Civil unrest threatens to disrupt Pevana's yearly Summer Festival. The wealthy merchant class works with the reform-minded priests of the King's Theology to prepare for war in the south. Old Ways Temples burn. Priests harass citizens in the cobbled streets. For Donari Avedun, Prince of Pevana, it is not just a revel in ruins, but his city, his crown, perhaps even his life. To do nothing ensures losing even the semblance of power; to act risks open rebellion Donari knows he cannot win.
Donari overhears something during the duel of words in the poets' competition, a highlight of the Summer Festival. The dueling poets, Talyior Enmbron and Devyn Ambrose, risk their lives with their impassioned words while Donari realizes life is not always about winning, but rather doing what one must, regardless of the consequences.