These elements have sustained the peaceful people of Shaftal for generations, with their subtle powers of healing, truth, joy, and intuition. But now, Shaftal is dying. The earth witch who ruled Shaftal is dead, leaving no heir. Shaftal's ruling house has been scattered by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla army against these marauders, but every year the cost of resistance grows, leaving Shaftal's fate in the hands of three people: Emil, scholar and reluctant warrior; Zanja, the sole survivor of a slaughtered tribe; and Karis the metalsmith, a half-blood giant whose earth powers can heal, but only when she can muster the strength to hold off her addiction to a deadly drug. Separately, all they can do is watch as Shaftal falls from prosperity into lawlessness and famine. But if they can find a way to work together, they just may change the course of history.