In the wake of Blight’s slaughter of Wizards on First of Summer, Astra Fairweather and her twelve fellow apprentices work their hearts out supplying Magic to the Plain folk of Wizard’s Reach. They get little in the way of rest and even less in the way of thanks. The only light at the end of their dark tunnel is the hope that the Wizard Council will relieve them before they drop from exhaustion.
But when Council relief appears, it comes with insults, veiled accusations, and attitudes than serve to enrage a Plain population already fed up with Wizards and Magic.
Worse, Magic is clearly dying: even the simplest spell becomes burdensome, even impossible ... for everyone but Astra. Her Instinctive Magic is as strong as ever — except she can’t be everywhere at once and can’t tell anyone what she can do, because Instinctive Magic is officially deemed heretical.
When word comes that Blight has resumed killing — slaughtering his way up the Mainland coast, heading for Cove City — the Council quickly unveils its plan to stop Blight, to kill Blight. Astra knows that the Council’s plan has no chance of success because she’s certain Blight is Instinctive, the same as she is: his Magic will be undiminished, even as every other Wizard on Amedia will be hobbled as Magic dies around them.