Eivor spotted the camp Sigurd and Ubba had set up, just out of view from Templebrough. As she approached, she overheard talking.
- Ubba: You did better than your tight-lipped man here. He'll never say anything again.
- Anglo-Saxon Soldier: We've told you everything. Won't you let us go?
- Ubba: That depends on what happens here.
- Norse Warrior 1: What do you think? By land or by water?
- Norse Warrior 2: We take a boat in there, it'll cause a stir.
- Norse Warrior 1: Is that a bad thing?
Eivor entered the camp to see Ubba standing over some enemy soldiers, two kneeling and bound, one dead. She spoke to Sigurd.
- Sigurd: Eivor, there you are.
- Eivor: What's with the prisoners?
- Sigurd: Men from the fortress out on patrol.
- Ubba: We squeezed them. Burgred's not here. It's his queen they're guarding, Æthelswith. They must have separated after Tamworth.
Ubba's eyes went wide in realization.
- Ubba: Ivarr...
- Eivor: Too long a tale for now, but he's fine. I sent him to Repton. What's the plan here?
- Sigurd: It won't be long before someone comes looking for these men. We need to get inside and find Aethelswith.
He turned to address Ubba.
- Sigurd: See if you can get any more out of them. Me and Eivor will take care of fetching Aethelswith.
- Ubba: Odin guide you.
As Sigurd and Eivor left the camp, they continued talking.
- Sigurd: The Saxons won't welcome us through the front door. We could find a quiet way in, or we can take your longship. I'm beside you either way.
Ah, Eivor, I have dreamt of this day.
- Eivor: Of scouring the shire in search of a king?
- Sigurd: Of going a-vikingr! With you! With our brothers and sisters! Conquering new lands. Forming lasting friendships. And if it takes chasing some weasel across a new land, so be it. I am right where I wish to be.
- Eivor: As am I, brother.
Eivor and Sigurd boarded her longship and sailed upriver to land beside the fort. Eivor blew her horn to signal the start of the raid.
- Sigurd: We'll do this the vikingr way then!
Eivor and Sigurd entered the fort quietly.
Eventually they found an entrance into the upper levels of the central keep, where several soldiers were gathered.
- Sigurd: Soldiers barracks. Aethelswith might be here.
After killing the soldiers within the barracks, they made their way down the stairs, further into the keep. At the base of the stairs was a door, beyond which they found Lady Aethelswith and three of her handmaidens.
- Sigurd: You three, scurry.
The maids ran, but paused on the other side of the room as Sigurd and Eivor approached their mistress.
- Sigurd: Lady Aethelswith, I see Burgred has done his best to hide you away. But what is lost must always be found.
- Aethelswith: Let my handmaidens walk free of this place. They have nothing to do with our quarrel.
Sigurd nodded and began circling the lady.
- Sigurd: You hear that, Eivor? Noble. Selfless. This is the sort you must strike a bargain with. A woman of quality. We seek only your king, lady. Tell us where Burgred hides, and we will leave without an ounce of blood spilt.
Aethelswith put her hand to her chest, beseaching.
- Aethelswith: Please... I-I don't... I don't know.
- Eivor: Effective, Sigurd.
Sigurd glared and stepped forward to loom over their captive.
- Sigurd: She's only naive to her present danger. But she will soon understand.
The lady put her hands up, shaking, but Eivor noticed something out of place.
- Eivor: Wait... Those are the hands of one who washes linens... a servant.
The false Aethelswith frowned, glancing uncertainly at where Aethelswith's handmaidens were hovering.
- Eivor: She is a decoy.
Two of the maids ran as Eivor gave chase, the third had already slipped away while they were distracted. In the outer area of the fort, the real Aethelswith could be heard shouting.
- Aethelswith: Guards! Come quickly! The Danes, they've found me!
- Eivor: Watch the handmaidens! I'll follow Aethelswith.
Outside the fort, Aethelswith was escaping on a small boat, a single guard sculling. Eivor followed.
- Aethelswith: Over there! Soldier by the road! Help!
Aethelswith and the guard landed, fleeing to a small camp of Mercian soldiers not far from the river. Eivor killed the soldiers and approached her target in the camp.
- Aethelswith: Stay away from me! My husband will send you all to Hell!
Eivor bound the lady and picked her up, making her way back to Ubba's camp.
- Aethelswith: Stop what you are doing at once!
- Eivor: Quite clever, Your Ladyship. You are certainly making us work for it.
- Aethelswith: Keep your hands off me, pagan!
- Eivor: Have you lost your sense of hospitality?
- Eivor: I regret asking...
- Aethelswith: Let me go! I demand it!
- Eivor: After what you put me through? I would have to be mad.
- Aethelswith: Do you understand what you're doing, pagan? I am the Lady of Mercia!
You're wasting your time. I won't talk. Not to you, not to any of you barbarians.
- Eivor: You may reconsider, if only for your people. For who knows how many more may die at the hands of us barbarians?
- Aethelswith: You don't frighten me.
- Eivor: Then you are a fool.
Finally, Eivor entered the camp with her captive, pushing the lady to her knees before Ubba.
- Ubba: Lady Aethelswith... you have seen better days.
- Aethelswith: God will sear your soul, heathen! If He can find it.
She spat at him as Sigurd made his way into camp.
- Sigurd: Quite the catch, Eivor. She is as much a poet as you.
- Aethelswith: Where's my Kadlin? What have you done with her?
- Sigurd: Your handmaiden, you mean? The brave one dressed in royal finery? She's in chains with the others.
Aethelswith looked away in shame.
- Ubba: I'll take them back to Tamworth. Get them talking.
- Aethelswith: If she has so much as a scratch on her...
Ubba pulled her up by the arm and led her away.
- Sigurd: I will inform Ceolwulf. He might have some ideas on how to get through to her.
Sigurd nodded and started to walk away.
- Eivor: Sigurd... what about these prisoners?
She looked back at the two guards still struggling against their binds.
- Sigurd: We've got what we need. Let them go.
Eivor nodded and released the men. Before leaving she went back and searched the fort. In the room where Aethelswith had been hiding, she found a note.
- Leofrith's Orders
The Lady Aethelswith has not been seen by the Danes. Should they storm this fortress, they will identify her only by the way she is dressed.
Have her and one of her handmaidens exchange clothes. The lady will object. She will not want to put those closest to her in harm's way, but she must do whatever is necessary to avoid capture.
Near the note was a door, locked from the inside. Destroying part of the wall, Eivor entered and found an entry from Aethelswith's journal.
- Lady Aethelswith's Journal
What we feared most has come to pass. Tamworth is in the hands or our enemies.
But not all is lost. We slipped away, a dozen or so of us, thanks to Leofrith. If not for him, I fear we too would have perished.
And so now, we hide. Burgred in his haven, and me in mine. I am to remain in Templebrough under heavy guard until Leofrith rallies the men and exacts his plan.
Meanwhile, I will have to learn to shake this feeling of guilt. Guilt because I am safe but my people are not. Perhaps it is better not knowing what is taking place outside these walls.
Eivor left the fort for her next destination.
Eivor infiltrated the fort, later pursuing and capturing Lady Æthelswith, the wife of King Burgred.