Aldfrid was filled with a new certainty himself. When first he had seen Eawyn he had been stunned by her beauty. He had had his moment of doubt as to whether this young woman of such quality would even notice him, but she had. With confidence, he took her hands and pulled her a step closer to him. Without saying another word, they kissed and sealed their pact, one to the other. The sun turned from gold to crimson over them as it sunk into the west.

For Rapture of Ravens

I have been asked if this scene from Rapture for Ravens is allegorical and the short answer is yes. Although the idea of Aldfrid’s romance with the daughter of the Theign of Tadcaster was originally intended to allow some development of his character, I quickly realised how poignant it was going to be. At Stamford Bridge, the young huscarl would stand with his brother warriors and fight against the largest Viking army ever to invade England. There was no doubt about that prospect, but it was a larger concern that motivated me to write the last line of the paragraph above; the fate of the whole of the Saxon world.

While it might have seemed like a romantic interlude, I could not escape the fact that the Anglo-Civilisation was about to come to an end after some 500 years of history. Eawyn and Aldfrid might stand on the cusp of a new love but it is one that is doomed from the very beginning. Young people do not usually look so far ahead. They tend to live in the moment more than the older generation does. I am not alone in making the observation that many of them appear to think of themselves as immortal as well, that is, they do not seem aware that death is going to touch them also. As England was beginning to draw closer together as a united kingdom, it seemed fitting that these two young lovers represent the potential of the Saxon people, burning brightly, even as their doom, like the crimson sun, was descending upon them.

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