It is the eve of the wedding of Jarl Angrulf Starhammer of Thromholt and Yris Weeping-Hand of Reikholt. Ulfriga Cairnmaker and her cousin Kolbrun return from the wilds to attend the wedding, but meet disaster along the way. They meet Magnus Magnusson and the skald Kavri fighting bandits, in the remains of an attack on the wedding party. Yris and her party lie dead on the road; the bandits soon join them.
They bring the news to Thromholt, infuriating the young jarl. The four join his band as he sets out for revenge. They track the bandits to an old dvergi lair, where the bandit leader Draeknir mentions an allied skald before he is slain.
Yris receives a worthy funeral. As Jarl Starhammer mourns her loss, his mother speaks with the four, asking them to set out to find the skald that had aided the bandits.