Anaxantis, Prince of Ximerion…
Defying his father, ignoring his mother and leaving his brother in charge, Anaxantis and his small but well-trained army have crossed the borders of Great Renuvia.
His aim is to keep all aggressors — his own family foremost among them — far from the Highlands he has come to regard as his home. Easier said than done, since among the warring parties, his forces are the weakest.
Yorn still pines after the enigmatic Antybion, whose good fortune turns against him when Commander-General Meri sends him on a suicide mission at the head of two companies of convicted criminals who are as likely to murder him as follow him. The slave Lexyntas has his own problems now that his master, Thenoclon, has decided to treat him as an equal. The boundaries between respect, friendship and love are becoming very hazy indeed.
In Tyleme, the capital of Lorsanthia, Lorcko and Timishi are still debating what to do — if anything — about the war fleet that is being prepared by Prince-Regent Maurch, when they meet a mysterious group of young men who call themselves the Elder Brothers. Timishi has his doubts that Faurian, the gentle history student, is as innocent as he appears to be.
Mordauch is still chasing the last Trachian loyalists in hopes of catching and killing the last prince of the Royal House of Ynnocas.
Events turn into a maelstrom when the war between Rhonoma and Naodyma comes to a head and most of the principal actors — the undercover prince of Trachia included — converge on the same region.
Meanwhile, Anaxantis invades Lorsanthia at the head of his small army…