While on a ship headed back to Mercia, Skade grabs Uhtred’s blade and cuts her hand. She’s seen the rebirth of Uhtred Ragnarson. She’s seen 50 men become 5,000. And she’s seen Alfred fall. She bleeds into Uhtred’s mouth and then they kiss.
Æthelwold asks how Alfred is doing. Alfred is prepared for whatever may come, Beocca replies. Æthelwold claims that Alfred and Edward are in his prayers daily. He wonders what comes of Beocca once Alfred dies. Beocca replies that he’s prepared and that God will take care of him. Æthelwold reminds him of his wife and how she’ll need protection as well. Beocca leaves as Sigebriht arrives. Æthelwold asks what are his thoughts on Edward becoming king. Sigebriht is against it. Many are saying that Uhtred will swear himself to Edward, which Æthelwold can’t allow. He mustn’t let Edward’s reputation grow. Sigebriht agrees that Edward can’t succeed. Æthelwold intends to spread the rumors that Uhtred wishes to allow the Danes to rule Wessex.
Coccham, Wessex; Uhtred, Skade, Finan, Sihtric, and Osferth return to Uhtred’s estate, where Edwin informs Uhtred that they have taken more than half of the village’s animals and grain. It is to feed Alfred’s army. They enter the hall, where they find Bishop Erkenwald accompanied by several other priests. He claims they’ve come on the king’s behalf. Uhtred notices a cross hanging in his hall and demands that it be taken down. Bishop Erkenwald is reluctant as he can not deny his faith, but Uhtred threatens to turn the bishop and his fellow priests over to Skade's mercy. Hild arrives and reveals that she hung the cross and meant it as no insult. Just as it seems Uhtred is willing to leave it be, Skade knocks the cross down. Uhtred tells Erkenwald that when he leaves, he will only take half of what he’s already gathered. He will not allow for his village to starve.
Uhtred has come to see his children, but Hild informs him that they’re under the care of the crown. He asks if his children have been baptized, as he fears that Alfred has taken his children to spite him. Skade joins them briefly, leaving Hild to wonder about her. Uhtred admits Skade is his woman. He then tells Hild that he would like to see his children at Winchester and asks for her help.
Sigebriht confronts Father Beocca with a rumor that Uhtred seeks revenge against Alfred for being outlawed and should Alfred die, he will kill Edward. Beocca questions the validity of these claims, as he doesn’t believe that Uhtred intends to do any such thing and angrily chastises Sigebriht for stirring up unrest. Beocca then returns home, where he tells Thyra that he almost wishes Alfred would die. The more he lingers, the more anxious people become. Thyra remarks that he should end it himself. It is what a Sword-Dane would do. Whatever happens after Alfred’s death, is fate. Beocca also fears that if the Danes come to Wessex then people will only see her as a Dane. Thyra isn’t concerned as the gods will protect her.
Uhtred meets Skade in the river and they kiss. She tells him that she loves him and believes in him. While she’s distracted, he flips his shirt over her head and proceeds to drown her in the river, breaking the curse she placed on him. Osferth watches from nearby as this unfolds. Uhtred then returns to the hall, where Osferth has started a fire and prepared food. He reveals that she saw Uhtred kill Skade. While he’s not proud of his actions, it was necessary. Even though Osferth feared that Uhtred could not rid himself of the curse, Osferth stayed by his side in honor of Gisela.
Alfred asks about the marriage arrangements. Beocca informs him that it’s all but complete. Ælswith adds that it will be the shortest of ceremonies, as the king requested. As for the Danes, they have yet to move. They remain camped. Alfred suspects that Æthelwold has returned for reasons other than forgiveness and should be watched.
Æthelhelm and Ælflæd have arrived for the arranged marriage. They’re guided in by Father Pyrlig. Edward asks to have some time alone with his wife-to-be, but Æthelhelm is very much against it after hearing talk of Edward’s bastard children.
Pyrlig takes Æthelhelm to the hall to meet with Alfred and Ælswith. They wish to discuss the strength of the union between their children. Alfred asks Æthelhelm’s opinion of Uhtred, who he sees as nothing more than an outlaw. However, Beocca and Alfred argue in his favor, unlike Ælswith, who is very much against Uhtred. Alfred states that Uhtred is a warrior and that should Edward take his counsel as king, then he may be better off for it. Æthelhelm then asks if Uhtred is an outlaw, to which both Alfred and Ælswith claim that he is althiugh Edward may take a different view. After Pyrlig, Æthelhelm, and Beocca exit, Ælswith wonders if Alfred values Uhtred so much then why he doesn’t pardon him himself. Alfred explains that Edward will need a warrior such as Uhtred at his side, particularly one who understands the Danes because they will never stop harassing Wessex and that he doesn’t pardon Uhtred because he wouldn’t accept. It must be Edward’s decision.
Ælswith prays to God to give her strength and guidance to serve him best. If it is right and proper to rely upon a heathen such as Uhtred, she asks for a sign. She wants her son to remain untarnished by heathen ways and to be God’s king. Alfred enters the monastery and tells her that he wants to sit in peace.
Finan, Sihtric, and Hild ride with Bishop Erkenwald to Winchester. They explain that Uhtred remains in Coccham and that he wants his children back. Steapa reluctantly allows them inside the gates. Just as the gates are closing, a traveling musician asks to be allowed inside the gates. They’ve come to bring smiles and laughter to Winchester, and so Steapa allows them inside as well. Unbeknownst to him, Uhtred and Osferth are hidden in the back of the carriage.
Finan’s gotten word of Edward’s marriage and asks to stay for the ceremony. Bishop Erkenwald allows it. As Sihtric parts ways to find his wife, Osferth pulls Finan to the side and informs him that Uhtred killed Skade and broke his curse. Clearly relieved, Finan claims that Skade was the devil in disguise. The two of them then go searching for ale.
Uhtred sneaks into Winchester and makes his way to Beocca's house. Thyra brings Uhtred inside and questions why he has come when he knows he’ll be killed on sight. Uhtred wants to see his children but also save Ragnar. He is trapped in Niflheim. He did not die a warrior's death and only her blood can save him now. So, she gives Uhtred her blood. He questions why she came to the door with a knife. She explains that some people only see her as a Dane and object to her presence. They are afraid now that Uhtred is gone and Alfred is sickly.
Beocca finds Finan and Osferth in the company of women and demands to know where is Uhtred. Finan responds that Uhtred is nearby. He then asks Beocca why is Æthelwold not dead. Beocca reveals that Æthelwold’s been forgiven by the king. As for Uhtred, Finan tells him to go home.
Æthelwold witness the arrival of Finan and Osferth and suspects that Uhtred is near. He plots with Sigebriht to pay a visit to Beocca’s house.
Beocca returns home to find Thyra and Uhtred awaiting his arrival. Uhtred explains that he’s come for Thyra’s blood to save Ragnar. Beocca sees this as nothing more than heathen paganism and will not stand for it. However, Thyra is insistent on saving her brother. She begs him to understand her, just as she understands his God. Beocca remains upset and goes outside until they finish. He comes back inside and asks that Uhtred speak with Alfred.
Pyrlig confronts Æthelwold and Sigebriht outside of Beocca’s house. They claim that Uhtred is inside his home and wish to take a look. However, Beocca and Pyrlig refuse to allow them to pass. Finan and Sihtric arrive, joining Beocca and Pyrlig. Thyra exits the house and tells Æthelwold that he’s welcome to look inside. Æthelwold and Sigebriht enter their home though Uhtred is nowhere in sight. Unbeknownst to them, Uhtred remains hidden under the floorboards.
Alfred prepares for the arranged marriage. While today is about stability, Beocca tells the king that the fear must be dispatched. It exists in every man and woman who fears life without their king, and Edward alone is not the answer, which is why even Alfred prays that Uhtred returns. Beocca reveals that Uhtred is in fact in Winchester. He can either have him found and executed or speak with him.
All of Wessex attends the marriage of Edward and Ælflæd.
Rather than attending the wedding, Beocca takes Uhtred to meet with Alfred in his reading room. On the table, Uhtred finds many pages that tell the tale of Alfred’s rule. He looks upon the pages, all the while unaware that Alfred stands hidden in a darkened corner.
- Skade - Drowned by Uhtred.