The Last Kingdom (2015) s04e08 Episode Script

Series 4, Episode 8

I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred.
In Wealas, King Hywel and his brother Rhodri believe victory at Tettenhall has brought peace.
I'm going on a pilgrimage and you can rule from the fortress in my absence.
But a new Dane warrior will harness Brida's fury against the Saxons.
- I do not know you.
- Cnut's cousin.
Sigtryggr of Irland.
It is Cnut's babe you carry, or that of a Welshman? I have returned to Aegelesburg with the truth of Eardwulf's treachery.
Eardwulf has confessed to the murder of Lord Aethelred and he has fled Mercia.
Thanks to the kindness of those loyal to her, Aethelflaed has been reunited with her daughter.
A miracle has occurred and you are mistaken in your heartbreak.
I hope that my love for Aethelflaed will be allowed to flourish.
To live in peace by your side, to raise my daughter in safety, nothing would bring me greater happiness.
Yet, with an empty throne Calm yourselves! Mercia remains in turmoil.
Edward's heart hardens further, even against his own son.
- He is Aethelstan.
- He cannot be here.
And my fate has changed with an unexpected offer.
If I place someone to rule here who might forge a path to peace, I wondered if that person should be you.
- [FINAN.]
To Uhtred of Mercia! - [CHEERING.]
Uhtred of Mercia! [UHTRED.]
Destiny is all! Go.
Burn it.
We have everything gathered.
Move! Back to the fort.
Out surveying your kingdom, Lord Uhtred? - I do not wish to argue.
- Then do not go through with this.
You are not the right person to rule Mercia.
How can you be certain? You are wild and impetuous, ruled by your heart and instinct.
And these are all things I love about you.
But it is not what Mercia requires of a ruler right now.
It needs someone considered and diplomatic who can rebuild the kingdom and forge alliances that are equal.
I can be diplomatic when it is required.
Mercia needs a ruler who is not a tyrant, imposed by Wessex.
That is how it will appear if you are Edward's choice to be Lord and Protector of Mercia.
This is the best we can do for Mercia right now.
Another Lord may not feel as well disposed to you.
You could be banished.
That is true.
And still, you would prefer it than I take the throne? If you are asking me to choose between a Lord who is best for me or one who is best for Mercia, - I will choose one who is best for Mercia.
- [SIGHS.]
Mercia's needs are greater than mine.
- I did this for you.
- I know.
So that you and Aelfwynn would be safe.
If I am ruler of Mercia, I can protect you.
I appreciate all you have done for us, Uhtred.
But it does not change my conviction that Mercia needs a ruler who is independent of Wessex.
- Apologies, I can return if you wish.
- I was just leaving, Father.
I know you will do what is right.
- What is so important? - I wanted to discuss your baptism.
The Lord of Mercia must be Christian.
It is written.
I have been baptized by Father Beocca.
- Twice.
- That was many years ago, and the life you've lived since has not been very Christian, so, some of the Ealdormen - wish to witness your baptism in person.
Is my word not enough? If there are doubts, why not give the Ealdormen the proof they require? - [SIGHS.]
- Is the prospect of inviting God into your heart again really so abhorrent that you are willing to give up - No.
- the opportunity to be ruler of Mercia.
- Fine! - Resolve all of this? I will get baptized again! For the third time.
This will be a great home for us.
We can rest here for a while.
Brida! Where are all the women? Welsh women fight back.
We had to kill them.
You did well.
With this and what we've already gathered, we have more than enough to leave here.
Leave and go where? To Wessex or Mercia.
I'm tired of killing farmers and their wives.
My men have traveled from Irland after months of battle.
They are tired.
And where better to rest than here? We have food.
We are safe.
There's no reason to leave.
Edward and Uhtred slaughtered our kin.
They must pay for that.
- And they will.
- When? When the time is right.
I did not keep myself alive in that hole in the ground to watch your men get fat here while the Saxons grow stronger.
They are weak now after Tettenhall.
They will not expect us to attack.
You have a warrior's spirit, and this is good.
But if I ask my men to fight, it must be for a reason I believe in.
They will fight to protect their families, or for food, or for land.
But vengeance for Tettenhall it is not enough.
I will go to find our allies to the north.
They will fight the Saxons.
Then that is what you must do.
I need ten men to escort me on my journey.
You owe me that.
You can have five.
Look how high I can go, - [AETHELSTAN.]
I can go higher.
- Nearly touch the sky! - [EADITH.]
Lady Aethelflaed.
- You can sit.
No, I am higher I was wrong to doubt you.
You delivered my message to Lord Uhtred as you said you would.
I was happy to be of assistance.
And I am told you cared for Aelfwynn on the road, cooled her fever.
She is a fearless child.
It must be in her blood.
- The child is fond of you.
- And I her.
Perhaps I could be of use to her here.
I am curious.
Why did you reveal Eardwulf as Aethelred's murderer? Uh Eardwulf may be my brother, but I knew what he did was wrong.
I choose to be loyal to you and Lord Uhtred because I believe in what you and he are doing.
I thought you would be happy to see me baptized.
I would, if I believed you were sincere in accepting God into your heart.
Do you worry if every child baptized is sincere in accepting God into their heart? [SCOFFS.]
I'm confident few of them are using it to lay claim to a throne.
God is infinitely wise, is he not? He will know if I am sincere.
Lord Uhtred, come forward and receive God's grace.
- Up! Up! Up! Down! As I am leaving, does anybody want my dog? Does anybody want my dog?! All you have to do is feed him and water him.
And beat him! [GROANS.]
Beat him every day! [LAUGHS.]
Up you get.
Do you want a dog? [MEN MUTTERING.]
Nobody wants you, dog.
I know you have your doubts about Lord Uhtred, but I am confident it is the right decision.
It is not that I doubt him.
I just cannot forget that he held a knife to your father's throat and threatened to kill him.
Lord God, drive from Uhtred all the blindness of his heart.
We ask you, Lord, to mercifully hear our prayers and protect Uhtred.
We mark him with the sign of your cross.
God, who is creator of all people, let us rejoice in the gift of grace bestowed on Uhtred that he could not attain on this earth, but only by divine blessing.
You are now catechumen.
I ask your sponsor to come forward.
Receive your servant Uhtred into the ranks of your devout saints and most bright angels.
Let the water cleanse him so that he may know your wisdom to do what is just.
Uhtred, you are now a child of God.
- Amen.
- [ALL.]
Yes! [PANTS.]
I don't think I can stomach another drop of ale, Finan.
Whoa-oh! Everyone knows you cure like with like.
So, only more ale will make you feel better.
Makes perfect sense.
Let me introduce to you the new Lord of Mercia's most trusted advisors.
- Mm, they do not look like Lord's advisors to me.
How many advisors have you met? - None, I suppose.
- Well, this is what they look like.
- [FINAN.]
Now, fill our cups with ale, and we'll tell you what great plans we have for Mercia.
Hey, hey, hey.
Stay awake.
Mmm! - Mm.
- Not hers.
- She will have milk.
What? I'm not incurring the wrath of the Lord and Protector of Mercia on his first day [GULPING.]
Are you ready to serve? I am, Lord King.
After the Witan, you and I should speak alone.
I wish to share with you my plans on how the alliance between Wessex and Mercia is to proceed.
It is important you know exactly what needs to be done.
Yes, Lord King.
It is done, Aethelflaed.
Accept it.
Uhtred has been baptized and will be the Lord of Mercia.
And it is not the worst outcome.
- I recall a time you wished Uhtred dead! - I did.
But your father saw something in Uhtred that I was blind to.
Alfred was a wise judge of character.
Uhtred is a good man, but he is not the right man.
He is being forced on Mercia by my brother, and that cannot be accepted.
The Witan will decide who rules Mercia, not Edward.
You know that is nonsense! Edward is acting as if Mercia is his kingdom, and it is not.
We are his allies, not his subjects.
He needs to accept that.
Your brother is doing what he believes is best.
Best for him, not Mercia.
Is it so much to wish that Mercia have a ruler that has not been selected by Wessex? You can wish, but that is all.
These decisions are not made by us.
You think I would not have liked a greater voice, instead of having to stand there quietly while men blithely make foolish decisions? This is our lot.
They are gathering.
Dear God [GUARD.]
Lord King? [HYWEL.]
God rest their souls.
It is all right, little one.
You are safe.
Who was it who attacked your village? Danes? [SIGHS.]
Don't worry.
We will right this wrong.
The Witan is gathered.
Lord God in heaven, grant this Witan the benefit of your divine wisdom as you guide us today.
- Amen.
- [ALL.]
No one here would deny that Mercia is one of the ancient Saxon kingdoms.
But a kingdom without a ruler is a ship without a steersman.
It drifts with no purpose and breaks on the rocks.
It is, and has ever been, the right of the Witan to decide Mercia's ruler.
- [MAN.]
Well said! - As Aethelred has departed this world we must choose.
Lord Uhtred has been proposed as Lord and Protector of Mercia.
Mercia has lost many sons repelling the Danes.
Our army is weakened.
Our villages wracked with sickness.
We've never been more vulnerable.
To defend our kingdom, we must choose a ruler who will stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors in Wessex.
I can assure you, Wessex has no desire to influence this Witan.
Our only wish is that the new Lord maintains the strong bond between our two kingdoms.
Lord Uhtred has not only served Wessex, he also fought valiantly at Tettenhall to defend Mercia.
And let us not forget, he only holds the throne until a younger Ealdorman comes of age and Lady Aelfwynn is old enough to marry.
Does the Witan object? [MURMUR.]
Then step forward, Lord Uhtred.
Uhtred, Lord and Protector of Mercia, you may take your throne.
Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye - Trust your brother's instincts.
I invite the Ealdormen to step forward and take their oaths to Lord Uhtred.
I would like to address the Witan.
What is this? As you know, I have fought side by side with the men of Mercia.
That you accept me as your Lord, it is an honor I will never forget.
And that's what makes what I have to say even more difficult.
However, there is someone better suited to rule Mercia than I.
Someone who cares for Mercia more than themselves, someone who can be an equal ruler alongside our Lord King Edward.
And so, as my first act as Lord of Mercia, I feel I have no choice but to relinquish the throne - [WITAN CLAMORING.]
- in favor of Lady Aethelflaed, who's led you to victory when Aethelred abandoned you who's always put the welfare of Mercia first.
A woman cannot sit on the Mercian throne! - She is the ruler Mercia requires! - That is enough! Silence! Lady Aethelflaed cannot rule Mercia.
With respect, Lord King, you know that only the Witan can decide who rules Mercia.
That is exactly what concerns me about a woman holding the throne.
Because were she to marry, her husband could become the new Lord of Mercia, bypassing this Witan.
If I may speak, I am devoted to Mercia.
I would never be swayed to act against its interests.
That may be true, but King Edward is correct.
It has always been the preference of the Witan that a woman should not take the throne.
Only a preference, not the law.
King Offa's widow ruled Mercia for many years and did it well.
If you allow Lady Aethelflaed to take the throne, you are exposing Mercia to great risk! [MURMURS OF APPROVAL.]
Perhaps I have a solution.
If it provides the Witan with the reassurance it requires, I will swear an oath that as long as I am Lady of Mercia, I will remain chaste.
This is not something that I do lightly, but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make for Mercia.
This is not acceptable.
I propose the Lady Aethelflaed as ruler of Mercia.
Who supports Lord Uhtred? [ALL.]
Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye, aye Say it, Lady Aethelflaed, so that we may witness your oath.
I swear that as long as I hold the Mercian throne, I will remain chaste.
Is the Witan agreed? - [ALL.]
Agreed! Agreed! Then, Lady Aethelflaed, you may take the throne.
Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye, aye! Aye, aye [CENRIC.]
Clear the street! Back to your homes! [RETCHES.]
- Move.
Hide yourself.
- Finan, I'm - Stiorra! [CENRIC.]
Ensure that nobody resists and the gates remain closed.
Guards of Wessex, spread out! Take up your positions! [GUARDS SHOUTING.]
Man the gates! If today were not a celebration of the new Lord of Mercia, I would fear that King Edward's guards were seizing Aegelesburg.
They do not look like they are celebrating.
We need to find Uhtred and advise him.
Hey, hey! [MAN.]
In the name of the Lord, I wish to be loyal Your reign was brief, Lord Uhtred.
I offer myself But in that time, you've served Mercia well.
We have the ruler we need.
Yes, you do.
King Edward's guards have taken control of Aegelesburg.
Stay alert on the ramparts! Take your position on the West Gate! Pyrlig, what is this? This is what happens when King Edward feels he's been insulted.
This is Mercia.
He has no right.
I suspect he believes his army gives him the right.
Let us not forget that Mercia and Wessex are allies.
I would like to speak with my brother.
The King is at prayer and says he does not wish to be disturbed.
Please tell him I wish to see him.
I will relay your message.
Where were the Mercians? How could Edward seize Aegelesburg without opposition? The Mercian Guard is leaderless without Eardwulf and the fyrd is disheartened and scattered.
Without an army, how do we respond? We do nothing until I have had a chance to talk with Edward.
- And what if he will not talk to you? - Then I will wait.
His men are everywhere.
You're not safe here.
Perhaps it would be wiser to move somewhere else.
- No.
I remain here.
- Even if that places you in danger? My first act as Queen cannot be to flee Aegelesburg.
- Is that not preferable to being killed? - I hope it will not come to that.
So, we just sit here and wait? - Or we can eat and wait.
Or later sleep and wait.
But we wait.
Because we cannot rush Mercia into conflict with Wessex.
Stay with Aethelflaed.
Guard her quarters.
No one is to enter without her permission.
What about her brother? No one.
You two, with me.
- Where, Lord? - To ensure Aethelflaed will not have to rely on Edward's goodwill for her survival.
- I'm Eardwulf.
- [BRIDA.]
Ah, yes.
You're the arse-licker? I'd heard there were Danes in Wealas and I was coming to talk to you.
I don't talk to Saxons, I kill them.
You will change your mind when you hear what I have to say.
I have something very valuable that I can share with you, something that will help [GRUNTS.]
I thought he'd never shut up.
Is it true my father relinquished the throne to Lady Aethelflaed? It is.
Was that his intention all along? The only reason he was baptized? Perhaps I should be angry with him for mocking God.
You know, but I am not.
Your father is a man of strong convictions, as are you.
He is driven by his passions.
- But he does not act with bad intent.
- I know.
And I am grateful to him.
He tests my faith, again and again.
- And each time, it grows stronger.
- That pleases me to hear.
But what is also very clear to me now is that I must follow my calling to serve God and only God.
So, I must go.
Do you think it is wise to bring the child here? Join us.
What is that you have? - Is it a man? - No.
It's a king.
Is he a good king? Yes like you.
Now that you have taken Aegelesburg, what will you do with it? Hold it, until Mercia is in the charge of someone I trust.
- You can trust Aethelflaed.
- So, you side with my sister? I take the side of our family, and perhaps Uhtred has done us a service.
By breaking his word and going against my wishes? Thanks to Uhtred, our family now sits on the thrones of both Wessex and Mercia.
And your father's dream of a united England is even closer.
Aethelflaed is your blood and she will be loyal to you if you allow her.
She is not a threat, Edward.
Deheubarth Fortress lies ahead.
It will be well defended, but we have darkness and surprise on our side.
So, move swiftly and attack without mercy.
Yes, Lord King.
I can smell their stench from here.
- Shall we attack or retreat? - We are men of Wealas.
We attack! - Form a line! - Form a line! Slaughter them! Slaughter them all! [ALL YELLING.]
Do not be afraid.
We will prevail! [NEIGHS.]
Do not stop! Longbows! Loose! [GROANING.]
Loose! [GROANING.]
Retreat! Fall back! [NEIGHS.]
Save yourselves! - Fire! - [MAN.]
Ready bows! Loose! [DRAMATIC VOCALIZING.]
Retreat! Retreat! Loose! [GROANING.]
Finish them! [HORSE GRUNTS.]
Good morning.
We thought it a shame to waste your fire and food.
- Seeing as you won't be needing them.
- I can help you.
I do not need an arse-licker who will not shut up.
I don't remember you laughing at Tettenhall.
You weren't just defeated there.
You were humiliated.
Edward and his army celebrated a great victory.
And they're still celebrating, eating and drinking and telling tales of how the Danes were vanquished.
But I can help you put that right.
I know how to defeat Edward.
But if you kill me then it goes to the grave with me.
All I'm asking is that you listen to what I have to say.
And if it's not of value, then kill me.
I intend to.
Bring Lady Aethelflaed outside.
She has to see what's happening.
Your fyrd are here for you, Lady of Mercia.
Now you have enough men to fight your brother.
And what order would you like to give your army? [CHEERING GROWS.]
To remain calm! I will not sacrifice a single Mercian life unless it is absolutely necessary.
The fyrd will remain outside.
But I have no doubt that Aegelesburg will soon be in Mercian control once again.
Open the gates for Lord Uhtred.
There is no need for them to be closed any longer.
My Lord, open them and you have my word that the fyrd will not enter the town without invitation.
There need be no conflict between us.
Come see what our father has done.
You won't believe it.
Where are you going? To Wessex.
I need time to pray and reflect alone.
Does Father know? I've made up my mind to go and I know he will try to stop me.
Why do you have to go? Father Beocca gave his life to save mine.
The only way I can honor his sacrifice is by serving God well.
- [SIGHS.]
That is what I am doing.
- Take me with you.
- You wish to go to an abbey? - No, to Wessex, where I can do as I wish.
And what is it you wish to do? - Anything.
Because anything is better than waiting here, bored, until I'm forced to marry someone I despise.
I wanna live.
That's all.
As much as I would like it, I cannot take you with me.
But your time will come, I'm certain of it.
Take care, sister.
You will always be in my thoughts.
I will let the fyrd into the town.
I can see you have the support of the people of Mercia.
Enjoy this moment.
It might not always be so.
As ruler, you will have impossible decisions to make.
I know I've made mistakes in some of my choices.
As long as I am Lady of Mercia, you have my support.
I was blind not to see that you are the right person to rule Mercia.
And for that, I am sorry.
Our alliance is enough for me.
I also wish to discuss East Anglia.
It was conquered by Aethelred, but since his death, it has grown lawless.
I propose we send an army there of men from both Wessex and Mercia to maintain control.
A joint army sends a clear message that we are allies.
After that, we can push north into Northumbrian Daneland.
Together, I believe we can achieve our father's dream of a united land.
Pyrlig? I'm looking for my son.
- He is gone, Uhtred.
- Gone? - Where? - Back to his church in Wessex.
- When did he leave? - He left before dusk.
I suggested he speak to you before leaving, but he refused.
- Is this because of the baptism? - No.
It is simply that God has called him away.
I know you do not share his beliefs, but trust me he is a young man you can be proud of.
Will he come back? I hope so.
I will prepare to return to Coccham.
- You will not stay? - No.
Staying here and seeing you every day and not being able to be with you, it is too painful.
The price we are paying is great, but it is an oath that I had to make.
I will miss you, Uhtred Ragnarson.
I will always answer Mercia's call with you on the throne.
I know.
It is good to see Aegelesburg back in Mercian hands.
I wish to talk to you about Aethelstan.
Yes, I am grateful that you brought him to me.
I know you care about the boy but it is impossible for you to take him to Winchester.
There are people there that may wish him ill.
If it is agreeable with you, I would like to take charge of the boy and take him to Bedwyn and raise him there, as I raised you.
To follow your footsteps and those of Alfred's.
Make the arrangements.
I will ask Uhtred to accompany you.
Come play with us.
In a moment.
First I must talk to Eadith.
I promised I'd reward you for delivering my message to Lord Uhtred.
Here it is.
Thank you, Lady Aethelflaed.
Aelfwynn enjoys your company and you have been very loyal to her.
I will not forget that.
But I am the Queen now.
You were my husband's mistress and your brother killed Aethelred.
To allow you to remain here would make me look weak.
I do not wish to punish you too harshly.
I will arrange a place for you at the nunnery, where you can live and be safe.
I would prefer to find my own way.
- May I say goodbye to Aelfwynn? - Yes.
Brida, I did not expect to see you.
You have missed a great victory.
Have you seen the wisdom of staying here? No.
I'm even more certain we must attack the Saxons now.
I have made my decision, Brida.
And you will change your mind when you see what I've brought you.
Not unless it is an army of thousands.
Who is this turd? [LAUGHS.]
He is the turd who will help us take Winchester without a single drop of Danish blood being shed.
I know you think we lost out on wealth and power.
We have something greater than that.
Please do not say our friendship.
- We need more ale.
- More ale it is, then.
Royal advisor? Another jug of your strongest ale.
I will pay for your ale.
And when you leave Aegelesburg, you might allow me to travel with you, for safe passage.
Then make it two.
After Tettenhall, Edward believes the Danes no longer hold a threat.
He's taken his army to Aegelesburg, leaving Winchester undefended.
Winchester is King Alfred's spiritual home.
It's a place of great importance to the Saxons.
Only a handful of soldiers remain there, no more than that.
We will never get an opportunity like this again.
Winchester is weak and nobody realizes except us.
You told me you would not ask your men to risk death unless for food, or land, or to protect their families.
Winchester provides all things and more.
And there is no risk.
We leave for Winchester today.

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