There are certain things in the world that are real and others which belong in the realm of minstrels' fancies. Elsabeth and Brother Hieronymus quickly find these lines becoming blurred when they accept a job to escort a youth named Maerten and his guardian to the Navarrese village of Checy. It is said that a powerful wizard dwells in the wilderness nearby, and Maerten is seeking him out in hopes that his magic can reveal the truth about his past. Despite her skepticism, Elsabeth finds herself unable to refuse the boy's request, and soon she and Hieronymus are drawn kicking and screaming into the tale of a destroyed kingdom and a long-lost heir.
Along the way, Elsabeth struggles to balance her growing affection for the boy in her charge with the knowledge that they must part ways when they reach their destination, and the reality of the disappointment he will face when he learns that rumors and tall tales are seldom what they seem.