Mikandra Bisumar is useless to her father: she carries the curse of infertility that plagues the Endri people of Miran. Forced to work in the hospital to pay her duty to her proud nation, she dreams of becoming a Trader, one of the people who bring great prosperity to Miran. To her surprise Iztho Andrahar, from the city's most prestigious Trading family, has agreed to take her on. That is where her troubles begin.
Her father is so angry with her that she has to leave her home. Worse, the Andrahar Traders have been accused of smuggling. Iztho has disappeared and the business license suspended.
Mikandra has nowhere to go, except try to help Iztho's brothers prove their innocence.
In her last meeting with Iztho, he mentioned getting married to a woman from neighbouring city-state of Barresh. Iztho's brothers know nothing of this, and think she is crazy.
Going to Barresh by herself while never having left the country is probably not the smartest idea, but she's desperate for the family's licence to be restored, because without her job, she'll be homeless.
In Barresh she finds strange and creepy people who can read minds and who know things about the Endri people that can both solve their fertility problems and tear apart the ancient foundation on which Miran is built. Iztho had found out these things, which someone is trying to trying to keep secret. This is where her troubles really begin.