The country of Lescar was carved out of the collapse of the Old Tormalin Empire. Every generation has seen the land laid waste by rival dukes fighting for the High King's empty crown. Tathrin's parents sent him to the distant city of Vanam to escape the recurrent skirmishes. He meets Aremil, another Lescari, whose parents have their own reasons for sending him so far away. These two young men cannot forget their homeland. Can they persuade other exiles with Lescari blood to help relieve their kinfolk's misery? If they can persuade Branca, the down-to-earth scholar, to share the ancient lore which she has studied, then this mismatched band of commoners, merchants and nobles can begin plotting a revolution.