Franconia, 1812: A young woman named Madleen is brutally raped by four deserters, led by Gerald. Her baby also falls victim to the men. Her husband, who returns severely injured and traumatized from the war against Russia, is unable to help her. On the contrary, he is a burden to her, drinks and assumes that she herself is to blame for the rape because, for example, she sometimes wore her hair loose or did not dress morally in his eyes. Due to the fact that he is missing a leg and has constant panic attacks, Madleen is also heavily involved with his care.
The villagers, who witnessed the rape, turn away from Madleen completely. Everyone, except for the wise neighbor Gertrud, who had already been ridiculed by everyone in the village, no longer speaks a word to her and avoids her. When Madleen gets to know Gertrud better, she learns that she belongs to a pagan religion that honors nature and deals with nature spirits. Gertrud, with the teachings of her cult, tries to take away her grief and find pleasure in life again. Gertrud becomes a mother figure to Madleen. Madleen is enthusiastic about the teachings but discovers, in one of Gertrud's books, dark magic legends and spells that tempt her. She would love to take revenge on her tormentors. She delves more and more into the occult spells and learns to communicate with a "superbeing". Gertrud strongly advises her not to get involved with this being, because the superbeing wants a sacrifice for every magical act. BUT MADLEEN WANTS REVENGE.