Survival isn't everything. Tristan and Elisena are mortal, and Nimir can simply wait for them to age, to die--and then overwhelm a defenseless Calandra. Much as they dread it, they must take the battle to Nimir, into his stronghold of Channadran, at once. They are burdened with aid they cannot refuse--Polassar and the highly suspect Reynaud insist on coming along--and help they urgently require but may not be able to secure. They seek the tower of Am Islin, hoping to enlist the aid of Magister Ambere. The journey there, aboard a spell-bound iceberg, nearly costs Tristan’s life. Ambere first refuses them, then relents and offers his birds as guides for them. His daughter Welslin Fateweaver gives Tristan a strange gift--a small stone which she claims is the heart of a goddess. Led by Ambere’s eagles, the fellowship crosses the Winterwaste and enters Channadran. Strength, resolve, loyalty, all are tested. Issues of trust are raised--and not only against Reynaud. As possibly the weakest link in the fellowship, Tristan is tested continually, and if Nimir cannot break him physically, he may manage to strike him in other, less obvious ways. Then, within a vast volcanic crater, a wizard faces his destiny at last. As Thomas, Tristan's cat Familiar says, living happily ever after will be hard work--for some.