Shale Flint has skills needed in a world in which water is worth more than gold, yet he can't control his own destiny. Circumstances force him to continue helping the devious rainlord, Taquar Sardonyx, to create rain, even though Taquar is using his control of water to further his own lust for power. Terelle has been forced to leave the Scarpen with her great-grandfather, Russet; his painting of her future has trapped her into doing his will. Russet will not give up until he has regained his status as a Watergiver lord in his homeland - but Terelle is determined to resist, no matter what the price. Meanwhile, Ryka Feldspar has been captured and taken as a concubine by a Reduner tribemaster. She discovers her rainlord husband, Kaneth, in the slave lines, but he has no memories of their time together. She is desperate to flee - but how can she leave him to his fate?