It is a peaceful time in the capital city of Adia, one of the richest regions in the northwest of the Royaume of the Lady. Taine, Lady of the region, has kept taxes low and spirits high; the gem trade is going well, and there is little menace to threaten those who dwell within Lythium's walls. The Guard, captained by Lady Taine's eldest daughter Lyss, finds itself with just enough to do, protecting the mining villages and the few castle-towns that manage on the slopes of the mountains. Her younger daughter Eileen, the Heir, is kind, compassionate, and wise beyond her years—she shows the promise of being a monarch much like her mother. This is the stage: a town prosperous and peaceful, in which royalty, magicians, and the Church are engaged in a friendly game of spy and counterspy, each one content with its share of the power and the peoples' affections. It is a good time, and a good place. What could possibly go wrong?