While traveling to Ravenhurst, Sir Ahlan, a Michaeline knight, and his companions encounter a woman, Nancy, who has been beset upon by brigands. Ahlan comes to Nancy’s aid, driving off the thieves, and escorts her to town.
She claims to be a sword master for the Duke of Argentos, who lives in the castle outside of Ravenhurst, but the story Nancy tells of how she got separated from her companions and attacked by bandits raises many questions about her. Ultimately, Ahlan suspects Nancy of being a spy and plans to expose her in open court. But unbeknownst to the knight, their fates are intertwined and she is critical in retrieving the next Aglari.