The Mercian Connection is a Northumbria storyline quest which is started right after finishing Ghosts of the Empire. For the past three weeks, they have been spying on an important noble to find out where they will meet Mercian emissaries.
Your first task in this quest to travel to the Roadside Camp and find the noble Tondwine. When you enter the area your companions note that the camp has eight men and three men are patrolling the area.
If Aife is with you, she will suggest that she can steal the letter for you. If you allow this you'll be able to run with Aife and "sneak" around the guards. If you are spotted by running inside the red circle around the patroling guards, a fight will start and Aife is seperated for away from the rest of the group.
If you have no interest in this fight then it is recommended to head north first and take all the herbs in the field first before you sneak into the camp. Because if you take the letter first and approach the herd, the sneaking minigame where you control Aife ends immediatly. There is a special knife on this map that can be looted from a corpse sitting against a tree.
Even though it's possible to grab Tondwine's letter during combat, you can't run away, so you should pick a good starting position by using the patrols (killing one or two of the patrolling men first turn). After the battle, grab the letter lying on the table in Tondwine's tent. From the letter you will learn that the Mercians are meeting Osred emissaries near the old Roman tower in the Swamp, which is six hours east of this camp.
When you arrive in the Swamps, you should head towards the two scouts north in the area near a campfire. A battle will start immediately and all you have to do is to kill the scouts after their turn is finished. After this, head towards the tower in the middle of the area, which should start some dialogue with your hirdman on how to proceed. You can either wait for them at the tower, ambush one of the groups on the roads or try to recruit the Mercians for your cause. In case you select to set up some traps, the hirdman who suggests it, will leave the party temporary to set them up. All other combat activities not related to this quest have be done with the remaining hirdmen or should be done before or after this quest. After the conversation, head towards the campfire to fastforward the game to the point when the Mercians arrive.
Foiling the negotiations
When the Mercians arrive, you should talk to Godwif. In case you want to foil the negotiations, any dialogue option is fine, as long as it leads to attacking them at some point. Then you have five turns to kill the Mercians before Osred's men arrive to aid them. Osred's men arrive in a group of six members and should provide the same difficulty as the Mercians.
Recruiting the Mercians
It is possible to recruit the Mercian army to your side, but it requires a lot of prerequisites:
- You need to join Quen in raiding the Scarborough monastery during Parsley Sage Rosemary Thyme and not betray her afterwards. Else Godwif has heard the story about the Mercians merchants who were forced to become bandits and were killed by you.
- You need to be the jarl of Orkneyjar before meeting Godwif.
- You need diplomacy rank 4.
- Choosing the correct dialogue options. You should be honest about your conquest plans and promise the Mercians land in case all goes well.
If they join you, when you are conquering Northumbria and attacking Eoforwic, they will help you in the battle if you help them in theirs in the poor district.
When you mission is a success, you should return to Wada for your reward.
The term false flag is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on a second party. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag for more information.