The party of treason in Ar is triumphant. After the disaster of the delta campaign Ar is substantially defenseless. The forces of Cos, and her allies, are welcomed into the city as liberators. Ar's Station, which held out so valiantly against superior forces in the north, is denounced as traitorous. Veterans of the delta campaign are despised and ridiculed. Patriotism and manhood are denigrated. Ar's walls are being dismantled willingly by her own citizens to the music of flute girls. Lawlessness and propaganda are rampant. Marlenus, the great ubar, who might have organized and led a resistance, who might have rallied the city, is presumed dead, somewhere in the Voltai mountains. The Home Stone of Ar's Station is displayed in Ar as an object of contempt. Marcus, of Ar's Station, wishes to regain the Home Stone of his beloved city, for no city can die whose Home Stone survives. Cabot is concerned with a warrior's vengeance upon sedition and treachery, and, in particular, with meeting one who stands high amongst the conspirators, a beautiful woman now enthroned as ubara, whose name is Talena.