* Tom Badgerlock, who is also Fitz Chivalry Farseer, is mourning the death of his wolf, Nighteyes, who was bonded to him with Wit magic.
* Hap, his foster son, has an apprenticeship and a girlfriend now and Tom is on the verge of a relationship with Jinna, a hedge-witch.
* Tom must teach Prince Dutiful about Wit and Skill magic. The prince is about to be betrothed to the Narcheska, a princess of the Outlander Kingdom.
* Although Tom's best friend, the Fool, disguised as Lord Golden is around, Tom feels lonely.
* The Piebalds hate people who use the witted magic and hate Fitz because he is an obstacle for their chosen to inherit the throne.
* They force the witted to join them or risk being exposed as witted. What they really want is to seize the throne and the power...
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