Leif wakes up and finds himself in Mariam’s room, where she had him brought after finding him in the snow. She tells him if he wants to kill himself with a lighting strike, the iron rod she’s holding would attract the lightning better than his head. He tells her he wasn’t trying to kill himself, but doesn’t think he can explain what happened. He sees books on her desks and comments that he’s never seen one before. She says it’s a book of ideas, and when he asks “Whose?” she responds “Mine”, and that her life’s goal has been to journey to all the great centers of knowledge, including Constantinople. When she coughs again, she tries to pass it off as nothing, but Leif notes that the Greenlanders have a name for that kind of cough – being “squeezed by a ghost.” She explains she wants to go back to Constantinople because they have good doctors there. Leif leaves, but looks at his cross again as he walks away from her home.
Freydis is in the temple. Gudrid comes to see her, but won’t step all the way into the temple. She explains that only those who talk to the gods are allowed inside, as the temple must be kept pure. Freydis counters that in Uppsala, all are welcome to the temple, and Gudrid reminds her they are not in Uppsala. Freydis tells her that no one can own the gods.
The refugees are working at the forest camp making and packing weapons onto the boats for their next raid. Harekr announces to all that Freydis is pregnant, and that this is a gift from the gods and a promise for their future. Everyone cheers.
In Novgorod, Harald tries to buy a boat, but the owner isn’t interested in selling. Harald instead works out a deal where he will use one of the ship’s cargo holds and provide the crew in exchange for use of the boat. The owner, Gestr, will fill the other hold with the slaves he’s taking to sell.
Back in Jomsborg, Freydis is working with the young warriors. In the crowd, a young girl is mimicking her moves with a stick. Freydis notices and calls the girl, named “Hrafna” (which means “raven”) over, asking her to show what she can do. Jorundr objects saying it is forbidden. Only those who are descendants of “The Skuld” can fight, and only after they have completed a ritual journey to the boneyard. Freydis points out that, like Hrafna, she has no ancestors there, but she was welcomed, and claims the ancestors of Jomsborg for herself and all others, including Hrafna. They then spar briefly. Freydis disarms Hrafna after a few exchanges, and praises her for her good skills. Jorundr and Gudrid are not happy.
Leif talks to Harald about his plans for avoiding the Pechenegs on the trip to Constantinople. Harald explains they will start now, while the river is frozen, and by the time they get near the Pechenegs, the ice will have melted and there will be high rapids they can ride, allowing them to stay on the river and not have to portage across land, which is when the Pechenegs usually attack. The two then go find Kaysen and Batu, the men who were running the fighting arena. Harald offers them a job as fighters on the journey. Initially skeptical, they agree to join the crew. Baku tells Harald where to find a guide to the Dnieper River. The man, Kurya, is in jail, and turns out to be a Pecheneg. He is blind, but says he’s run the route so many times he knows every part of it in his mind. Harald offers to get him out of prison and asks what it would cost to have him serve as their guide. Kurya replies, “A coat.”
In London, Godwin speaks to his betrothed, Aelfwynn, and gives her a beautiful brooch. She wonders if it is from Sussex. He explains he has nothing left from Sussex because it was all taken when his father was convicted, and he was left only with his father’s ring as a reminder of his family’s disgrace. He tells her he wants to let go of his past and focus only on their future.
Hrefna’s mother comes to the temple and yells for Freydis. Hrefna has gone off into the woods, and her mother is worries something terrible has happened. Freydis questions Jorundr, who is at the gate, about what happened, and he said Hrefna wanted to know where the boneyard is. Freydis gets angry at him for letting her go, even though he knows it’s a dangerous journey, but he points out Freydis was the one who encouraged her and gave her the idea to go. Freydis takes off after Hrefna.
Godwin has the body of the dead assassin hung in the streets. After overseeing the hanging, Godwin leaves the balcony he was watching from, but Emma stays a few minutes more. She sees her serving women, Aelfwynn and Gydha, as they come across the hanging body, as Aelfwynn is very visibly distressed by it.
Leif goes to Mariam’s room. She shows him an astrolabe she’s working with and explains how it allows for navigation calculations to be made. After looking at some documents and books on her desk, he asks if she could teach him reading, mathematics and how to use the astrolabe. She says it would take years. He remarks that they’ll have several months on the trip to Constantinople, and he’s found a way to get her there.
Kaysen and Batu are unsure about having a Pecheneg as their guide, as he could guide them to the places where his people will attack them. He counters that he can show them how to avoid those places, and tells them that it was the Pechenegs who blinded him. Yaroslav’s friend, Vitomir comes to the boat with a young servant carrying an elaborately decorated chest. Gestr looks at the chest greedily. Leif then shows up with Mariam and a chest of her books and belongings. Harald isn’t sure that they need a frail woman on their trip, but Leif thinks she’s exactly what they need. As Yaroslav sees them off, he comments to himself “A prince, a slaver, a blind Pecheneg, a woman scholar, two con men and a noble, on a boat on a sled. What could go wrong?” and then crosses himself as horses begin dragging the boat over the ice-covered river.
In London, Emma is taking a bath. She asks Gydha to leave, and tries to obliquely asks Aelfwynn if there’s anything upsetting her or that she wants to talk to Emma about. Aelfwynn says there’s not, she’s just been a bit distracted and won’t let it happen again. As Aelfwynn leaves the bathing chamber, she runs into Godwin in the hallway and is clearly nervous about something.
Freydis goes to the boneyard, where she sees some blood on one of the plants She calls out to Hrefna, who responds. Freydis finds her in a small cave. Hrefna explains there was a boar, but she was able to hide from it. She has a cut on her leg, however. Freydis leads her from the small hiding place and they are quickly greeted by the boar. Freydis tells Hrafna to run. The boar charges at Freydis and she is knocked over, but was able to stab the boar with a spear at the same time, killing it.
On the river, the boat stops so they can all eat, and Gestr gets his slaves out of the cargo hold. Leif tells Mariam those are Gestr’s cargo, not his. One of the girls in the hold won’t come out, so Gestr drags her out, and it’s clear she is dead. Her sister, one of the other slaves, is devastated. Gestr digs a hole in the ice and dumps the body in the river. As they eat, Vitomir’s servant suggest they should say a prayer for her. Mariam agrees and asks the other slave girl to say one. When she finishes, each member of the party separately says “Amen,” including Leif.
Freydis bring Hrafna back to her home, much to the gratitude of her mother.
Aelfwynn goes to her chambers, where she finds the dead man’s head on a table, causing her to scream. Emma is there, and questions her about the man, saying she knows Aelfwynn recognizes the man because Emma saw her when she found the man in the street when he was hanging, but when she gave Aelfwynn the chance to admit she knew him, she said nothing. Aelfwynn asks Emma not to tell Godwin if she admits the truth, as she’s afraid Godwin would leave her. Emma is surprised to learn they are a couple, and gets Aelfwynn to reveal the man is her brother. Aelfwynn says she didn’t know he was in London until she saw him hanging. Emma accuses her of lying, as the man had been in the chapel the day he tried to poison Emma. Aelfwynn points out that she had her head bowed, and again pleads with Emma not to tell Godwin.
Freydis goes exploring the forest a bit more, and finds a monument with several graven wood statues of the gods, including one she identifies as Odin. She thanks Odin for guiding her to Jomsborg.