I decided to insert a brief interlude just before the battle commenced. I had two reasons for doing this; first, I had to do something logical with Edwin, Coenred’s shield-bearer, and second, I wanted to portray what people like Mildryth, non-combatants, might experience in respect of the imminent violence about to be unleashed. Edwin is untrained and ill-equipped, and after having established that Coenred is not the kind of commander to put such people in a position of danger he had to be seen to be doing something. Giving him the duty of protecting Mildryth solved that problem. It kept Edwin off the battlefield and also served to reassure Mildryth that she had not been forgotten by the man who had promised her protection.
This was also the first meeting between Mildryth and Edwin and it begins quite nervously. Through it I hoped to suggest some of the nervous excitement and anxiety that many of the people in the city might be feeling. There was a long history of conflict between the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings of course, and they were so closely matched that it was not possible to foretell the outcome.
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