A Land Apart - Betrayal The story is set in Northumberland, and begins in 1305. Sir Walter Radulf, a knight of the realm resides with his wife Agnes and two sons, Walter (Walt), the eldest, and William, at his mar in Syhale. He also owns land at Bytilsden in the North West, closer to the border with Scotland. Due to the proximity of the Bytilsden land to the border and the lack of suitably defendable accommodation, he chooses to remain at Syhale, where his mar is t fortified, but is a greater distance from the border, offering escape to the security of Tynemouth castle, or Newcastle when threatened by serious invasion. Small incursions by invading plunderers or border reivers, he can fight off using his own troop of militia. Sir Walter's long term aim is to build a fortified tower house on his more extensive Bytilsden estate. For this purpose he requires sufficient funds to finance the build, plus the permission of the local overlord or the king to erect a fortified and crenelated dwelling. Sir Walter's father was granted these lands by Edward 1st when the young prince learned of his accession, and they were together on crusade in the holy land. Sir Walter kws he can t go directly to the king without just cause or sponsorship, so he will have to make his request through he overlord of his Bytilsden estate. In the meantime they have to contend with frequent border reiving and occasional plundering raids into Northumberland by Scottish militia. Sir Walter is a self confessed freebooter, when t managing his estates, he hires his services to local lords, using his crown subsidised troopers for personal gain, and unashamedly schools his eldest son Walt into such a lifestyle, to amass wealth for his dream home at Bytilsden. Conscious of the need to make an arrangement with the Scots, as many other local landowners have done, either by paying ransom money to be left alone, or by some other agreement of service, he responds to a request for a meeting from the young pretender to the Scottish throne, Robert Bruce. Accompanied by is son Walt, his squire, and mounted troopers for protection they journey to Galloway for a clandestine meeting in an isolated spot. During the return journey Sir Walter rescues a pretty female tavern slave from abuse, believing her to be a missing relative. This action results in a later attack by a band of robbers, who they capture and hand over to justice. Young Walt is betrothed to a neighbour's beautiful daughter Katherine, but develops an obsession, eagerly reciprocated, with the foundling relative, Freda. Returning to Syhale there is a family outing to celebrate the Michaelmas fest in the priory and town of Tynemouth, where William, a scholar at the priory, is introduced to Freda. The lad is also immediately stricken with love, but holds his piece, watching shyly from the sidelines and learning of his brother's infidelity. The reappearance of a much stronger robber band, intent on exacting a terrible revenge, for what their leader considers were grave injustices, leads to death and injury, followed by a serious decline of the already strained relationship between the family and the Prior of Tynemouth. The story follows the Radulf's fortunes and Walt's journey to manhood, as he begins to accept his responsibilities to his family and his betrothed. This volume ends around the time of the battle of Banckburn.