While war rages in her Western homeland, Tilla, the bastard daughter of House Kent is far away, safely cloistered as a ward of the King in Lightspire. She's best friends with the Princess, treated like nobility, and is even given a spot at the prestigious University, where only the Kingdom's finest are educated. And yet, she finds herself unhappy, haunted by memories of her beloved brother, Jax, and plagued by a deeper sense of uncertainty, of not fitting in. Her boyfriend, Zell, who is now a recruit for the City Watch, puts on a brave face to hide the pain of leaving behind his Zitochi identity, while Princess Lyriana, stripped of her role as Mage, has begun rebelling against her conservative upbringing: drinking, partying, and hooking up with random boys. Then, Tilla returns to her quarters one night to find the cold body of her roommate. The school and the police are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but Tilla doesn't buy it. And despite the urging of just about everyone in her life, she can't let it go. Tilla's hunt for the killer plunges her deep into the city's underbelly, a world of shadowy cults, forbidden magic, and a conspiracy to destroy the crown from within.