But the Conqueror King is no fool, sending the Queen Mother back to Everrast to help heal her kingdom - and encourage their fine craftsmen to resume making their prized furniture that lures wealthy foreign merchants several times a year. The cunning King Sevloss anticipates adding most of the merchants' payments to his own treasury, and appoints a former knight as governor over the vanquished kingdom.
But royal plans quickly come unraveled, and soon the Queen Mother must temper her hatred of the Conqueror King to try and save him, since she knows he alone will allow Everrast's fragile recovery and peace to continue. But what to do with Queen Levinia, a dancer with diseases, who moves from one kingly bed to another - with deadly results? Or King Sevloss' three teenaged crown princes, being trained for one to take over his throne one day, when all they seem to have learned is Sevloss' bold viciousness? And then there's young Stunspiker of Malone, a young servant whose great-great grandmother was a Star Visitor, from whom he interited a mystical ability to hear distant Star Voices when he visits the Standing Stones.
And finally there's the rough Tavern Keeper Barton, whose secret identity is known to the Queen Mother as she reaches out for help to anyone still loyal to King Sevloss. Can they find and rescue King Sevloss, and then help him locate a trustworthy fighting force to help put him back on his throne? And just where will they find a beyond-magnificent, magical payment with which to hire that combat force?