Historical drama. Uhtred is thrown in chains and Hild and Ragnar embark on a mission to free him, but time is not on their side. The lords of the north congregate in Eoferwic.
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I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred. I released the slave Guthred
and saw him crowned King of Cumbraland.
I fell in love with his sister while commanding his troops.
I wish to be seen as Sigefrid's equal.
I ask that you offer your sister in marriage.
He behaves as if HE were king!
To defeat Kjartan the Cruel,
an alliance was formed with the brothers Erik and Sigefrid.
Kjartan's land will become your land.
But Guthred's counsellors saw me as a threat
and wanted Christian men in the army.
He believes himself to be above each one of us.
And so a secret bargain was made with my uncle.
In return I shall require the head of Osbert.
What are you doing?
Guthred showed clemency, but still betrayed me.
You will become a slave, Uhtred, and Halig with you.
King Alfred freed my brother Ragnar to rescue me.
But he was too late.
-You belong to me now.
Destiny is all.
This programme contains some violent scenes.
Pull, you bastards!
Pull, we need to fly! Pull!
It's like looking out of a grave.
That will not be our fate... I swear to you.
You think these bastards will bother digging a hole for you?
We are destined to be tossed overboard
with the rest of the shite.
I'll tell you, Finan,
it would be my own bad luck if I got tossed overboard alive.
I can't swim.
Never give up, Halig.
Shut your mouth back there!
Never give in.
You don't speak, slave.
Yes, men! We pull!
ALL: Pull! Pull!
Pull! Pull! Pull! Pull!
One day, Osbert, I will kill that bastard and savour it.
200 spears as promised. A man of his word.
It would seem.
We can lay a siege to Dunholm as early as tomorrow.
The unified armies of Guthred, Aelfric, the two brothers,
we march on Dunholm.
We show Kjartan our numbers.
We stand fast.
We starve Kjartan of water, food...life itself.
How did he die?
His name is Osbert.
Did he shit his britches?
Did he beg for mercy? I want to know.
Uhtred would never beg.
She has a free tongue, Lord Aelfric.
She will say nothing more.
Well, I wish to see it.
My nephew's head. Where is it?
Where it has always been. On his shoulders.
Rest assured that Uhtred is as good as dead.
As good as dead?
Then he is still alive?
For the siege of Dunholm, we agreed 200 spears, for his head.
-That was the bargain.
-Lord, he is a ship's slave.
In reality, Osbert's been given a fate far, far worse than death.
You must understand - Uhtred saved my life.
He was my friend.
Lord, I swear, you shall never hear from him again.
Perhaps I should make an ally of Kjartan, once again.
Maybe he will succeed where you have so wilfully failed.
All I required was a single, lifeless head.
Lord, may I suggest that you rest?
Aidan, how many days have we been marching?
-Six days, Lord.
-And you should rest.
Six days for no reward!
Lord, rest. Eat. Drink.
There must be something we can do or offer to make this right.
Lord Aelfric, you will have gathered by now that my brother is part fool.
You should have nothing more to do with him.
My sister has humour...
and a tongue!
-We leave tomorrow.
-Lord, I beg you...
-My business here is over.
Goodbye, Lord Aelfric, so nice to meet you.
Enjoy the long walk home to Bebbanburg.
Guthred, by saving Uhtred,
what you now have is a chaos of your own making.
If Aelfric is not with us then the ground has shifted.
We'll take no part in the siege of Dunholm.
Erik, we must! We have an agreement, we have plans.
That will no longer involve the brothers.
No Dunholm means we must again fight for our wealth.
Sigefrid, we do have a peace.
We DO have a peace!
Lord, we are in need of an ally.
You must offer your sister.
The horses are ready?
They are, Lady.
Sihtric, I choose you because you are loyal to Lord Uhtred.
You will give this note to Hild when she returns.
She will return.
How long will you be gone, Lady?
All I know is that I cannot stay.
We are Wessex, of course, and to our north lies Mercia, our allies.
Mm-hmm, and to the east?
Danelaw. Above is Northumbria and Cumbraland,
where pagans rule and threaten our Christian brothers.
And beyond the Great Wall is the kingdom that they call Alba,
where it is cold and wild.
And what do we call everything south of the wall?
That will one day be England.
Aethelflaed, it would cost a great deal of both blood and silver
to conquer these lands, even more to hold the ground.
And so alliances must be forged.
I am to be married?
Once a suitable match has been made.
I am ready to do my duty.
There is a beauty to a burning village.
It's like you said - chaos.
I wish to be known as Sigefrid...
..Lord of Chaos.
Quickly, come on.
Sister Hild and company,
what is your purpose?
We're here on the orders of Alfred of Wessex.
I want to see King Guthred.
You are a Dane.
I am Earl Ragnar Ragnarson.
This is the warrior Steapa, Alfred's man.
Alfred sends greeting to King Guthred.
And Guthred's sister, Lady Gisela.
Is she here?
I would like to see her.
She is not. She did abandon the city.
-I have yet to find out, but I shall find out.
You are his brother? You're Uhtred's brother.
It is Guthred.
I am, Lord.
Alfred sent you to do what?
To find Uhtred.
He is in Uhtred's debt and will not see him harmed.
Uhtred is lost.
I'm truly sorry to say that.
My apologies to both you and to Alfred.
There, you've had a wasted journey.
Rest, please, here, by all means...
You will tell me the name of the man who took Uhtred.
I...I need to gather my thoughts.
Lord, I wish to know the name of the slaver.
If you are truly sorry,
you will tell me and where to find him.
Uhtred is indeed lost.
Bail, you dogs!
Release our chains! We'll work faster.
Bail out or you'll go down with her!
You want to live? You bail!
I pray God will keep him safe, Lady.
HE GRUNTS AND BREATHES HEAVILY
Osbert, he will not stop bailing.
You will need your strength.
I am happy enough to bail.
COMPETING MEN GRUNT
Oh. Oh, you think you're better than these men?
They are property.
As are you.
You should let go of your pride.
It will be the death of you.
He's right, you should rest.
We're wasting away, you and I.
We should be saving what's left of our strength to run.
But to run we'll need skin on our feet and not rotting flesh.
Then we should bail.
These wretches all tell the same story, Lord.
They flee slaughter at the hands of the brothers.
We must surely be next.
And what do I do?
Do I fight?
Do I now march against the brothers?
It is not my place to instruct a king in the ways of war.
I am asking for your counsel!
I am without a commander of my guard.
Then I would say we need first to secure grain enough
for the winter to feed these wretches.
And I would say we need Lord Aelfric of Bebbanburg, now more than ever.
We would appreciate some water, for ourselves and the horses.
-You are Jonis?
I've been told that you took a man, a warrior, from Guthred of Eoferwic.
You sold him as a slave.
I see the faces of so many creatures.
-I'm not here to open your belly, Jonis.
I'll pay you.
You will not feed the slaves!
And you will not bark like a great, fat hound!
You said you will pay?
Yes, I did.
A warrior slave,
called himself Osbert.
There was another man.
-A sea trader named Sverri took them both.
-Where is Sverri now?
Wherever the sea and promise of silver takes him.
Life at the oar is hard and short.
Sverri will return, I'm sure, refresh his crew.
-Autumn and winter will pass.
But, come spring, the first full moon after Sigrblot,
we will gather for business at the beach.
Sverri will be there, I swear.
And between that time he sails where?
His ships plough the roughest sea.
-He could be any place.
-You tell us nothing.
I tell you what I know to be true.
All you can do is watch the beaches and wait.
(It's East Anglia.)
It could well be Frankia.
-I need land.
Lord, I need land. I need to get out.
-I need land!
-I need land!
-Back at your place!
He is back in his place.
Tell them who you are, tell them you have silver!
-You will be quiet now!
-He is sick with the fever!
We will hold him!
I said we will hold him!
-I can't stay on this ship!
You are a warrior.
You followed me into battle at Ethandun.
You fought bravely. Halig!
You saved me from Kjartan's spies in Cumbraland. Remember that?
We are warriors!
And our time will come.
Look at me, Halig.
You have followed every order I've ever given you.
Now I'm giving you one more.
You will row.
You will pull and you will wait and our time will come.
And then together, we shall win.
(Please tell me he's not here as a suitor.)
He's Ceolwulf, the father of Mercia.
He is barely alive.
Wessex is honoured to welcome you.
We welcome all of the ealdormen of Mercia.
-We do not.
-May our discussions prove to be beneficial and fruitful
-for both parties.
I shall make my point clear from the outset.
We demand swords...
..and the men to carry them.
To help stem the wave upon wave of raiders, Lord, from the Daneland.
Forgive my interruption.
Mercia lost many a warrior at Ethandun, and willingly.
I expect repayment.
I hear you, Ceolwulf.
I consider our lands to be one...
No, we are not one.
We are Mercia and you are Wessex.
I will not be silenced.
Lord Ceolwulf, perhaps a seat? It has been a long journey.
For a purpose.
I understand completely
that at times the east of Mercia is overrun with Viking raiders.
We suffer the same fate along our northern border.
What of your warrior Uhtred?
He is a leader of men.
Dispatch him to our border with Daneland.
Uhtred and 50 men, I will accept.
Uhtred was last seen in Northumbria, Lord, the place of his birth.
You can send men to the far north but not to your neighbour?
The solution to our problem, I feel, is a bond.
is swords and men.
A permanent bond between Wessex and Mercia.
A union, Lord.
How many times do I need to say it?!
How many times am I to be ignored?!
Lord Ceolwulf, you have read my letters?
Yes, of course I have read your letters.
You're looking for a buck!
A match, Lord.
And I have a name for you right here...
..in a letter of my own.
A good man, godly man.
like the lady Aelswith.
But what guarantee do I have...
..that Mercia will not become a mere appendage of Wessex?
A poor cousin?
We are a kingdom.
Lord, your first concern should be that you do not become
an appendage to Daneland.
And who was it agreed to this thing called Daneland?!
It was you.
It was Alfred,
and now it is Mercia that suffers most.
-Swords you demand, Lord.
-And swords you shall have.
-Wessex could never turn away from Mercia.
It would be akin to Alfred turning away from Aelswith.
It could never occur, Lord Ceolwulf. Never.
What is this?
Each time I talk of swords and spears and yet you insist
on speaking of unions...
..and of ki...
A cup of water for Lord Ceolwulf.
A cup of water?
I think perhaps a hole in the ground.
Our deepest sympathies are with all of you.
Be assured that I and the priests of Wessex
shall pray for Lord Ceolwulf's soul.
I pray eternal light will shine upon him.
We shall adjourn.
Which one of you is Aethelred?
I am Aethelred, Lady.
Aethelred, if you could ensure that Ceolwulf is returned
to his family, I would be grateful.
Yes, Lord. Of course, Lord.
ICY WIND HOWLS
Master Sverri and your friend Hakka have good news.
We're finished now until the spring.
Winter will be on land.
Where there's work to be done.
Hear that, Halig? Land.
I love land.
So in place of the head of Osbert,
you offer me a bride...
..by your own admission...
..you have misplaced.
But we will find her, Lord, and soon.
You will find her when?
Before I finish my food?
Before the end of winter?
Lord, we have eyes across Northumbria and Cumbraland,
and we have prayer.
She will have gone to Cumbraland. I... I know my sister.
Ah, but I do not.
And I know she must be very fond of me,
to hide herself away like this.
Lord, she would not be the first reluctant bride.
It is also a truth that she was very fond of your nephew.
I have a duty to tell you,
there was talk of marriage.
She remains fond of Osbert?
Oh, I would imagine that he is the reason she is in hiding.
Then I shall have her.
There are, however, conditions. Not one spear shall belong
to Eoferwic until Gisela is delivered and is my wife.
Aidan shall return with you.
You will treat him well, you will feed him well.
For the entire winter, should that be necessary.
I do not eat too much.
Finally, you will deliver a message, from me to Kjartan.
Saying how my nephew may be found and therefore killed.
Why bark when there are hounds available?
Are we agreed?
We are agreed.
I think we might be getting fed, Lord.
Call him Osbert.
SHIVERING AND COUGHING
More than you deserve.
GROWLING AND GRUNTING
Lord, your gift of warriors.
They have served Mercia well this past winter.
The raids are not so frequent now.
It gladdens me to hear it.
You have done well, Aethelred.
Thank you, Lord.
Now, I believe there is other business. Odda?
The bride price.
-have considered what would be appropriate.
I propose to gift the Lady Aethelflaed 3,000 pieces.
4,000 would, perhaps, be more fitting.
Lord Aethelred, she is the King's daughter, she is not without means.
Silver, though valuable, does not represent what she will become -
a Lady of Mercia.
Perhaps you have a gift with more...
We would, of course, bequeath Aethelflaed titled lands.
Rich lands, in Mercia...
..to further the union.
A fair price, I feel. Excellent.
Quick, hide yourself.
How may I serve you, Sven Kjartensson?
You will not waste my time.
We will not speak of silver.
We will talk of a man you know as Osbert.
Do not move.
do not move.
THEY YELL GLEEFULLY
Don't just stand there looking idle.
He has the weight of an ox!
We must divide, go separate ways.
There! A boat!
-Blessed Jesus, there's a bastard boat!
-Get him in the boat!
I'm not leaving you.
You are alive only because I am curious to know who you are,
and if you'll fetch a good price.
Pull and save him the pain!
Pull and give him the peace of death!
I'm looking for Jonis, the slaver - is he here?
Who has seen him?
You will deal with me today.
You know who I am?
I do, Lord.
You have something that I want, Master Sverri.
Is that you?
What do you call this man?
He calls himself Osbert, but I heard another slave call him "Lord".
It is him.
I have waited for this moment.
Give him a sword.
It is me, Sven the One-Eye.
Pick it up.
Pick it up!
He is too weak.
-I will kill you.
Uhtred, I am pleased that you will try.
He's too weak.
I will be forever the man...
who killed the great warrior, Uhtred.
Uhtred. It's me, it's Ragnar.
Did you believe we would abandon you?
Free them all.
He has been taken down, wrapped and buried...
..with shield and sword.
You will say words for him, Hild.
I will, always.
Northumbria is torn.
Aelfric did not come to Guthred's side.
Erik and Sigefrid and Kjartan, they do what they please.
You haven't asked how I come to be here.
Alfred sent us.
I believe the King of Wessex...
..cares for you.
You're Uhtred's brother?
You look nothing like each other.
Uhtred, you should eat.
Oh, we will eat, Lady, but our tummies are small and our feet
have barely touched dry land.
It'll take a little time to find them.
Are you his brother?
We are bound, I would say.
You've been asleep for a day or more.
I can do it.
HE SIGHS DEEPLY
Take off your clothes.
You have not looked me in the eye,
I am ashamed of what I became.
You are Uhtred, son of Uhtred.
Lord of Bebbanburg.
It's time you remembered that.
You kept the blade sharp.
I knew you'd return.
She is heavier than I remember.
How did Alfred come to know of my fate?
I will not forget.
You will always have my protection.
I could not ask for more.
This is my gift to you.
You are too good a woman for God alone.
Uhtred, it IS you.
The apples are beginning to fall without...
Here we are, Brothers, God's gift.
Thank you, Mother, most generous.
You have been to Cumbraland, you say?
We have, and without luck.
And you've had no strangers calling to your door, Mother?
Strangers, yes - traders and wretches, but no ladies.
You have an appetite, Lord.
Mmm. I do.
..for your return.
We have business here, Steapa.
-In the north.
-I gave my word - we go to Wessex.
But we're here, now.
I gave my word. We go directly to Wessex.
Kjartan can wait, and Thyra...
What of her?
She waits for you at the nunnery at Ebchester.
No, I will not! No!
Hold her! Hold her fast.
Stand beside her and we shall have her married.
You have no right!
I have every right, and you will be quiet.
Aelfric's man, stand beside her.
We shall have her married to Aelfric right now.
Without a husband, Lord?
I will not marry against my will! You cannot...
Do not strike the poor girl!
Do as you're told and as God commands!
Beside her, as proxy.
You'll stand in for Lord Aelfric.
We shall dispense with the joining of hands. You may take her arm.
I will not be party to this.
I will not marry...
And we shall dispense with the vows.
I hereby proclaim Lady Gisela of Cumbraland and Lord Aelfric
of Bebbanburg to be man and wife.
Uhtred, I'm here!
-You will let her go.
-You are too late.
-You will let her go.
She is married now. She belongs to Aelfric.
-It is a lie, Uhtred.
-Where is Aelfric?
If he is not here, then he cannot be married.
By proxy, you fool.
This man stood beside her in place of Aelfric.
Uhtred, in the eyes of God, she is married.
Did you hump her for Aelfric?
-He did not.
-Then there's no marriage, it's a lie.
She is married and it cannot be undone.
-Make her a widow.
Gisela is married to Aelfric. Not to Aidan.
I have a wife already. A different wife.
Uhtred, I'm bored with this.
Kill them all.
Do as you wish. In sight of God, she's married.
Say "she's married" again.
-She is married.
-Is she married?
He is a man of God!
Say it one more time, priest, and I swear the devil will take you.
You're nothing but a heathen and the bitch is married!
You will go to my uncle...
..and when he asks of his wife,
you will tell him she's in the bed of Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
I trust you are in health.
I improve with each passing day.
-And you, Lord?
-God afflicts me.
But there is purpose in that, so I must be glad of it.
Earl Ragnar, he is a good man.
I should like to free both him and Brida.
Thank you, Lord...
-..for all you have done.
-What do you think of my candles?
I find them to be more effective at night.
I have missed your childish insolence.
I'm trying to measure the passing of time.
I'm hoping to find a candle that burns from midday to midday.
Lord, why did you have me rescued?
-Why have you brought me here?
-I had you rescued firstly because
I was able, and secondly, because it is no more than you deserved.
Though I admit, I would like you in my service once again.
I am grateful, of course...
..but I have my own path to follow.
You killed the Abbot Eadred.
According to the words of Brother Trew and others.
He was a weasel, Lord.
-A weasel without a sword, a holy weasel.
-Who deserved to die.
You killed him on blessed ground.
He was an abbot.
However, you were in the company of Earl Ragnar,
in the charge of Earl Ragnar, who was under my orders and whom
I hold responsible for the killing of Abbot Eadred.
No, Lord, it was me and me alone.
Why did he not stop you?
Lord, you cannot blame Ragnar for the Abbot's death.
Yes, I can, and I do...
-That is unfair.
-He will stand trial.
You are a great warrior, Uhtred.
You are a Saxon who is also a Dane -
the very embodiment of the England that must emerge.
I request that you enter my service.
I have been a slave.
I wish to remain a free man.
What is it that you wish for Earl Ragnar?
-A man of God was slaughtered.
That cannot be ignored, someone must answer.
It will be you...
or it will be Earl Ragnar.
You may choose.
Your sword, Uhtred.
You can be a free man, within my service.
Ragnar goes free?
He has earned it.
I, Uhtred of Bebban...
It is the custom to kneel.
I, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, pledge my sword to you, Alfred of Wessex.
Uhtred is thrown in chains on a ship and Hild and Ragnar embark on their mission to free him, but time is not on their side. The lords of the north congregate in Eoferwic, and Guthred learns to sorely regret his act of clemency.
Gisela refuses to be used as a political pawn, while Aelfric is tireless in his efforts to hunt Uhtred down and enlists an old adversary to help finish him once and for all.
Alfred turns his mind to forging a political alliance, making Aethelflaed aware of her duty as he seeks suitors for her. Halig's act of bravery comes at a high price, which Uhtred finds difficult to bear.