The king drifts into sleep. Servants replenish the torches and bank the fire.
When he wakes, Aldfrid allows me to feed him some porridge. I wipe his chin and ask if he will name an heir.
“My son is too young to hold the kingdom. Perhaps I’ll name Bishop Wilfrid as Osred’s guardian. Who better than the man who wants to control Northumbria?”
For a moment, I think the king’s mind wanders, but then I see his plan. If Wilfrid’s holdings are restored, he’ll be strong enough to protect Osred’s claim to the throne.
“You are a wise king, Aldfrid.”
He smiles. “Wait here a little while, and I’ll be a dead one.”
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