Vallebrion is one of the old places -- a forest where the old and new worlds lie side by side. Clara has grown up walking its shadowed paths and green glens, and one day the man she takes as husband will be Master of Vallebrion and the mysteries that have been forgotten by the temple's Teaching. Then the peace of the forest is shattered by the arrival of two men. One is a southern lord intent on winning Clara's hand, and the other is his prisoner: a man marked as an outlaw and outsider, tortured and near death. One of these men could be the ruin of Vallebrion and the secrets it protects, while the other may hold the key to help Clara save the forest.