Marta Frase, cousin of one of the most illustrious commanders of the Kellis Corps of Fotheringale, is serving in the 13th Army in far-away Farben and hoping to prove herself and thus repair a rift that has riven her family. When she is sent to confront bandits in the Goli Swamp, she is injured there in battle,and the trooper she loves disappears. While recovering in the mountain city of Calaria, she chances upon a map of a city far to the east she believes he was taken to, and despite the reluctance of the leaders of her country to expose themselves to unknown peoples, she sets off with two Far Scouts to try to find her love. Her cousin, Mann Frase, is notified of her quest, and feels that he owes it to the family to ensure her safety, so he gathers a force and sets off after her. For the first time they all will venture beyond Calaria and into the east .