“I sought to commission you as my protector Lord Coenred, but I find in you a noble heart that I much admire.”
Mildryth to Coenred. The War Wolf.
With this one sentence I tried to describe the inspiration for Mildryth’s growing affection for Coenred in a time of imminent danger. It is the eve of the Battle of Fulford Gate. Coenred, as a huscarl, will stand against the Vikings, risking his life to protect his lord in the first instance, but also the people who depend upon the eorls for protection.
They belong to a social system that is built upon recognising the inherent obligations that are due to each person in whatever rank they hold. It works best when people acknowledge their obligations but of course, being only human, not everyone does this in a time of need.
Mildryth has her own sense of honour and recognises it quickly in others. It attracts her to them, and she disdains those, such as Wulfhere, who do not possess it. To her mind, Coenred’s unconscious respect of others, regardless of rank, suggests a quiet nobility. He is a man of violence, as all warriors are, but he is controlled by a sense of honour that has developed an impressive level of self-discipline. These are qualities to be respected in a man during an age of almost constant warfare. If Coenred had just been a killer of men, ruled by a lust for blood, then I doubt that Mildryth would have seen in him any attractive quality at all.