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Known as 'The Unready', Athelstane, a Saxon who claims royal blood, is a lazy, indifferent person. He is, however, the person that Cedric chooses to ascend the throne and regain power for the Saxons. He is also the person that he wants Rowena to marry, even though this despicable man is indifferent to her.
Athelstane does not prove his valor in battle, but is knocked unconscious at the end of the fighting. Everyone assumes he is dead, and they proceed to take his body back to his home for burial. During the trip, he is bizarrely "resurrected from the dead" since he has never died. In the end, Cedric accepts that this man will never be strong enough to ascend to the throne and Athelstane accepts that he will never marry Rowena.
Robin of Locksley is really Robin Hood, the legendary figure from tales of antiquity. Deprived of his lands and earldom, Robin decides to become an outlaw. He collects a band of loyal men who rob the Normans whenever they can and share their plunder with the poor. History and legend show him defying unjust laws. In the novel, he is shown coming to the aid of the Saxons in their fight against the unjust Normans.