Prince Arithon, anointed heir and mage, has used guile, cunning and desperation to thwart all attempts by his half brother Lysaer to kill him. But Lysaer is driven by a curse and pursues the war despite mounting death and destruction. Now the town mayors plot to proclaim Lysaer king.
The aging Koriani prime sorceress Morriel has had a vision showing Arithon as the greatest threat to her order and she too determines to kill him. She and first senior Lirenda use the great Waystone to search out Arithon. Morriel casts a great spell intending to trap and kill Arithon, but Morriel herself is trapped within the spell until it completes.
Lysaer has locked his wife away because she no longer unreservedly supports his war. He orders that she be killed should she try to escape, and she is.
Arithon comes to Riverton disguised as a bard to steal new ships. Morriel's spell warns Lysaer and compels Arithon's men to betray him. Arithon escapes the city injured, but his captain of arms Caolle is captured. Lirenda sets sail with a fleet to intercept Arithon, taking Caolle as a hostage despite Moriell's instructions to kill him. Caolle escapes, and Moriell's spell is broken.
Arithon is hunted by Lysaer's soldiers and forced to travel through the grimward. He becomes trapped by the dreams of the sleeping dragon held captive inside. Morriel is free of her failed spell but greatly weakened. She punishes Lirenda by giving her the task of personally capturing Arithon, or being disgraced.
This report prepared by David Pearce