The King's Cavalla Academy has been ravaged by the Speck plague. The disease has decimated the ranks of both cadets and instructors, and even the survivors remain sickly. Many have been forced to relinquish their military ambitions and return to their families to face lives of dependency and disappointment.
As the Academy infirmary empties, Cadet Nevare Burvelle also prepares to journey home, to attend his brother Rosse's wedding. Far from being a broken man, Nevare is hale and hearty after his convalescence. He has defeated his nemesis, Tree Woman and freed himself of the Speck magic that infected him and attempted to turn him against his own people. A bright future awaits him as a commissioned officer betrothed to a beautiful young noblewoman.