Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Plot[edit | edit source]
Uhtred finds Gisela in the temple. She’s not Christian, but she finds sitting in the temple peaceful. Gisela is thinking about her brother, who now believes that he owns her, but she will not be his gift. She has her own mind. The abbot Eadred dreamt her brother to be king, but it was not his idea to offer a ransom. It was not his idea that we should go to Alfred for silver. It was Gisela’s. Should she be offered as a bride, she will look to Uhtred for advice. She will decide whether to stay or to leave, should that time come.
Uhtred gets word that his horse is sickly and goes to check on it, where he is ambushed by Tekil and his men. He pulls a dagger in preparation to take one of Uhtred’s eyes. However, Uhtred is saved by Hild, Halig, and Clapa. Uhtred kills Tekil and his men, all except for one, Sihtric, who he keeps alive. The rest of the men, Uhtred wants Halig and Clapa to remove their heads so that he may send them as a gift to Kjartan. Hild would like some of their mail or leather, so she will earn it by taking the first head. Halig tells her an axe would be easier, but she uses a small knife instead, to take Tekil’s head. Afterwards, she throws up.
King Guthred orders a Witan of all the Lords and Earls of Cumbraland. It has become land for both Danes and Saxons. He’s decided that it’s time to march to Eoferwic. Earl Ulf is reluctant as they have no enemies in Eoferwic. He offered his men to protect his land, not abandon it. However, Abbot Eadred is in agreement with the king. Uhtred adds that there is great wealth in Eoferwic, including silver and women. However, Abbot says that Eoferwic is full of sin and he wants to scour it.
Uhtred and Beocca share a jug of ale as tomorrow, Beocca will be returning to Winchester. He has the teeth belonging to Saint Cuthbert as protection. He makes Uhtred promise him that he won’t do anything stupid. Lastly, Beocca warns Uhtred to stay away from Gisela, as she has a higher purpose. He should tread carefully as Brother Trew and the Abbot don’t trust him.
Northumbria; Saint Cuthbert leads the way on the shoulders of monks to Eoferwic. Uhtred follows behind with a fleet of soldiers, including Hild, Halig, and Clapa.
Brother Trew informs Abbot Eadred that Uhtred has spent time slone with Gisela. He instructs Trew to keep an eye on them to ensure Gisela remains a virgin.
Northumbria; Sihtric calls out to Hild, first as "girl," then as "woman." He only gains her attention when he refers to her as a warrior. He tells her that he has to shit, and she directs him to Halig, who takes Sihtric into the woods. Sihtric disarms Halig and demands to speak with Uhtred. Sihtric merely wishes to serve Uhtred. Sihtric is Kjartan’s bastard son, whelped on a slave girl. Sihtric releases Halig. Abbot Eadred orders Uhtred to kill Sihtric, but he refuses. On Thor’s hammer, Sihtric swears his sword to Uhtred. And so, Uhtred welcomes him in.
Uhtred wishes to send four of their men ahead to ensure the road ahead is safe. Abbot believes that Saint Cuthbert will make sure their path is clear. Guthred explains that they are both an army and a church. Unity shall bring reward. After Uhtred leaves, Abbot tells Brother Trew Uhtred believes himself to be above God. Gisela explains that he’s pagan, and they don’t recognize the Christian God. She reminds Abbot that it was Uhtred who saved her brother. Abbot claims that Uhtred believes himself to be higher than the king.
Uhtred sneaks into Gisela’s hut, where they proceed to have sex. Brother Trew passes by and overhears the moans. He then reports to Abbot Eadred that Saint Cuthbert is safe and coveted. Abbot then orders Brother Trew to go to Bebbanburg and find Lord Ælfric. He is only their enemy because he is Uhtred’s enemy. Abbot has offered Ælfric a bargain in the letter that he hands Brother Trew to take.
Hild, Halig, Clapa, and Sihtric spot an army of Danes coming in North. Sihtric suspects that it’s Sigefrid and Erik. Halig orders Hild and Sihtric to report back to Uhtred. They eventually return with Uhtred and King Guthred and follow the Danes to their camp, where they spot Sigefrid, Erik, and Hæsten with a small group of men. Uhtred wishes to attack tonight while they’re vulnerable, but Guthred has to think it over.
Northumbrian woods; Erik assures Sigefrid that they are not defeated. Men will come and they will take Eoferwic back.
Northumbria; Uhtred, Guthred, Gisela, Hild, Halig, Ulf, and Abbot Eadred discuss the small army of Danes led by Sigefrid and Erik. Uhtred and Ulf wish to kill them. But Guthred wants to bargain with them. A message is already on the way. They will attend the negotiation and Guthred’s voice is the only they shall hear.
Northumbrian field; Uhtred, King Guthrum, Gisela, and Abbot Eadred attend the negotiation with Sigefrid and Erik. They too are familiar with Uhtred's reputation. They thank him for killing Ubba. They’ve gained much wealth since his demise. King Guthred is willing to negotiate with them, but he will kill them if necessary. In exchange for peace, he will offer them a fortress at Dunholm, which currently belongs to Kjartan. They will take it from Kjartan. One way to defeat him is to deny him food and freedom. They would need to surround him with men, with defences, and deny him what he needs to live. Their men would need to be fed and remain sober, for months. It would take too much time and too many men, some hundreds of men, Uhtred retorts. However, King Guthred agrees with Sigefrid and Erik.
Eoferwic, Northumbria; Uhtred wants Sihtric to tell him about Kjartan’s fortress in Dubholm and it’s weakness. Sihtric replies there aren’t any weaknesses. Uhtred decides to go and see for himself.
Abbot Eadred warns King Guthred about Uhtred and how he is a danger to his crown. He claims that Uhtred only acts for his own benefit. He also worries that Bebbanburg won’t be enough for Uhtred, as he is a warrior at heart. However, it is quite enough for his uncle. If not for Uhtred, Ælefric would be an ally. As for Dunholm, it is indeed a threat but it will require many further men. Men who won’t be tempted to join Sigefrid or Uhtred. Abbot suggests that Guthred summon Christian men.
Bebbanburg, Northumbria; Brother Trew arrives in Bebbanburg and gives Ælfric Abbot Eadred’s letter. In the letter, Ælfric discovers that Uhtred is now a warrior and wishes to take Bebbanburg. The Abbot wishes for peace, but Uhtred wishes his uncle dead. They fear Uhtred wants all of Northumbria. Ælfric is open to an alliance. If King Guthred was to raise an army against Kjartan, Ælfric would be prepared to add to that army. In return, he wants Uhtred’s head.
Dunholm, Northumbria; Uhtred arrives outside of Dunholm with the heads of Kjartan’s men. He places them on posts in the late hours of the night. The following morning, Fiske, recovers the heads, reporting back to Kjartan and Sven. They sent eight men but only seven heads can be seen. The last is Tekil. Uhtred rides by on a horse and takes Tekil’s head, as well. He continues to disguise himself as the dead horseman. Kjartan believes that it is in fact Uhtred under the hood and calls him out.
Cumbraland, Northumbria; Uhtred meets with King Guthred and tells him that he cannot continue to be a friend to all men. There are times where he must be ruthless, but he isn’t, and now Sigefrid and Erik think him to be weak. Guthred admits that Uhtred is right and that fear is a beast he must use. Uhtred then asks to be seen as Sigefrid’s equal. Like the brothers, Uhtred is a lord of the North. Uhtred asks that Guthred offers his sister in marriage. And he does so willingly.
Abbot Eadred orders his men to take Uhtred and Halig. Hild draws her sword, but Uhtred orders her to put down her sword and find Gisela. However, Gisela is being taken by Brother Trew. She tells Hild that she must help Uhtred. Guthred has double-crossed Uhtred. He and Halig are to be sold in exchange for 200 men from Bebbanburg. They’ve struck a deal with Ælfric.
Winchester, Wessex; Hild rides to Winchester and reports to Odda and King Alfred that Uhtred has been taken. However, 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, Æthelwold knows that Uhtred will make it out, as he always does. Father Beocca is willing to search for him. Æthelflæd is in agreement with him and wishes to help Uhtred, who has helped them many times before. Odda suggests releasing Ragnar and Brida to find Uhtred.
Northumbria; While being taken to the ship, Uhtred and Halig make a final attempt to escape, but they are captured by Sverri and the guards.
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