The folk gather for the launching of the expedition. There are five fairly small-size longships (suited for the river trip) which are gathered on the South-east end of Manhattan island. Two are funded and manned by Eystein the Innocent of Raudarbank. Two are funded by Bryggjafael and manned by their own and neighboring clans - including Syfjaourholur and Tjaraholt. One is funded and manned by Vigfus the Proud.
Poul and Kjartan both give speeches to the men on the eve of the expedition.
After the speech, the Brygjafaellers meet with their recruits from other clans. There are eight men from Syfjaourholur: the three brothers Lief, Finn, and Arnor -- and five huscarls. There are only four men and two women who show up from Tjaraholt: Brom and his cousin Harkel, two huscarls (named Gudmund and Svarflami), and the sisters Silksif and Lofthaena.
A week into the journey, they stop for a break and Poul invites the clans to a day of games. There is axe-throwing, barrel-lifting, swimming, and other sport -- building some camaraderie between the Raudarbankers and the other clans.
During this time, a group goes out to make contact with the nearest Lagakin village. Skallagrim finds a hunting trail which they are following back towards the settlement, when someone sees on a nearby river a procession of forty canoes. They go down to meet with them, and as they reach the river's edge they can see that this is a group of refugees from recent fighting. Three canoes go to meet with them at the bank. The leader describes that they were attacked by Redaxes, who came "as drops of rain".
The scouting party hurries back to camp to warn them of the nearby Redaxe army. Before they arrive, however, men on watch at the camp spot a horde of canoes approaching. Poul decides to take the longships out into the middle of the river to defend against the incoming army, leaving a skiff on shore for the scouting party.
The scouting party piles into the skiff and are reaching Poul's boat just as the redaxes are coming into bow range. The passengers begin to pile into the ship as arrows fly in, starting with Silksif and Lofthaena. Suddenly, the skiff lurches and two straight horns stick through the side: one yellow and one blue. Suddenly there is thrashing as they can see that it is some sort of huge water serpent. Thorfinn manages to get on-board and holds out a spear to Kjartan to steady the skiff. However, as Arnor tries to climb up, the skiff lurches and he falls into the water only to be sucked down.