Bebbanburg, Northumbria; Ælfric's body lays on the ground after being killed by Wihtgar. Uhtred, young Uhtred, Beocca, Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric are surrounded by the men of Bebbanburg. Wihtgar explains that his father was weak, so he put him out of his misery. Uhtred tells Wihtgar that Ælfric stole the land from him when he was a child, so if Wihtgar wants to be considered the true Lord of Bebbanburg, he has to a fight. But Wihtgar declines the challenge. Beocca reveals that he was Ælfric’s priest. Beocca knew his strengths and flaws. He proposes that they make peace and unite against the Scots. However, Wihtgar does not seek peace. He only wishes to kill Uhtred so that he doesn’t repeat his father’s mistakes. But first, he wants Uhtred to watch as he kills his son. Wihtgar fires an arrow at young Uhtred, but Beocca jumps in front of him, taking the arrow in the chest. Uhtred becomes enraged and kills Wihtgar’s men. Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric assist him. Uhtred checks on Beocca but he has succumbed to his wounds. Outnumbered by their adversaries, they retreat to their ship. Wihtgar tries to sink it by catapulting boulders, but he fail. Aidan questions if they should follow them, but Wihtgar assures him they won’t last the night.
Winchester, Wessex; Pyrlig informs King Edward, Æthelhelm, and Steapa that Cnut has left Aegelesburg and is camped near Tameworthig. Æthelred has ridden into Daneland and ravages East Anglia. With Æthelred gone, the people of Mercia expect King Edward to protect them. Edward then realizes that Cnut is trying to draw him out into the open. 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.
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.
King’s Lynn, East Anglia; Eadith tells Eardwulf that she has no choice but to act the part of the king’s whore. She detests him however. Eardwulf tells Eadith to follow him as he has news to put the king in better spirits. Eardwulf hands Æthelred a sword that they ripped from the hands of an ugly Dane named Ulf. They’ve also taken Lindcylne. Æthelred promises Eardwulf that he will be rewarded for his hand in their victory. Eardwulf only asks that he remain in charge of the king’s armies and to restore his family’s name. To lift the king’s decree that every generation be born into disgrace. Æthelred says he’ll consider it after Eardwulf takes all of East Anglia.
Northumbria; Uhtred, young Uhtred, Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric just barely make it on shore. They’re tired and weak. Finan tells Uhtred that the men are tired and hungry and that there’s nothing there for them here. It’s time they move on. Uhtred contemplates going back to retrieve Beocca’s body, but Finan insists that he doesn’t. Uhtred blames himself for Beocca’s death. He has lost any family he’s ever had, but Beocca was always a constant. Without him, Uhtred has no home.
Sihtric makes a sling for Osferth’s wounded arm. Finan returns and tells them that Uhtred walks alone. They fear that he may be broken, but Finan assures them that he’s merely grieving. He then tells Sihtric, young Uhtred, Osferth, and the others that they must return south. They’ll need horses and provisions for the journey. So, the men begin removing their gold and other valuables for Sihtric to take to a nearby village.
Mercia; Brida rubs her stomach, acknowledging the fact that Cnut’s child grows inside of her, though she has yet to tell him. She finds Cnut and asks if he's heard anything of the Saxon armies, but he hasn't. And so Cnut is willing to burn every village in Mercia until Edward has no choice but to fight. Brida tells Cnut that his sons should be here to see this, but Hæsten will keep them safe. Cnut is intent on slaughtering Edward and Æthelred’s armies. And when the kings are dead, Cnut promises that he and Brida will sit on the throne. She reminds Cnut that they do this in Ragnar’s memory.
Winchester, Wessex; Ælswith joins King Edward, Lord Æthelhelm, Ælflæd, and Pyrlig at the table and asks if they’ve heard about Cnut and how he continues to burn villages from Tofeceaster to Fagranford. He defiles their holy places and slaughters their priests. Edward explains that he’s merely waiting for the right moment. Æthelhelm interrupts to inform them that Lady Æthelflæd isn’t at the nunnery as Ælswith claimed. Concerned for her, Æthelhelm asked Steapa to make further inquiries. He saw Æthelflæd leaving Winchester. Ælswith reveals that she has gone to Mercia. They could not allow their people to die. Ælswith only wishes to counsel Edward to follow the Christian path, as she did his father. Edward worries that his sister has now walked directly into Cnut's trap. She put the men of Wessex and all the Christian kingdoms at risk. Edward orders his mother to call his sister back, but Ælswith cannot swear loyalty to a plan that is misguided. Æthelflæd will summon the Mercian fyrds to Tettenhall. Edward must join her.
Northumbria; Uhtred returns to camp. He tells young Uhtred to quit his praying, but he persists in honor of Beocca. Uhtred calls his son’s God unto question; asking where was his mercy when Beocca needed it. Young Uhtred explains that it’s not his God that Uhtred hates, but the fact that young Uhtred is not his father. Finan checks on young Uhtred, who suspects that his father doesn’t want him. Finan explains that Uhtred is a warrior and it was his job to save young Uhtred, and he could not, and that’s what eats at him. Young Uhtred argues otherwise, claiming that his father has never been there for him. However, Finan informs him how Uhtred has fought many battles and risked his life many times for Christian kings at the cost of his own hopes and comfort. Finan met Uhtred as a slave, and they had nothing. Uhtred fights for Bebbanburg to give his son the legacy he never had.
Uhtred tells Finan that they’ll need silver and to get out of the woods. To do that, they’ll have to fight battles, which Uhtred feels he is no longer equipped to do. He wants Finan to lead them into battle. He thought that his destiny was to return to his home, but he’s lost everything. He can no longer call himself Uhtred of Bebbanburg. He’s nothing, and he can no longer be their lord.
Winchester, Wessex; King Edward asks if there’s been any word of Æthelred. Unfortunately, there hasn't. Edward’s mother and sister force his hand. Lord Æthelhelm proposes that Edward allow the Lord of Mercia to return defend to his wife and land. They say that Æthelred has 400 men, no match for Cnut’s. So, the battle would remove the problem of King Æthelred. And once he’s gone, Edward could defeat Cnut and unite the kingdoms, fulfilling his father’s dream. However, this would mean sacrificing Mercia and his sister.
Northumbria; Uhtred walks alone. He begins digging in the ground with his knife. He buries the silver cross that Hild gave him in Beocca’s honor. Finan approaches Uhtred and tells him that Beocca would not want to see him mourning so. Uhtred recalls how Beocca held him on the ramparts, when Earl Ragnar rode to Bebbanburg. When his father named him Uhtred and told him to die for Bebbanburg, Beocca was at his side. He even baptized him. He saved Uhtred’s life many times over. Finan hugs Uhtred as he cries over Beocca’s loss. Finan assures Uhtred that this isn’t the end. They will return with more men and concur Bebbanburg.
East Anglia; A messenger from Wessex comes to deliver a message to Æthelred, but he tells Eardwulf instead. He reports that Cnut’s army has attacked Mercia. The lord’s estate has fallen. Eardwulf realizes that this could mean bad for him and his family’s legacy, so he kills the messenger. Unbeknownst to him, Eadith watches from afar.
Mercia (?); Uhtred, young Uhtred, Finan, Osferth, and Sihtric cross paths with Hæsten as he’s with young Cnut and Esgar. He questions why Uhtred is so far from home, joking that he rides once more to save Lady Æthelflæd. He then tells Uhtred that he’s free to pass, however, he also welcomes Uhtred and his men to join them.
After setting up camp, Osferth reveals to Uhtred, young Uhtred, Finan, and Sihtric that Cnut and Brida have attacked Mercia. While he owes the kings nothing, Uhtred does fear for Æthelflæd. Hæsten then invites them all over to join him. He heard of the rumors that Uhtred returned to Bebbanburg to reclaim his land. Hæsten once had the desire to claim Mercia and Wessex for his own, but now he only wants a woman to hump and land to call his own. He had that twice before Uhtred took it from him. He then asks about Æthelflæd, who will undoubtedly ride into battle against Cnut with her husband and brother. Hæsten asks how Æthelflæd is in bed, comparing her to a squealing pig. Uhtred gets upset and attacks Hæsten. He spares Hæsten, only to return to kill after he makes another remark. In exchange for his life, Hæsten offers Uhtred the name of the man that killed Ragnar. Æthelwold may have held the dagger but another whispered poison into his ear. Hæsten reveals that it was Cnut. He wanted to lead the Danes and he wanted Ragnar’s woman. Uhtred lets Hæsten go, but keeps Cnut’s sons, younger Cnut and Esgar, with him. Uhtred orders Finan and Sihtric to tie the boys up. One makes a run for it while the other tries to stab Finan, but they are both captured.
East Anglia; Eardwulf buries the body of the dead messenger in a shallow grave. Eadith asks what has he done. Eardwulf explains that all would be lost if he hadn’t. Edward sent word to Æthelred that Cnut did not sail to Irland, but has rather been attacking Mercia. Meaning Eardwulf was tricked by Hæsten, who gave him false information. There is benefit in delaying their return however. If the Lady Æthelflæd throws herself into the paths of the Danes, it will leave a path open for Eadith, but she has no desire to be married to a husband who used to be king. Eadith advises Eardwulf to tell the king the truth and persuade him to defend his kingdom. However, Eardwulf fears the king will kill him.
Eadith will do what she can to soften the blow of her brother’s misguidance. So, she puts on the dress that Æthelred had made for her and enters his tent. She proceeds to kiss Æthelred and have sex with him.
Mercia (?); Young Uhtred asks his father what he will do with the boys. Uhtred plans to take them to Æthelflæd in Mercia. Young Uhtred recalls his father riding out from Winchester before he fought at the battle of Fearnham. Gisela was there. It was the last time Uhtred saw her. He still sees her in his dreams. Young Uhtred feels her loss every day. That day, he asked her why his father left them, and she said he fought because he believed in a cause to keep the people that he loves safe. She said that is why Uhtred will always have the strength to stand up when others fall and to go on when those around him say it is hopeless. It is why Uhtred’s men love him and are willing to follow him wherever he goes. As will young Uhtred.
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.
Winchester, Wessex; Ælswith tells Pyrlig how her husband valued loyalty and was always practical. If he saw a person make the wrong decision, he took action to correct it. Edward’s rule in Wessex is vulnerable and Mercia has been left undefended by its king. Mercia needs their protection and the support of all their Christian allies. Ælswith wants Pyrlig to deliver a message to the Welsh king, Hywel. Pyrlig fears that he’ll be killed if he disobeys Edward’s rule. However, Ælswith that the risk of him losing his life is worth protecting the people of Mercia. Æthelflæd is expecting an army, so Ælswith will deliver.
Mercia; Cnut, Brida, Jackdaw, and Bjorgulf learn that the lady Æthelflæd has returned to Mercia. If she’s alone, the rest of the Saxons won’t be far behind. If they manage to capture her, then they will have the upper hand. Cnut tasks Bjorgulf with bringing her back.
Aegelesburg, Mercia; 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.
- Father Beocca - Unintentionally shot in the heart with an arrow by Wihtgar whilst saving Young Uhtred.
- Earl Ulf - Killed by Eardwulf and his men. (confirmed fate)
- Wessex Messenger - Killed by Eardwulf.
- At least 20 Bebbanburg soldiers.
- At least 10 of Uhtred's soldiers.