The story will begin around 793, the date Lindisfarne was invaded by the Vikings, or maybe just before the invasion. I’m thinking of including the Welsh coronation crown. It is something the villain in First Wolf, Eorl Uhtred, would want, and then from the story me began to take shape in my head. I chose Powys as it is nearest to Northumbria. The border between England and Wales did not exist at that time. There were Welsh speaking tribes far beyond what we think of as Wales.

It will be nearly Christmas, 792, the year before the Vikings attack. But that the timeline is still something I shall have to work on, and the sequence of events.

St. Cuthbert died one hundred years earlier and is still on Inner Farne where Toland, the hero of the previous book, met him in his beehive hut on the island.

The Saxon Eorl Uhtred has killed the Northumbrian King Aethelred’s family and plans to kill the King too. The Eorl has gone with a raiding party, including Toland’s uncle, into Welsh territory. There was no border between the Welsh speaking lands and the Anglo-Saxons, and land was constantly lost and won in many battles.

It is Christmas time and Uhtred has heard about the wealth of Cadell also known as Cadell Powys, King of Powys, and the special crown used at Cadell’s coronation, a chain of twisted gold links, with armlets, and anklets of gold, which were the badges of sovereignty of Powys.

I came across the photograph online. Eliseg lived at Castell Dinas-Bran near Llangollen, is associated with the Celtic god, Bran, and King Arthur’s Quest for the Holy Grail. This might be useful.

And Uhtred’s raid on the castle will involve the broken shaft of the cross that led to the memorial illustrated.

Eliseg reclaimed the territory of Powys after it had been overrun by the Saxons, and his great-grandson, Cyngen son of Cadell erected the Pillar of Eliseg in his memory. which stands not far from the later abbey of Valle Crucis, it was once topped by an enormous cross, and its inscription praises his victories against the Saxons and includes a record of the Powys pedigree, stretching back to Vortigern and Magnus Maximus.

The translation of the part of the inscription referring to Eliseg is as follows:

+ Cyngen, was the King who erected Pillar of Eliseg, in memory of his great-grandfather Elisedd.  The same Eliseg, who joined together the inheritance of Powys out of the power of the Angles with his sword and with fire. Whosoever repeats the writing, let him give a blessing on the soul of Eliseg + 

Elisedd, is king of Powys at the beginning of the story and re-established Powys independence after the Saxon invasions.

Kendra and her family are going to the church attached to the castle where the Powys King Cadell son of Elisedd lives. Uhtred and his mercenary army attacks – the castle is poorly guarded at this time of year, it is heavily snowing…

The coronation crown is taken by Uhtred, Kendra’s parents are killed, she escapes with her brother, Finn who is 8, and sister, Orla who is 5. She is killed when defending them and the siblings are taken away by Uhtred and his warriors as slaves.

Kendra follows Uhtred and his men through Wales in winter, little realising that she has been slain, and is probably rescued by a woman who becomes her mentor for most of the story.

Finally, after many adventures, while she follows her siblings to Northumbria, she meets St. Cuthbert, he teaches her to take living form, and tells her she must care of Toland….  I haven’t yet decided how the story ends, but I want it to be happy.