The Illymari civil war has ended, at great cost to both the people of Illymar and the Royal Family. Now, the task of rebuilding the country falls to King Ascham Illvanin, the Usurper, and his niece, the capable Princess Tais Illvanna. Between them, they somehow have to find a way to rebuild their military and their economy, and reunite the fractured country, if Illymar is to survive the coming of Dakkadia, their mortal enemies.
Their task has been made infinitely more difficult by the flight of Tais' wayward sisters, Princess Lyrahe and Princess Chesare, who escaped from the island of Illymar in the dead of night. The headstrong Princess Lyrahe is rushing to her would-be lover, Prince Valeriad of Dakkadia, in the hope that the two of them will be married, but what price is she willing to pay to find happiness in the arms of her handsome Prince?
Princess Chesare Illvanna has her own reasons for seeking refuge in Dakkadia, for she has been cast out of the Mage Citadel of Ithram, and now seeks the guidance of the greatest Powerborn in the world: Morvandis Dhaerhan, the Mage-Lord of Dakkadia. At his side, she could potentially learn more than she ever would have in Ithram, but Morvandis' loyalties lie solely with King Madari Dhaerhan. Can Princess Chesare survive the machinations of the two most powerful men in Dakkadia, or will she be nothing more than a pawn, caught up in their schemes?
For King Madari Dhaerhan, all of his plans are falling perfectly into place. But there is still one obstacle remaining between him and his ambition of conquering Illymar, a feat which has never before been accomplished: the Mage Citadel of Ithram. Unless he can find a way to neutralize the threat of the Mage-Guard of Ithram, he knows that any invasion he attempts will be destroyed by an army of Powerborn, standing in defense of their Illymari allies. He is not without allies of his own on the Mage High Council, but will they be enough to provide the opening he needs, or will a deeper sacrifice be required?