All Edrun and Jina ever wanted was to get married, raise children and have a long, happy and uneventful life in their native village, at the very last walking together hand in hand through the Gate of the Sixth Path into eternity. But the Gods of the Kalion Islands have other plans for Edrun and Jina. Dark forces are stirring up strife and discord that threatens to explode into destruction even more terrible than the chaos of the Temple Wars, still a bitter memory. Neither Edrun nor Jina alone can stop that. But together...?
Edrun and Jina travel to the Kalalutorm Citadel of Amronulu, where they're greeted like long-lost relatives and offered the hospitality of the house for as long as they want. Now accepted as Lords of the Gathering, members of the ruling aristocracy of the Kalion Islands, Jina begins to heal rapidly but Edrun, plagued by questions and doubts, becomes morose and taciturn.
To help jolly Edrun along, an expedition to the nearby Forest of Rabti where they can spend a few days hunting, drinking, and chasing milkmaids is suggested by friends. Once there, they're invited to spend the night in a stone ring sacred to the ancient Forest God but are ambushed and Edrun captured by Lord Garin, a chieftain. Garin has heard that Edrun enjoys the favour of the Gods and wants him to join with him in a war to re-conquer the wide lands his people once ruled without rival. This alliance would involve Edrun marrying Garin's daughter Taren...