After three years of studying with the Empress Bykoda, Jemeryl has learned all that the elderly sorcerer can teach her and is ready to return to Lyremouth. However, before she leaves, Bykoda reveals a grim secret - an oracle of death, and asks her to perform one final assignment. Jemeryl must take Bykoda's talisman to a place of safety. Failure will mean complete destruction not only in the present, but also the past.
While in Tirakhalod, Tevi has been working as an officer in Bykoda's army. It has been a difficult time for her, living in a land where those who cannot work magic are treated as insignificant. Only Jemeryl's love has made life bearable. With the return to the Protectorate drawing close, she hopes that the worst is over. However, somebody is after the talisman, and that person is willing to commit murder to get what they want.