When Oswald Forster is taken into Henry Percy's household as a squire, his efficiency and discretion as a message-bearer, as well as his newly-gained ability to read and write, gain him Hotspur's confidence, and he becomes a go-between for several very sensitive communications between the Percys and their allies. He takes part in a raid against Glendower; rescues his girl cousins, Jessie and Janet, from captivity by the Bairds; is knighted by King Henry for his loyal service; is captured by Glendower—with surprising consequences; and finally participates in the fateful battle at Shrewsbury, in which Hotspur takes his forces against the king's army.
King Henry IV faced a number of rival claimants to the throne and rebellions against his authority. The most serious menace to his rule came from a Welsh aristocrat, Owen Glendower, who aroused the spirit of Welsh nationalism and formed alliances with the Scots, French, and rebellious English vassals. The Percy family, led by the Earl of Northumberland and his son "Harry the Hotspur," aligned themselves with Glendower and marched with their vassals to join him. The 17-year-old son of the king, also named Henry, swept down on the Percys and defeated them at Shrewsbury, killing young Hotspur and thus gaining a respite from challenges to the throne.
Oswald Forster, the son of a border chieftain, binds himself as a squire to young Hotspur. After an adventure in Scotland he eagerly joins Glendower's rebellion in Wales and helps the Welsh leader's daughters escape capture. His bold actions and success in fighting in Scotland bring him a knighthood and he is by the side of Hotspur at the Battle of Shrewsbury. After his lord's death, Oswald returns to the Scottish border with an unsullied reputation as a man of high moral character and unmatched skill at arms.
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