811 AD, a family, isolated in their home, deep in the woods a few days travel from Birka. They are poor. The hunting and fishing has been bad for some time, and the father, Joar, takes the desperate measure of going on a Viking raid. Joar does not return for a long time, and the family starts to fear he never will. Runa, the oldest daughter, takes over her father's chores in his absence. She misses him dearly and nourishes a tender hope that he, once again, will return to them. But in her heart somehow she knows the suffering of the family has just begun. There is something in the air, something in the water, the wind and in the soil. Runa is becoming aware of something vile, something dangerous out in the forest. One day when she is out hunting she finds a bleeding man, a warrior, almost unconscious. She brings him inside and the family tends to his wounds. As he heals, she realizes he is sent to protect the family from an approaching evil. And he brings news of her father.