Prince Linden of Ardaul struggles daily to pull his country into the modern age by encouraging education and tolerance. But his brother Edward, the malicious King of Ardaul, delights in thwarting his efforts, and long years of fighting wars and solving conflicts have taken a toll on Linden's body and mind.Weary to his very soul, Linden vacations at his cousin's manor in an attempt to rest and recuperate. There he meets an alluring young half-Elven bedslave named Alasdaire, and his numb heart responds to the exotic Halfling's loving personality. But all too soon their tempestuous romance is shattered by betrayal and death. Can their newborn love overcome separation and pain?