Lorien vows to do whatever it takes to serve Reshor and protect her pregnant sister, Andrixine, the Sword Bearer. Even if it means making a loveless political marriage. She learns that the game of politics and courtly manners is a harsher duty than swordplay and battle. Then Ambassador Lord Arand of Eretia comes to Reshor to make politically astute marriages to protect his kingdom against Sendorland. He has been ordered to win Lorien for his queen's grandson.
Arand and Lorien discover they have much in common and their resolve to put duty ahead of their own dreams soon becomes a torment. Arand has a gift for healing and music, but has denied both for the sake of following family tradition and serving the throne as an ambassador.
When enemies inside Reshor conspire with Sendorland to steal first Lorien's brothers and then Andrixine's newborn sons, Lorien and Arand find themselves in the middle of danger, but exactly the right place to avert total disaster. They wonder if all their sacrifices mean anything when they are both so miserable. Doesn't Yomnian want his servants to be happy?
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