An inkeeper's son takes a dead man's armor and weapons, only to find himself enmeshed in a magical conspiracy. After his life is saved by a mysterious noblewoman named Sera, she promises him answers and more -- but Falorn soon finds himself betrayed and on the run instead, chased by Sera's father and fiance and other, unknown attackers.
Among the dead man's possessions is a mysterious, otherworldly piece of ivory with an almost-living green lion on it. The card give Falorn strength, but also brings him enemies, and it makes him part of a mysterious fellowship that he doesn't understand.
The key to understanding -- and survival -- lies with Sera. But Sera vacillates between loving and secretive, between caring and betrayal...either because of her own cards, or because of her abused childhood. And in a world where Falorn's life is threatened ever day, and in which the card he carries is drawing him into politics and war, he may not live long enough for her to tell him the truth!