"You're mistaken, Norseman; that was made by my father, not a mile from where I stand. My kin called him Tiw, the god of justice and war. My father put that charm around my neck the day I was born, and I've never been apart from it." Hwithryth paused to check again up and down the corridor, but found it clear. "I have a plan that will free you, Kjalr of Skaggerak, but it will take some careful working, so pay close attention. The church has sent a new Justiciar to Cirencester, and today he's to meet with the commander of the guard. I've reason to believe that he'll convince him to treat unrepentant heretics more harshly, so tonight the guards will come to your cell to torture you.
"What you must do is claim to have seen God and repented; you'll tell them that you had a vision of Jesus on a cross of lilies, and that He brought you to this land so that you might serve 'a good woman, pale and strong.'" She smirked just slightly for but a moment, before again becoming solemn. "It's very important that you don't budge from these convictions; not once, not for anything, no matter what they do to you. Refuse food and drink, cry out for God, rebuke your gods and ancestors until they're convinced. When they bring you to me, you're as good as free. Do you understand?"
The good judge nodded. "Lead the way, commander."
When they reached the barracks, Alexius dismounted his steed and carelessly dropped the reins, entering without so much as a look to his thrall, but Wilmot picked up the reins and led the horse to wait out the rain under a nearby tree as if she'd been expressly ordered to do so.
"Forgive me for not introducing myself in turn, commander; my name is Alexius, Justiciar of the cross and the crown." the judge said, removing his outermost cloak that had become saturated in the rain. "When I set out from London, a courier told me the strangest tale. A cathedral in Gloucestershire was attacked by Vikings, but before it could be plundered utterly, your men came to fight them off. I heard in quite vivid detail, commander, how the barbaric Norsemen were flayed apart into a raven's feast and their ship set alight so that they could not retreat."
Alexius folded his cloak over his forearm, tone oddly light. "Quite a victory, if it's not just a rumor."