Beowa is one of the last of a dying breed. Once a powerful and important landsman - a Thegn of Beornica as was, no less - he is now a wandering sell-sword, a black-haired killer without pity, a murderer of Christians and a terror in his true form. For even though the Beornice are men, when the anger falls upon them their bodies shift into those of their ancestors, the giant black bears of the forests and the hills, mighty beast lords whose fury is boundless and strength unmatched. Such barbaric creatures could not be countenanced in the Northumbraland of the Christians, and - led by the usurper Eadwine - the purge of of all that remained of the ancient werbera in the north ensured Beowa's fate was sealed. Even so, he and his kind had power still, ensuring many escaped this persecution; and whilst some remain embittered and bemoaning their lot, Beowa hungers for vengeance and lends his unnatural power to those that would use it against the Christians - for the cross has many enemies, and he would make himself chief among them.