The weeks since Jewel Markess ATerafin has been acclaimed ruler of her House have not been peaceful; four assassination attempts have been made on her life, and one of the most important members of her House Council has been forced to retire, leaving a seat empty at a time when she requires trusted allies. The war in the distant South has ended; the armies, victorious, have returned to Averalaan. During the victory parade of the Kings' armies, the fifth assassination attempt occurs--in full view of the Ten, the Kings, and thousands of spectators. To survive, Jewel takes to the sky on the back of a winged cat; she returns to the Terafin Manse, leaving demonic destruction in her wake, the demon itself in pursuit. In the forest behind her manse, she has the power--barely--to stand against the demon; she does not have the power to destroy it.