthelflæd tells Uhtred and Aldhelm to restrain themselves until after she’s had a conversation with Edward. Uhtred and Aldhelm agree that Æthelflæd is not safe and should flee Aegelesburg, but she refuses. Uhtred orders Finan to stay with Æthelflæd and guard her quarters. ("Episode 4.8")
Stiorra tells Finan and Æthelflæd to come to the front gate as Uhtred, Osferth, and Sihtric return with a fyrd. Æthelflæd now has enough men to fight Edward. She tells them to remain calm as she will not sacrifice a single Mercian life unless it’s necessary. The fyrd will remain outside, but she has no doubt that Aegelesburg will soon be in Mercian control once again. She then orders Edward and Cenric to open the gates for Uhtred as there’s no need for conflict. ("Episode 4.8")
Edward tells Æthelflæd that he will let the fyrd into town as he can tell she has the people of Mercia on her side. As ruler, Edward tells her that she’ll have impossible decisions to make. As long as Æthelflæd is ruler, she promises Edward he will have her support. He admits that he was blind to see that she wasn’t the right person to lead Mercia and apologizes. Edward then tells Æthelflæd how East Anglia was conquered by Æthelred, but has gone lawless since his death. Edward proposes they send an army from both kingdoms to maintain control. After that, they can push into Northumbria Daneland. Æthelflæd hopes that together they can achieve their father’s dreams. ("Episode 4.8")
Uhtred reveals that he’ll be leaving for Coccham. Seeing her in Aegelesburg everyday and not being able to be with her would be too painful. She starts to cry and tells Uhtred she will miss him, giving him one last kiss goodbye. He tells Æthelflæd that he will always answer Mercia’s call with her on the throne. ("Episode 4.8")
Æthelflæd finds Eadith playing with Ælfwynn and Æthelstan. Æthelflæd has come to make good on her claim to reward Eadith for delivering the message to Uhtred. She pays Eadith in silver. Though Eadith has been loyal to Ælfwynn, Æthelflæd is the Queen now, and Eadith was her husband’s mistress, who her brother killed. To allow Eadith to remain in Aegelesburg would make her look weak, and so Æthelflæd has arranged a place for Eadith at the nunnery, where she can live and be safe. Eadith would prefer to find her own way and says goodbye to Ælfwynn and Æthelstan. ("Episode 4.8")
Lady Æthelflæd is met with smiles and cheers by the people of Mercia, celebrating her being crowned as Queen. Edward fears that it is too soon for Æthelflæd to leave. She assures him that she has the men and silver to do this on her own. He concedes, and she promises him that she’ll return his troops the moment they’ve secured the northern border. When they take Eoferwic, their father’s dream is revived and they banish the Danes. ("Episode 4.9")
Eoferwic, Northumbria; Not shown but Æthelflæd and the Mercian Guard have recaptured the city of Eoferwic. Thus, finally completing her fathers dream of a united Christian England. ("Episode 4.9", "Episode 4.10")
Outside Winchester, Wessex; Lady Æthelflæd arrives outside of Winchester. Aldhelm tells her that while the king is trying to be bold, his decisions are rash. Aldhelm is certain that with more time, the siege can be ended without slaughter. Æthelflæd tells Edward that Mercia will support him with whatever he decides. Losing Winchester would kill their father’s dream. Rather than fire, Edward decides to use smoke to conceal an attack. It will hopefully choke those guarding the gate. Aldhelm begs them to give Uhtred more time, but Edward is certain that he’s already dead. So, Edward moves forward with his plan. ("Episode 4.10")
Winchester, Wessex; Æthelflæd, Aldhelm, Edward, Pyrlig, Finan, Osferth, Sihtric, and young Uhtred along with the Wessex and Mercian armies, breach the front gate to Winchester. Where Brida and the Danes await. Uhtred and Sigtryggr reach the courtyard, where the battle has erupted. Uhtred tells Edward to stand down. He does so after some convincing, as does Sigtryggr. Afterward, Uhtred, Æthelflæd, Edward and Sigtryggr go to the hall to negotiate. Sigtryggr wants Eoferwic, which Æthelflæd only just recaptured. Edward offers East Anglia, but Sigtryggr only wants Eoferwic. Uhtred then leaves to find Stiorra. ("Episode 4.10")
Edward and Æthelflæd return from the hall and tell Uhtred that they’ve struck a bargain with Sigtryggr. He will take Eoferwic and agree never to enter Wessex, Mercia, or East Anglia. Lastly, he wants to take Stiorra. Which Edward and Æthelflæd did not refuse. Later, Æthelflæd brings her mother to her room and tells her to rest, but Ælswith collapses onto the floor. ("Episode 4.10")
This list shows the victims Æthelflæd has killed:
- (To Be Added)
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Memorable Quotes Edit
- This character has been based on a real historical figure of Æthelflæd.
- Æthelflæd was born c.870 and died in 918, at roughly 48 years of age. If the book series followed factual date of Æthelflæd's birth then these are her ages throughout the books:
- In The Last Kingdom, at the end of the book, it is 874-876, she is 4-6 years old.
- In The Pale Horseman, it is 876-878, she is 6-8 years old.
- In The Lords of the North, it is 878-881, she is 8-11 years old.
- In Sword Song, it is 886, she is 16 years old.
- In The Burning Land, it is 892-893, she is 22-23 years old.
- In Death of Kings, it is 899-902, she is 29-32 years old.
- In The Pagan Lord, it is 909-910, she is 38-29 years old.
- In The Empty Throne, it is 911, she is 40 years old.
- In Warriors of the Storm, it is 917, she is 47 years old.
- In The Flame Bearer, it is 918, she is 48 years old.
- The name Æthelflæd comes from Old English. The name is made up of the words æthel, which means "noble", and flæd, which means "beauty".