having now spent some time adventuring in the border kingdom, Conan has at last made his way to Cimmeria. Before long he comes to the attention of two men, one who can see him from afar, and the other who knows immediately who he is. They are two of his kinsmen, though the youngest is about 10 years Conan's junior. He's also jealous of Conan's taking part in the sack of Venarium, which is spoken over campfires still. The older man is not jealous however, but callow and hateful towards Conan's time spent adventuring in the south. But kin is kin, and they offer to take Conan back to their hut while he is in his homeland.
The youth spends some time asking questions of Conan's adventures, Conan telling him and his father of the glories of the south. Of sea battles and cavalry charges thundering across the plain. The adults remain unimpressed, and begin to talk about things happening more locally. Several people at a steading were found butchered, They had been gnawed upon. Among them was the younger man's betrothed.
The following day, Conan helps his kinsmen move their stead down into the valley. Winter is nearly upon them and they need to get the cattle down from the mountains. After a days labour they have a party, after the Cimmerian fashion. News comes that three families have not yet arrived, fearing that the same monsters who attacked the steading may have also attacked these kinsmen. Conan and several others make plans to go searching.
While this is going on, the Vendhyans and their new Vanir guides are slowly making there way through Cimmerian territory. Their destination is Ben Morgh, and with the delays that Conan has had to contend with they may just beat him there.