Lord Daerus of Shae, twin brother to Dia (now an Imperial Princess), returns to his ancestral home filled with regrets for his lost love and guilt over his behavior in the Imperial Palace. The Grand Duchess is sadly grieved that he seems to have grown away from her and will tell her little of how he spent his time away from home. More alarming to Daerus is Lord Loraed’s mysterious ailment … and whatever is going on in His Grace’s stables?