Aurelio awakens in Edvin’s house after a few days recuperating. He is grateful for the villagers’ assistance and offers to help with the farm’s daily chores as well as teach the children as a form of payment. Edvin agrees so long as Aurelio promises not to impose his faith on their family.
Eliasz begins the spring by making a batch of spring-brew beer, while Edvin and Flavius collect their abundant early-spring harvest. As the first few weeks of spring pass, Eliasz notices that business has become very slow.
While bathing in the river on a mid-spring evening, Flavius sees a boat approaching from downstream. As the boat comes ashore, Flavius talks briefly with the boatman, a River Blooded man from the River Queen. The man is looking for the village tavern. Flavius points him in the right direction and runs to Edvin to tell him of the traveller.
The traveller, a musician and gambler named Stanko, enters Eliasz’s deserted inn. He strikes a deal with Eliasz to provide music and games in his tavern, with an option for Eliasz to start selling his beer on the River Queen. Edvin and Flavius enter the establishment shortly after. As they carry on their conversation on the porch, they notice a lot of villagers entering Tomas’s house. Edvin says he will investigate the matter while Flavius and Eliasz stay with Stanko.
As Edvin enters Tomas’s house, he is greeted with a inn-like atmosphere. He quickly finds many of the Starzy and suggests they ban the traveller from the village. His peers don’t share Edvin’s view, but instead become interested in the new traveller and his games. Most of the clients in Tomas’s newly-founded inn leave for their usual hangout in hopes of music and gambling.
As Edvin returns to Eliasz’s inn, he finds Flavius enthralled in games of chance. Frustrated with the situation and the Starzy, Edvin confronts Stanko on the tavern’s porch in the dark of the night. He intimidates the young River Blooded into leaving the village and never coming back, but his coercion falls to deaf ears. Instead, Stanko tells Edvin to leave him be or else.
Now furious, Edvin goes home to fetch his bow. At home, Aurelio sees the fury in Edvin’s eyes and tries to calm him down. Edvin pleads for the holy man to talk to Stanko and to make him leave. As they arrive at the inn, Edvin sees that Stanko shares Aurelio’s faith. Edvin casts Aurelio out of his home and finds Eliasz to have a private discussion about Stanko. A heated discussion between the two ensues, after which Eliasz agrees to end his cooperation with Stanko with regard to his tavern.
Meanwhile, Flavius returns home, to find that their storage has been robbed, Edvins daughter tells him that two large men broke in, and her brother scared them off and chased them into the forest. Flavius took his axe and shield that were hidden under the floorboards and ran after them into the forest.
In the snow he found Edvins son wounded and unconscious. The two men attacked Flavius trying to surprise him, but instead were defeated by the young Legionnaire. One of the men was knocked unconscious with a broken foot while the other ran away nursing a broken nose.
Flavius was cut with a knife in the skirmish, but did not even notice it. He quickly realized that the attackers were Stone Blooded mountain men, and he tied one up. After he carried Edvins son back to the house and retrieved the healer Greco to tend to the boys wounds, he returned to the forest to fetch the defeated mountain man.
Edvin returned home to find the healer taking care of his son, and bloodied axe and shield on the floor of his house.