Jamethiel Knorth, Priest’s Bane and Dream-Weaver, has returned victorious from Tai-tastigon, but trouble dogs the Kencyrath.
There is intrigue among the Highborn. The Randir and his allies want the larger houses to decide for all nine, which would strip the Highlordship from the Knorth. At Omiroth, a senile king struggles against his venal son-in-law—but if neither of these can rule, the next in line is a mother-dominated child. Kindrie Soul-Walker is captured and thrown in a secret dungeon, a political prisoner. And a Kendar administrator, dissatisfied with the use that Jame is making of the gates, schemes against her, and then against her house and her brother, Torisen Black Lord, Highlord of the Kencyrath.
While Tori defends Gothregor and Kindrie rots a secret captive, Jame rides south to Bashti. Here she confronts an unready and presumptuous heir, a withholding and manipulative paymaster, and invisible assassins. Her formal errand, meanwhile, is to compete in martial games with secret stakes—which she fears are a cloak for a massacre, or worse.