Afterward, they walk together and he tells her about his encounter with Bjorn. She doesn’t wish to hear any talk of going against Alfred. They’re approached by Æthelred, who makes a crude remark towards Gisela. Uhtred draws his sword and pulls Æthelred off his horse. Aldhelm tells his men to fallback as he is sure Uhtred won’t hurt the lord. Aldhelm then politely requests that Uhtred let Æthelred go and apologies to Gisela on his lord’s behalf. Uhtred releases Æthelred and parts ways.
Æthelred tells Aldhelm that he wants Uhtred dead, but they both know Alfred will never allow it, as Uhtred has value. Uhtred fights Danes, survives slavery, and saves people. Even Æthelred's wife-to-be sings his praises. Their Hope lies in Daneland. With luck, the unrest will grow, leading to a war. Aldhelm wants to see Æthelred as King of Mercia and Wessex. For that to happen, Alfred would have to die. That will come should war occur.
Uhtred, Gisela, Finan, Sihtric, Æthelwold, and Thyra attend the royal wedding of Æthelflæd and Æthelred. Alfred and Ælswith watch as Æthelflæd comes down the aisle. King Alfred takes their hands and binds them. Father Beocca officiates.
Æthelwold tries to convince Uhtred, Finan, and Clapa to act against Alfred. He assures them Bjorn speaks the truth. They are interrupted by a monk named Osferth. Leofric was his uncle, and he is Alfred’s bastard son. Osferth wishes to serve him as a warrior. He tells Osferth to find him later and to bring a sword and lose the cross.
Steapa takes Uhtred to see the king. Alfred and Odda tell Uhtred that he was seen crossing into Daneland. Ælswith wants the truth. Uhtred informs them that London has been taken by Sigefrid and Erik. They have an army at Beamfleot. Aldhelm still questions why Uhtred crossed into Daneland. Uhtred explains that he was invited to Padintune. And there, he was asked to join with Sigefrid and Erik. 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.
Once alone, 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.
Odda fears that Alfred undervalues Uhtred. He is by far their most accomplished warrior and has been nothing but loyal. However, Uhtred continues to behave as if he were his own man, Alfred counters. Alfred only tolerated his behavior because he is so accomplished. Alfred fears that Uhtred was tempted by this offer. Uhtred is a sword that Alfred would rather wield than face.
Beamfleot, East Anglia; Erik fears that Uhtred doubts the dead man. Sigefrid isn’t so sure. He then takes the self-made hand attachment off. The pain from the hand that was severed is constant. But it reminds him that he is alive. If Uhtred did in fact find out that the dead man was a hoax, then he’ll be leading Alfred’s army to them.
Lundun, Wessex; Uhtred, Finan, Sihtric, Clapa, Æthelred, and Aldhelm arrive in London. Uhtred knows the streets well as he stayed there for a time with Earl Ragnar.
Sigefrid and Erik watch as a man is staked to a cross. Father Pyrlig explains that the cross kills a man slowly. It is both torture and execution. Pyrlig is to be put up on a cross as well. He asks the brothers to kill him swiftly instead. Hæsten informs them of Uhtred, Finan, Sihtric, Clapa, Æthelred, and Aldhelm have arrived. They are greeted by the brothers. Sigefrid shows them the attachment he has in place of his missing hand. Sigefrid claims that he no longer wishes to kill Uhtred. Uhtred informs them that Alfred and Æthelstan wish to negotiate. However, the brothers are reluctant to leave London. Although, they decide to discuss it over ale. Uhtred then notices that Father Pyrlig is one of the prisoners.
Erik asks Uhtred about his encounter with Bjorn. Erik wonders if Uhtred can guarantee Ragnar and all the men he commands. However, Uhtred can guarantee nothing, as Ragnar is far to the north. Uhtred asks about the prisoners. Sigefrid explains that Guthrum sent them to Beamfleot begging for peace. Uhtred suggests that they let the priest fight for his freedom. It’s what the Romans used the area for. Sigefrid is in agreement and tells his man Boltan to fight the priest.
Uhtred, Finan, Sihtric, Clapa, Æthelred, Aldhelm, Erik, Sigefrid, and Hæsten watch as Father Pyrlig faces off with Boltan in the ring. Father Pyrlig disarms Boltan, but he spares his life. Sigefrid rushes to the square, kills Boltan and demands to know where Pyrlig learned to fight. Pyrlig reveals that he’s a Briton. He was brought up killing Saxons. He offers Pyrlig a spot in his army, but he turns Sigefrid down. Æthelred interrupts and asks how much he has to pay for the Danes to leave London. However, Sigefrid refuses any wealth.
Winchester, Wessex; Uhtred, Æthelred, and Aldhelm return to Winchester and report back to Alfred and Odda. The Danes have well over 1,000 men in London. Uhtred and Æthelred argue over the best method of attack. Alfred then asks Uhtred why the brothers call him the King of Mercia. Alfred can’t trust Uhtred as he behaves like a spy, floats into Daneland and back again, tells half-truths, keeps secrets and refuses to accept the existence of the one, true God. Not to mention, he serves Alfred reluctantly. And so, the King now intends to devise a plan of attack without Uhtred, which appears to alarm Steapa and Odda, though they don’t make their concerns heard. Aldhelm tells the king that Uhtred’s insolence cannot go unpunished. Odda tells him it’s not his business. Nevertheless, Alfred wants Uhtred to return to Coccham. Odda leaves to inform him personally. Alfred then instructs Æthelred and Aldhelm to return to Mercia to gather men. Lastly, Alfred asks Steapa if he trusts Uhtred. Steapa replies with his life.
Odda tells Uhtred that Alfred wants him to return to Coccham. Odda is getting old, with no son to follow him. He makes Uhtred promise that he won’t desert Alfred. Uhtred replies that he’s not an oath-breaker, but he can’t serve a man that doesn’t trust him. All Alfred can see in him is his he’s different.
Alfred expresses his concerns to Ælswith. He is growing Wessex and expanding England in the name of God. Yet, he is reliant upon the strength of a heathen. He worries if this entire time it’s actually been the work of the devil, eating away at his soul. Ælswith swears that Alfred’s soul has not diminished. His faith will continue to grow stronger. He is God’s king. She questions if he trusts Uhtred, wholly. Which he doesn’t. And so, Ælswith advises her husband to get rid of Uhtred.
Aegelesburg, Mercia; Aldhelm gets a letter from Alfred. It is the promise of 1,000 men. The men demanded by Æthelred to fight alongside the fyrd of Mercia. To help rid London of Danes.
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.
Wessex; Æthelred, Æthelflæd, Beocca, Thyra, and Aldhelm ride in a boat to Coccham. Æthelred tells Beocca that he fears that he isn’t the first to lay 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.
Coccham, Wessex; Æthelred and Aldhelm go to the hall, where Aldhelm remarks that he’s never seen the inside of a pagan hall and is surprised by its warmth. He tells Gisela that he was expecting to see heads on the wall. Gisela then asks about Æthelflæd, who Æthelred claims isn’t feeling well. Æthelred has brought a letter from the king, which details that Uhtred must accept that Æthelred is in charge of all men. They will travel down river and meet with the armies of Mercia and Wessex. There, they will make camp a short distance from London. Uhtred and his men will attack from the north gate while Æthelred leads his men from the marshes. Steapa then hands Æthelred a letter from the king, assigning him to Uhtred. Æthelwold states he will follow behind Steapa.
Thyra watches from outside the church, as 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. Æthelflæd replies that Æthelred is neither tending nor loving. Hild wants Beocca to tell the king, but Æthelflæd wants to fulfill her duty to unite the lands and begs them all to not tell her father of Æthelred's cruel nature.
Lundun, Wessex; Uhtred leads Finan, Sihtric, Clapa, Steapa, Æthelwold, and Beocca to the north gate for the Siege of Lunden (886) . They find it open and unguarded. An obvious trap, but they proceed. They meet up with Æthelred and Aldhelm, neither have crossed a single man. Æthelred believes that the Danes have fled and celebrates. Suddenly, fire is set in a tower above. Undoubtedly a signal. Uhtred realizes that the signal was to alert the Danes to attack their camp.
Wessex; 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.
- Boltan - Throat slit by Sigefrid.