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Vikings: Our arrival in Wessex causes much gossip!

Ok, first of all forgive me… I had hoped to write this earlier but I am afraid that I am not feeling so much like a hale and hearty Dane right now? I hate to admit of this, but I am feeling a bit under the weather and I fear this place has something to do with my current ailment. I have become so used to the generally crisp clean air of our Danemark that I had forgotten how truly horrendous and foul a place… and people can smell? Please forgive me if I sound off putting or rude to those of you who are Saxons by birth or ancestry, but this place smells awful! This  village is over full of people and animals all crammed together in one small space. It reeks of midden piles too close to living quarters, of waste both animal and human, and I do not know of when it might have been since some of these people have bathed. What ever happened to the oft repeated phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?”  Apparently, that phrase has not been coined or made so popular yet.  This is one great difference between our people and these Saxons. For the most part, we are a clean lot. Perhaps it is because we do not have such odd fear of water as these people seem to? We live near water- lakes and rivers cover our landscape… And, we make use of it. It is nothing uncommon for us to swim or to bathe in the rivers or lakes as often as need be. It astounds me that these people who also have access to lakes, to rivers, to the sea for some of them, would have such aversion to immersing themselves in it on some regular basis.  I pray to the Gods that we finish our preparations here quickly and can leave the overwhelming stench of this village! On a personal thought, all I can think is no wonder disease and plague spread so quickly. I want to be away from all of these people and Gods knows what germs they may spread.

Our arrival has caused a whirlwind of gossip and curiosity from the people here as well as suspicions and resentments. Of course, the women here all profess to be in fear of us and our men, but I can see that they also eye our men with something other than fear. I have to say that our men have been behaving themselves well for the most part? They are too busy making preparations for the coming battle they fight for that witch, Princess Kwentirith… I do have my own personal suspicions of her and I am not alone in my feelings. I know that there is most likely much more going on here than we are being told of, something does not feel right about this entire situation and I hold her liable for what ever schemes are being plotted without our knowledge. That said and set aside, I will say that our warriors are feeling some excitement about the fight even if it is not really our fight to be part of? They have been cooped up for too long and any excuse for a fight is looked forward to by them right now! I do need to add too that besides the fighting, some of them do look for free and honest women to pass some time with… Most of the women who have made this journey are wives and family- not ones who are willing or interested in sharing their beds or bodies with all of the men! So, the men’s eyes do wander to these Saxon women who may be of easy virtue and who seem more than willing to share their bodies, whether they would admit it openly or not! There are always willing women where ever one travels to and our men generally are not in the habit or liking of the idea of forcing a woman. Yes, I know of what future rumors will say about our men forcing themselves on women but it is not true. There are always those kinds of men in any society who would take enjoyment from abusing women, so our men have been put in much bad light for the sake of making some other group look better when it is simply not the case!  Our men are deeply offended by the thought that they would take such great pleasure or enjoyment from the abuse and rape of women. As I have said, for one thing- there are always women to be found anywhere you go, there is no pleasure or enjoyment to be found in forcing oneself on an unwilling person. No, that form of abuse has nothing to do with pleasure but all to do with power and control.

Our men are fine ones, respectful of women, courteous and usually well mannered in their interactions with women. They have no need to force themselves upon any woman, in fact they often have the problem of  avoiding women who are too willing and too desired of wanting them! And, if we are to be honest, there are many women who would take advantage of their kind hearts… there are also women who would lie and deceive, women who would willingly enjoy favor with men and then if found out, would claim they were forced? We all know of such women.

 

Now, as to rumors and gossip surrounding us here… much of that gossip pertains to the one person who we would think should cause none? Our friend Athelstan the priest is at the center of this gossip. Athelstan is normally the least likely man that any of us would assume there should be interest or curiosity about! For some reason though, he has attracted much attention from various virtuous religious ones here. It all has to do with the fact that he is or was a Christian monk, one of  God’s holiest of men, has turned against God and become Pagan, and yet carries a mark from God upon his hand.  During his last visit here, he was tortured by these “Godly” men, crucified by those Priests, and now his hand bears a scar that does not heal. I have looked at his hand, and I am as mystified as anyone else? I am not one for such mystical and religious miracles. I have tried to put it down to some more basic scientific or medical reason for the wound not healing completely, but even I do wonder at it?

I know you too well you can not hide anything

I know you too well you can not hide anything

The most important thing you must remember about this time is that anything unexplainable is looked on with great fear and is directly attributed to God, or the Gods… for every culture tried to explain such things in the same ways. They were signs from the Gods, or from the one God. Sometimes it would be looked on favorably and considered a miracle or a gift, other times it would be looked at as a bad omen? It really depended on the person and the situation at the time? It also depended on anything that happened in relation to such occurrence? Say such sign preceded a traumatic event, then of course that sign was in retrospect, a bad omen. If the sign were related to a good event happening, then it was a miracle, a sign that God was pleased.  I am much worried for Athelstan right now in that this sign on him could easily go either way? If good things happen to those believers around him, he will be put on a pedestal and worshiped. If bad things happen, then he will be a marked man doomed to be slain by those who believe that God has marked him in anger… either way, it will not go well for our Athelstan if this wound does not heal itself.

In this time of  religious zeal, frenzy and ultimate devotion, Athelstan is the ultimate prize for those seeking a closer contact or ear to God. I do not think that he really has any idea yet how dangerous his situation could become.  One of those devout and fevered Christians is none other than Aethelwulf’s wife, Judith. Aethelwulf is himself, a devoutly religious man who deems Athelstan as a traitor to their God. From the time of Athelstan’s arrival back here, the Lady Judith has been ever watching him and Aethelwulf is not happy about this.

For my own personal reasons, I feel need to make friends with Judith… I think she can be my best way of visiting the Wilton Abbey? I am quite sure she would know well of it and could help me in my quest to gain admittance or entry there. You see, it is such a small and private Abbey right now that one would need some connection or referral from a well placed Noble to visit or eventually seek sanctuary there if need be. I am sure that if I work this right, I can get her to take me there on the premise of making contribution to their good works.  I must be careful though in my endeavor for I do plan to take advantage of her infatuation with Athelstan. I do not want to put him at more risk than necessary and hope this plan does not completely backfire on me or him!  I must also be careful in my visit of the place… I do not want to remain there right now and they may be quite forceful in attempts to convert me to their ways and keep me there. A comment from Rollo recently reminds me to use caution and not remain there at this time. We were speaking of this upcoming battle and he in jest mentioned that he should not like to return and find that I had indeed run off to one of these places? He was jesting only in part, and grew more serious in his added reply that should I find myself hiding away in such a place, he would feel need to remove me from there, by what ever force necessary!  I do fear that such an event be the start of an even greater battle, a religious war that is not a part of this history. I do not want that on my conscience!  I worry too why Rollo would feel such need to “rescue” me? When I broached that subject, he simply said, “As you once told Siggy, that is not a place for you!” I left it at that as I did not want to go any deeper into such discussion with him. His reason was that he considered me a good friend and he would not see me shut myself away from the world in such a way. It had nothing to do with any kind of deeper relationship between us which we both know is not possible.  I laughed it all off and reassured him that I would give him fair warning should I ever decide on this choice. I also had to make known the fact that I was well aware of his recent interests in all the fine women of Wessex and other places… He did look a bit sheepish at this and said that he must find ways to entertain himself and forget the heartaches. I understand this and do not hold any of it against him.

rollo's way of setting up dates

I said nothing then… I understood his bitterness and his anger at Siggy but I did know that he would not forget his feelings for her. So, as any good friend would do, I simply added her name to the list of women vying for his favors!

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As the men busied themselves with their battle plans, I put my own plans into motion with much trepidation. This could all go so badly and I would forever feel guilt if I were the cause for anything happening to Athelstan. It was all quite easy and I placated myself, justified my actions in that the Lady Judith would have eventually made her move on Athelstan anyway even had I not intervened? All I really had to do was put myself near to her and casually strike up conversation about Athelstan with her. She could not resist the temptation to speak more with him. So, all I did was point her in his direction… and was rewarded with her undying gratitude!

lady Judith enters and makes her play for Athelstan in a chastely religious manner

lady Judith enters and makes her play for Athelstan in a chastely religious manner

Anything that would happen as a result of this meeting is upon them, not me!

I wanted to wish you and your people good fortune

I wanted to wish you and your people good fortune

If it's not true that you bear a stigmata of Christ then why not show me your hand

Judith can't resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

Judith can’t resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

it is true!

it is true!

kissing athelstan's hand in utter reverence and devotion

kissing athelstan’s hand in utter reverence and devotion

 

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

trying to regain her composure

trying to regain her composure

I will admit that even I was a little surprised by her reaction… I thought she might pass out right there from her dazed frenzy of having touched and kissed the hand of one she felt was chosen by God!

 

Athelstan's first groupie

She was so overtaken by the experience that I think she forgot everything else… including her husband, who was not happy, to say the very least!

aethelwulf can not compete with one who could be marked as a future saint

aethelwulf can not compete with one who could be marked as a future saint

fare thee well husband go save the world while I stay here with my religious treasure

fare thee well husband go save the world while I stay here with my religious treasure

wait patiently for my return

wait patiently for my return… have you forgotten you have a husband and a son!

you are my wife

you are my wife

There take that you pagan priest

There take that you pagan priest! She is my wife!

I am so sorry Athelstan… I hope that at least you will find some joy in this situation before it all goes badly?

Now the other situation which is causing much rumour, I had nothing at all do with! I watched it unfold along with everyone else at that feast and was as surprised as anyone at this next infatuation? from the moment King Ecbert laid eyes upon Lagertha, he was as he admitted, completely infatuated with her. I do not necessarily trust him any more than I trust anyone else here and I have my worries as to where this will lead. I do think that Lagertha is a strong and capable woman though and would see through any games he might attempt to play? I would hope she will not be overly dazzled by his charm and will not fall for any trap him might try to ensnare her in. But, on the brighter side, Lagertha does deserve a bit of fun, some enjoyment of life’s pleasures and she should see the advantage of having this man on her side rather than against her or us…

Yes I am King so what?

Yes I am King so what?

well at least Lagertha looks happy about his presence

well at least Lagertha looks happy about his presence

she is unlike any woman I have ever met

I am infatuated with her

I am infatuated with her

Lagertha is impressed at least a little

Lagertha is impressed at least a little

We all made our way to the land which Ecbert had promised and it was a glorious sight!

travel to the new land

travel to the new land

As we came to our new home, I was excited like everyone else, but something deeply troubled me. This was rich farmland, that had once been occupied. There were farms and homes already here… where had those people gone? Had they been forced out of their homes, off from this wealth of land for us? If so, I could well understand the bitterness and hatred from some of those in the village! What had happened to the previous residents, what had Ecbert done to them in order to provide us with this bounty.  There was an underlying fear in my heart now.

the new land all the way to the horizon with many farms that need to be worked

the new land all the way to the horizon with many farms that need to be worked

Ecbert made vows and promises of peace between us all but, could or would he keep that peace if all of those previous land holders were so intent on breaking it? How would we have felt… how did we feel when during that time in Kattegat when our lands, our homes were taken from us. Did we sit back and allow someone, such as Jarl Borg or King Horik to take our homes and our land from us. Is not this a similar situation for such people here who may have been displaced to give the lands to us?

he wants us to live in peace here

he wants us to live in peace here

 

While we journeyed to this new land and this trouble brewing, our men journeyed into their own trouble!

travel to battle

They headed into a battle for the strange princess Kwentirith… This woman was no shieldmaiden and was completely unprepared for the battle that would pit our men against her brother and her Uncle. She spent much of journey dancing and celebrating in her own bizarre fashion!

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

That is not to say the men did not enjoy the spectacle but, could any of them really take this woman seriously? One who was not amused by any of it was Aethelwulf, who voiced his disgust and his concerns to his personal Priest!

being the good christian that he is Aethelwulf goes nowhere without his personal priest

being the good christian that he is Aethelwulf goes nowhere without his personal priest

What they sailed into felt more like a battle set up to defeat them from all sides. They were unprepared to meet armies on both sides of the river, and were taken by surprise.

the first arrow of attack from out of nowhere

Our men felt as though they had sailed into a trap… one set by the scheming Princess Kwentirith. Ragnar was understandably furious with this turn of events and showed his growing mistrust of Kwentirith.

she's obviously hiding something she's uneasy talking about her uncle

she’s obviously hiding something she’s uneasy talking about her uncle

tell me about your uncle

is that your brother?

is that your brother?

 

 

 

 

I love him my brother bergrid but he has been taken in by my uncle's schemes

I love him my brother bergrid but he has been taken in by my uncle’s schemes

Having no choice now, the men determined their best odds and set about winning this uneven battle. Their anger and feelings of betrayal spurred them into fighting even harder to win!

Besides his anger at the general situation they were in, his distaste of Kwentirith and his extreme frustration, Ragnar was even less happy about some of his own warriors, namely his son Bjorn and Bjorn’s wife Porunn. It was rather obvious that he did not approve of Porunn’s being there in the first place and then when she placed herself in the middle of the battle and Bjorn became so distracted and felt need to keep her safe, well Ragnar’s disgust clearly showed on his face!

ragnar sees bjorn with porunn and is really pissed

ragnar sees bjorn with porunn and is really pissed

porunn holds her own

porunn holds her own

porunn is right in the middle of the fiercest fighting

porunn is right in the middle of the fiercest fighting

now she struggles to hold her own in the fighting

now she struggles to hold her own in the fighting

pulling porrun out of danger

pulling porrun out of danger

nope, ragnar is not happy about porrun

nope, ragnar is not happy about porrun

It was a fierce and bloody battle that took it’s toll and they barely managed to survive and win that day!

Bjorn becomes distracted in fear for her bjorn does well in the battle break the damn arrow and keep fighting floki gets to uncle first

In the end, they were victorious… and Kwentirith’s uncle was taken down by an enraged Floki! They succeeded that day, but none trusted Kwentirith and no one knows yet what the consequences or the cost of this battle will be other than more battles for these Christians and death for our men.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vikings: A long awaited voyage! Part one of season 3 premiere review

*****Spoiler Warning!” 

This post contains spoilers for Vikings Season 3 episode 1, Mercenary. If you have not watched it yet and do not want spoilers, please avoid this post until you have watched it, or do not complain that I did not advise you ahead of time!

 

Have you ever experienced a long, cold winter trapped in close quarters with nowhere to go for relief from the voices and the troubles of others? Well, if you have been through these winters, you will understand me when I say that after some months of the bitter cold, the dreary days of  little sunlight, and the never ending snow, everyone becomes restless. Their nerves are frayed, they are on edge for little or no reason, they are restless, bored and irritated with the company of even their closest allies and loved ones? That is how we have spent this winter of much distress and discontent.  We were ambushed and attacked in our own home by our own King…and  that was just  the start of our longest winter!  Before I go on with our coming voyage, I must quickly share what happened that fateful winter night when King Horik decided that he trusted no one of Ragnar’s family and that they all must die.

He supposedly came in peace, even brought with him his entire family to celebrate a new beginning, an alliance between all of us. What he really did though was set a trap to lure us into, to use us as his means of doing away with Ragnar and his family whom he felt held too much power?

King horik's family of daughters

While he spoke of peace and celebration, he was trapping ones such as Siggy and Floki into carrying out his plans of death. I did warn Siggy more than once that this dangerous game she involved herself in could come to no good end?

you once promised ragnar's weakness you did not deliver  You wasted all your seed on a promis  Tell me now what is his weakness

you once promised ragnar’s weakness you did not deliver You wasted all your seed on a promis Tell me now what is his weakness

you must go to the great hall at sunset and kill ragnar's young sons

you must go to the great hall at sunset and kill ragnar’s young sons

I will make you a queen you will rule again

I will make you a queen you will rule again

Rollo had learned of her actions, and felt wholly betrayed by her even though she had done her deeds with his future rise in mind. That made it worse as far as he was concerned for it felt to him like she did not trust him to fight his own battles?  There was much tension, anger and resentment between them when he was returned to us near death. They were both filled with bitterness and said things they probably should not have…

Don't  give up   What do you care

Don’t give up What do you care

what do you care Do you want an honest answer  I don't know but I think you might still be useful somehow

what do you care? Do you want an honest answer, I don’t know but I think you might still be useful somehow.

to whom

To whom, I really don’t know

Floki was embroiled in his own treacherous game with Horik. In attempt to gain Horik’s trust, he was ordered to kill someone who mattered?

floki calling the gods to rollo my friend torstien has been murdered

Horik plotted and planned with his family- his wife and his son, and with his army to ambush and destroy us in the night…

wars are not always fought on the battle field today we must overcome the magic of ragnar lothbrok horik and wife Gunhild who was once a great sheild maiden herself sometimes the war comes into your home

They sought to bring the war right into our home but in the end they failed because of the loyalties that all felt to Ragnar Lothbrok. His plot was known about and he was defeated. Those two, Siggy and Floki did not betray but brought their information to Ragnar so that we could be prepared for the fight.

The gods are coming   I know

this family will fight or die trying

this family will fight or die trying

a fight between shield maidens

a fight between shield maidens

when it is my family or yours then my family shall live

when it is my family or yours then my family shall live

In the end, Horik was surrounded and put to death by Ragnar. Horik’s one last request was that Ragnar let his son live? I am not so sure this was such a wise idea but Ragnar did grant it.

horik thinks he has won but he underestimates Ragnar and those loyal to him Horik is surrounded and floki enters the room

At the end, it was his own dagger that he was killed with, and Siggy had the final revenge of watching him die!

a dagger of death to seal the bargain siggy will have the final revenge as she watches horik die

 

floki where have you been   Looking after you Bjorn

floki where have you been Looking after you Bjorn

The sword of Kings was in Ragnar’s possession now and Bjorn held it as if feeling his own future destiny.

the sword of kings in bjorn's hand bjorn's destiny

 

So, King Horik and his family were no more and now Ragnar is King. Being King does not make life any better or easier, and it does not make a man any happier about his life? All of the problems and messes that were in his life are still there for him to deal with. He suffers no less from the winter, the restlessness and the discontent than the rest of us!

Now, winter is leaving us soon and we are more than ready for spring to arrive! Ragnar has announced that come Spring, we shall sail to England and claim that land which King Ecbert promised us. Many are more than ready, are anxious to take the voyage… they all have their own reasons?

Ragnar is as restless as everyone else. He does love his sons, but their Mother… not so much! He loves the son Ivar, but can do nothing to help the child and feels pain at being around him I think? Aslaug feels that same pain as well, but she is a Mother above all else and will endure that heart ache for her son.

Ragnar must leave because

aslaug and Ivar

She knows that Ragnar does not love her but she continues on with a brave front and a cold attitude to others. And, she watches her husband and Lagertha leave with great suspicion, she is sure no good will come of this?

Do you love mesuspicious aslaug watches lagertha lagertha is much too close for comfort

Rollo, he must leave because his heart hurts too much to stay right now. He can not forgive Siggy for her sleeping with Horik even if was done in some attempt to help him…

rollo must leave because

Rollo is not happy, neither is Siggy but they are both too proud to admit their wrongs to each other…

rollo is not happy either but at least they do not have torstein's problem rollo understand well floki's desire to leave rollo's response to floki I understand completely I will be glad to sail

Much later Rollo will think on Siggy, admit what was in his heart for her and still feel the bitterness… but at least he would come to smile again!

I loved a woman like that once, I prized that woman as much as my own life  fat lot of good it did me

I loved a woman like that once, I prized that woman as much as my own life fat lot of good it did me

Let no man mock another over what touches his heart time and again every man will feel it

Rollo is amused by all of it right now

 

Floki, he would leave because he felt trapped by his marriage to Helga and his new family? Floki feared happiness!

floki must leave

I think Floki feared the impending responsibilities of being husband and Father? He looked at his family and all he saw was the looming responsibilities, and the fear that something might happen to them? Better then, not to be so attached to them should that happiness be taken away by the Gods…

floki and helga Floki and Helga's daughter just look at her  No I can't she makes too happy and I fear it perhaps when you come back you will see the sense of this   Perhaps I will die there we're such a happy family   what is wrong with that We don't want to trap you if you want to leave us you should go

In Floki’s words, Helga was so horribly good that he couldn’t stand it and he must get away! Helga would not fight or argue, she simply said, “Go then, perhaps you will feel different when you return?”

You can not understand I am so happy I am so happy we're leaving

 

Athelstan, why did he feel such need to go back to England?

Athelstan must leave because

Athelstan was torn in his thoughts and his decisions, but he felt that he needed to follow Ragnar? Ragnar felt much the same in that he must follow Athelstan… Athelstan must go back to that place, and his God. He must face his inner demons and hauntings to be clear in his mind and heart of what he should do with his life.

ragnar and athelstan

Athelstan is marked by his god for some higher purpose and he must seek out that purpose.

I know you too well you can not hide anything

I know you too well you can not hide anything

Athelstan is torn not only by his faith but in his friendships. Ecbert awaits his return to him and to their God’s calling.

and you also must stay athelstan we need you  I need you

and you also must stay athelstan we need you I need you

he hears the call Athelstan's true god is calling whether he wants to listen or not

And, what of Lagertha in Hedeby, why did she feel need to go on this voyage when other troubles were brewing upon her doorstep?

lagertha must leave because

Lagertha killed her abusive husband to become Earl of Hedeby… there are those that are not so happy about this and feel that she has usurped the title from it’s rightful inheritors. Is Hedeby truly hers? When it comes right down to it, no not really… some who she trusts well right now will seek to betray her and regain that title. But, that does not come into her thoughts on this journey because she does not know of this treachery, so why then does she choose to take this voyage with us when she should be content and happy with her new role as Earl? I believe she takes this journey because she ready for adventure. Her son is grown now, on his own, she has no ties or restrictions of Motherhood on her, she is a free woman for now. Though she knows she must probably marry again at some point for alliances she is not ready for that quite yet? She still yearns for the adventure. I do not believe it really has anything to do with thoughts of being with Ragnar again. She has a new life to embark on, and she would make the most of what ever comes her way.

kalf says I have nothing to offer   Let me be the judge of that kalf and lagertha

She does not know it but the treachery and betrayal will come from the one she trusts most at Hedeby…

Kalf puts up a convincing front if you kill an unarmed man then you really are a coward

So, she takes time to embark on this voyage with her family, such as it is… and she finds herself in a new situation with a new man who is infatuated with her!

Not a happy family trip It's such a fine day  I think I'll join you and show you your new land Lagertha is impressed at least a little

 

Ahhhhh and then there is our friend Torstein…. why is he so anxious and excited to go on this voyage that he can not wait for spring to arrive and would be willing to go in a snow storm if need be? Well, Torstein’s reason is a bit different than the others. While one would assume that his reason is that he can not wait to raid and fight, that is not his main reason for wanting our ships to sail so quickly?

torstein and his problems

As I did mention, it has been a long cold winter and Torstein spent it warming a few too many blankets? This should be a good lesson and reason to listen to those who preach moderation in all things, even sex!

two women carry my child

two women carry my child

Sometimes no one can believe just how ignorant Bjorn is of certain things  Is that possible

Sometimes no one can believe just how ignorant Bjorn is of certain things. He asks, “Is that possible?”

rollo's solution marry both of them take one as wife the other as concubine that will settle the matter

rollo’s solution marry both of them take one as wife the other as concubine that will settle the matter

 

or kill me

No that is not possible, they hate each other and both want to kill me!

Really, No one is so happy to see our boats finally as Torstein is!

thorstein can't wait for the boat to sail and take him with it away from his problems

problem one problem two

 

There are many others excited about this voyage as well. Usually, the voyages are looked on with some great sadness by much of the village as we must watch our men and our shield maidens leave for battles and fear for their safety until they return to us. This time is different though. This voyage will take many families across the sea to this new place of England. It is with much excitement, and yet a heavy heart that I will sail as well! I will go on this voyage to England to see Wessex, but I have promised Siggy that I will return to her. I would never think to so totally abandon her here in Kattegat and I feel immense sorrow that she would not join me in this journey.  I do understand, though, such as the way things are with her and Rollo for now.  It breaks my heart to leave her, but we have talked it over and it was she who suggested that I take this chance to travel. I think she will feel some better knowing that one of us is with Rollo, watching out for him?  Rollo was reluctant about my coming at first. He suggested that perhaps it would be best if I stayed here with Siggy? I know that while he refuses to admit it, he still cares for her and worries about her welfare.  I have made assurance to him that she will be fine, and it is better this way. She needs time and space from all of us for now. 

those left behind this time families went too to settle the promised land leaving for england

This is part one of a two part review. The next part will continue with our arrival in Wessex!