Following Hrothgar's funeral other thanes start to arrive at Herot to elect a new Jarl, leader of the Shieldlands, including Lagathorn, the fierce Rate and Scorann, who, along with Slean, is captured by bandits. Aware that Bayen was not killed by the troll Beowulf realizes that the murderer was a skin-shifter - a mud-born able to take on human form. Breca's wife Lila, who runs the smithy with daughter Vishka, tells Beowulf that Bayen argued with iron smelter Tarn, who points him towards the steward Varr, though both prove to be innocent. Eventually Beowulf unmasks the skin-shifter but believes that he has been instructed by one of the thanes to cause dissent.
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