Uhtred, Finan, Sihtric, Osferth and a small group of men continue to battle against the Danes in the Battle of Beamfleot (893) while Alfred watches from the forest. Alfred refuses to intervene, and so Edward takes charge and leads Steapa, Beocca, and the Wessex guard into battle. Hæsten, Skade, and Dagfinn watch as Edward leads his men from within the trees. Skade then spots Alfred exciting the woods as well. Skade watches as Uhtred takes out man after man in effort to get closer to her and Hæsten. She tries to ride away, but Hæsten knocks her unconscious. Uhtred becomes distracted and is knocked to the ground. He returns to his feet but Hæsten is gone. However, they do manage to win the battle, taking multiple Danes prisoner, including Dagfinn.
Uhtred, Finan, and Sihtric tend to Osferth, who was injured during battle. Uhtred forbids him from dying and wants Osferth to return to Æthelflæd’s estate. Steapa then accompanies Uhtred to a meeting with Alfred on the battlements of Beamfleot. Alfred is aware that he is dying and is clearly concerned about his son being manipulated by Uhtred. Uhtred angrily retorts that the plan was entirely Edward's and that Alfred would do better to praise his son's courage and intelligence than use Edward as a means to snipe at Uhtred. Alfred grudgingly acknowledges Uhtred's part in the victory and tells him he is free to go anywhere in England save Wessex. Before they part, Uhtred responds to Alfred's taunts that he will never reclaim Bebbangburg by pointing out Alfred will never see his dream of a unified England.
Hunstanton; Hæsten arrives in Hunstanton with Skade, where he regroups with Bloodhair and Cnut. Hæsten informs Bloodhair that Skade belongs to him now. He reveals that Alfred lives and that they came at night in thousands. And that Uhtred is with him. Æthelwold is doubtful, but Hæsten insists that Alfred lives. Cnut tells Bloodhair to rest and afterwards, they will discuss what comes next.
Saltwic, Mercia; The Wessex Guard returns to Æthelflæd’s estate. 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.
As soon as Osferth is recovered, Finan wants to recover Skade. However, she is out of reach. Uhtred doesn’t wish to chase her to their deaths. Sihtric replies that death will find them regardless. Uhtred plans to go to Ragnar’s grave and help him find peace. Sihtric remarks that no man who serves Uhtred can rest until Skade is reclaimed as they are all cursed. Sihtric is tired of marching and being called a traitor with nothing to show for it. Uhtred tells him that he can leave if he wishes. Sihtric reminds Uhtred that he has fought for him. Finan intervenes and plays peacemaker, however, Sihtric continues, even challenging Uhtred. Uhtred warns Sihtric that if he’s still at Æthelflæd’s estate when he returns from seeing Ragnar, then he will kill him. Dagfinn watches as this unfolds, as a prisoner of war. He tells Sihtric that Skade has cursed them all. Uhtred only allows it. He encourages Sihtric to abandon Uhtred.
Bloodhair believes Ragnar’s death to be an omen and that they should postpone the fight, but Cnut wants to push forward. He wishes to send Æthelwold back to Winchester to raise a Saxon army. He also reveals to Hæsten and Bloodhair that it was Æthelwold who killed Ragnar in his sleep.
Sihtric strikes a deal with Dagfinn and the other Dane prisoners. He releases them from their cell in exchange for them taking Sihtric to their camp. Dagfinn agrees.
Uhtred visits Ragnar’s grave, where Brida awaits him. She claims that Ragnar calls to her in her dreams, from Niflheim. Asking to help him cross from Hel to Valhalla. She puts out the fire, reasoning that Niflheim is much colder than they will ever be. So, if Ragnar suffers, then so shall they. While Brida goes to sleep, Uhtred goes over to Ragnar’s grave and asks for his strength, heart, and wisdom. He then gives Ragnar his necklace.
Edward has come to discuss the matter in which he led the Wessex guard into battle against his father’s wishes. While he has no regrets, he acknowledges that he went beyond what is his right and accepts any punishment necessary. Alfred tells Edward that his actions were worthy of a king and invites him to sit. Wessex shall soon be Edward’s. It’s future will be secured through unions. Ælswith believes it’s time for Edward to meet Ælflæd in order to strengthen them.
Uhtred and Brida awaken the following morning and journey to Legaceaster to meet with the seer, Storri, in hopes of helping Ragnar escape Niflheim. They take cover after being attacked by Danes. They’ve come on Cnut’s behalf to kill Uhtred. Brida tells the archer to leave and as Uhtred is under her protection. However, when she returns, Cnut can have her men.
As much as it pains Alfred to say it, Edward will need Uhtred when he is gone. He tells this to Beocca in secret. However, Uhtred must remain an outlaw until Alfred is dead. He would also like for Beocca to act as Edward’s counsel and push him towards Uhtred when necessary.
It’s during their journey that Uhtred reveals to Brida that the reason for his second oath to Alfred was to save Ragnar’s life. She kisses him on the cheek and thanks him both for herself and Ragnar. They arrive in Salhford in search of Storri. They remain hidden and watch as Storri performs a ritual and reveals to a man that while his wife will bear many children, none will be born living. Uhtred and Brida then follow Storri to his cave. All they want is his knowledge. He recalls Brida and her shoving a branch up his ass. Uhtred insists that they mean him no harm and will pay for information. They reveal that Ragnar is stuck in the cold of Niflheim and needs to crossover to Valhalla. He agrees to help them for the right price. However, he goes into the back and escapes out the window, though Brida circles around and catches him before he can get away. He presumes that his curse worked, which Brida admits that it did. It cost her a family and her husband. He offers to make amends and help her reach Ragnar.
Uhtred and Brida take Storri back inside and force him to help them save Ragnar. Storri prays to the Goddess Hel and asks her to surrender Ragnar’s soul in exchange for the man that killed him. They must wet the blade with Ragnar’s blood and with that blade, kill the man who sent him to Hel. Only that way will Ragnar be free to enter Valhalla. While Ragnar is dead, they can use Thyra, as they share the same blood. Lastly, Uhtred asks how to kill a curse. Before he can answer, Brida sneaks up from behind and strangles the life from Storri, breaking her curse. She reveals to Uhtred that the only way to break a curse is to kill the sorcerer without breaking the skin or shedding a drop of blood. Uhtred will either have to do the same with Skade or make her his woman. Brida reveals that Storri cursed her many years ago and it’s because of him that she couldn’t have a family.
Uhtred wonders why Brida didn’t act sooner. She replies that it’s because she was a warrior before all else. Also because she’s a fool. She’s known how to kill a curse for a while but chose not to tell Uhtred because she knew he wouldn’t stay. So, she wanted to see him suffer. Brida tells Uhtred that she no longer loves him, but he knows that they are one and that what she speaks isn’t true. From the moment he took her hand in the great hall of Eoferwic, they’ve been bound, as love is immortal. Uhtred will kill the curse and then go to Thyra for her blood. And Brida will discover who killed Ragnar, and they will see to it that he answer for his actions.
- Storri - Strangled to death by Brida.
- Numerous unnamed Saxon and Dane soldiers.