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oung orphan Beowulf is adopted by Hrothgar, thane of the Huskatil tribe in Herot. After years away fighting as a mercenary Beowulf returns to find that Hrothgar is dead, having names his wife Rheda as his successor - and she and her son Slean have long resented Beowulf. Reluctantly they allow him to stay for Hrothgar's wake though Slean is suspicious that his lover, healer Elvina, may fancy him. When elderly reeve Bayen is killed by an escaping troll Beowulf draws his sword and is accused of murder but, rescued by his friend Breca, escapes and saves Elvina from the troll. Rheda exonerates him, increasing Slean's hatred of him but then Elvina makes a discovery.

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