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Lord of Mercia. Severely injured in the Battle of Teotanheale.
Æthelred is first seen accompanying his father for a visit to Wessex. His father collapses during wedding negotiations. Æthelred succeeds his father as king of Mercia.
Æthelflæd is charmed by his looks. After she weds Æthelred, she finds out that Æthelred is not the gentleman she envisaged.
When Æthelred wants to conquer Lunden, he forces Æthelflæd to come with him. During a Danish raid Æthelflæd is kidnapped and Æthelred returns swiftly to Wintanchester to convey the news.
He joins Uhtred in an attempt to free Æthelflæd in Beamfleot.