Deserter on the run Malik emerges from the swamps of Plaiden seeking only shelter, food, and the time necessary to take the chill from his bones. But after a barroom brawl lands him in trouble with the local authorities, he flees to the mountains with two orphaned children who have the power to heal. Pursued by the vicious Father Ivory and his Nightshades, Malik and his charges become the center of a grassroots movement that quickly blossoms into a full-fledged revolution. Their problems are compounded when news of their exploits draws the attention of Malik's former captain, a swordsman of legendary prowess who will not stop until Malik and his followers are dead. As the final battle approaches, Malik must face both his inner demons and his former master in a duel that will determine the fate of the free people of Miscony.