Shields up! It was the Vikings vs. the Saxons in the epic battle "The Choice" on History Channel's hit series. What made it even worse though, was that it was also Ragnar vs. King Horik! Divided, the Vikings definitely fall, and the Saxons won this round. Check out a description of Episode 9 below:
The story began with Athelstan reading the scriptures to King Ecbert and begging him to talk to Ragnar directly.
"He's looking for land to farm for him and his people," Athelstan said. "Send me to speak to him."
Athlestan knew something was fishy (King Horik) but King Ecbert doesn't want to risk losing the valuable priest.
"You're already too dear to me and too important, which is why I think they would kill you," the King said.
Athelstan was caught between a King and an Earl. (He later prays for Ragnar's safety to both Christian and Pagan gods)
Speaking of a King and an Earl, Ragnar, the Earl of Kattegat, was at serious odds with King Horik who attacked King Ecbert's men (and his son) without even bothering to tell Ragnar. King Horik was hell bent on revenge against King Ecbert, but All Ragnar wants is diplomacy (and land). Can Ragnar convince the men they can reach a peaceful agreement?
King Horik courted Floki's opinion on this (something Ragnar never does). Ragnar suggested he go alone to talk to King Ecbert, but King Horik puts his foot down:
"You will not divide our forces, Ragnar," King Horik said. "You seem to forget I am king. Armed and ready we will go seek battle."
Meanwhile Ragnar's son Bjorn tossed and turned in his sleep - afraid of death on the battlefield of Wessex.
To comfort him, Ragnar gave him a prophecy from the seer:
"[The Seer] told me something about you," Ragnar revealed. "That you would marry the daughter of a king or else sail around a sea with no tides."
With Bjorn now rested easy, King Horik hashed out a wicked plot against Bjorn - by comparing him to "Odin's favorite son," Thor. Are he and Floki possibly planning to take Ragnar's favorite son out?
On the battlefield the troops split when King Ecbert ordered an attack:
"Why are you stopping? The Gods are with us!"
But Ragnar ordered the men to the wall. Divided we fall. The Saxons definitely took them out. Bloodbath. Dead pagans everywhere.
And then the atrocious happened: Rollo got sliced and trampled by horses. Ragnar went crazy, killing any Saxon in his way, and his son joined him. But it's a lost cause.
Athelstan and the English take what's left of Rollo to the village.
After the massacre, what's left of the Vikings? Morale was down, but Ragnar named his son, "Bjorn The Ironside" for his fighting so bravely by his side.
As Athelstan tended to a broken Rollo, Rollo accused him of betraying the Northmen. Meanwhile, the Wessex men celebrated their victory. While some wanted to finish Rollo off, King Ecbert still desired a truce:
"The only way to bring an end [to this fighting] is to come up with an agreement for both sides," King Ecbert explained.
Although King Ecbert didn't want to send Athelstan, he reluctantly did.
"Why have you come, Athelstan? Did you escape?" Lagertha questioned.
The priest told the Viking camp that Rollo was still alive.
Against King Horik red-hearted objections, Lagertha said they will meet King Ecbert.
Athelstan and Ragnar left together (Ragnar using Athelstan as a human shield against King Horik's men hiding in the bushes).
Then, familiar religious themes were touched upon as Athelstan admitted that he could see God in both the Vikings and Christian religions.
"I hope one day our Gods can become friends ," Ragnar says.
Ragnar also basically spat in the face of his former friend Floki, revealing that he knew of Floki's treachery with King Horik.
At the peace treaty between King Ecbert and Ragnar, Athelstan explained that the King was willing to pay money, treasure, and land for farming if the Vikings remained peaceful. He'll even throw in Rollo. But King Horik still wanted King Ecbert's head on a silver platter. That red-headed king does not give up easy.
Ragnar wanted his friend Athelstan to come back home. Athelstan accepted:
"I came back because all of you are my family," he said.
Back on safer shores, Bjorn and a newly freed Purran (thanks to Princess Aslaug) reunited.
But darkness still lurked. King Horik and Floki were back in cahoots at the end.
Tune in to the History Channel Thursday's 10/9c to see the next episode of Vikings, "The Lord's Prayer".