My husband reminds me of my father. Edwin had a barrel-sized chest, a red beard, and a rheumy nose from drinking too much mead. He was Bretwalda of England, his only concern victory and power. He cared little for my mother, nor she for him.
Oswy is younger, taller, stronger—his hair a golden halo that streams behind him when he trains for battle. He’s determined to be Bretwalda of England, like my father. Like his brother. He married Princess Rieinmelt on his brother’s orders, so Oswald could attach Rheged to Northumbria. Oswy put away a woman he cared for to make the match. Court gossip says she was an Irish princess. No matter. Gossipers also say Oswy rejoiced when Rieinmelt died, that she blocked his ambition. I try not to listen.
I’m drawn to Oswy like a moth to a candle flame. When I arrive at Bamburg, my little ladies dress me in my finest tunic and costliest gems. On the shore, my husband stands like one of the old gods. He holds out his hand. I take it and set my face to the north.
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