Javik goes off the war. While he’s away the old witch, Grazhda, tells Allana she will be Queen of Gorgos and tells her Tao Shan has the key to her true identity. She consults Tao Shan who confirms she is of the royal house of Gorgos.
Allana encounters Grazhda again, and the witch shows her visions which almost convince her to seek the throne of Gorgos. She tells Tao Shan of this encounter, and he offers to help her learn about Gorgos.
Grazhda finally convinces Allana to take on the quest of regaining the throne of Gorgos, but she demands current payment of Grucheaux’s sword and a later payment unspecified but ominous. She explains to Allana what she must do to complete the quest, and Allana recoils from the task. She confers with Tao Shan again and his advice convinces her to take on the quest. She leaves the village with gold from Grazhda and Tao Shan to help her on the way.
Javik gains glory and gold in the war but returns home to find Allana gone. He’s dismayed when Dana tells him she doesn’t want him to follow her. He’s also promised Tao Shan another year of training. He begins the training, and Tao Shan gives him a bonus by letting him in on the secret of a magic powder (gunpowder) and the weapon called a hand cannon.
A raid on his village produces a bonus for Javik in the form of a large war dog, Mordah. Mordah’s master is killed in the raid, and Javik claims the huge animal. With the help of a villager who knows about training dogs and a potion from Grazhda, Javik turns the dog to his service.
Margan returns to the village and tells Javik of Allana. Javik is shocked that she owns a bordello, but it does not diminish his love for her. He vows to go to her as soon as he’s finished with Tao Shan.
While he trains with Tao Shan, a promiscuous village girl, Polla, seduces him. Javik continues the relationship because he wants to learn how to please women, anticipating his marriage to Allana. Polla becomes pregnant, and Javik ‘does the honorable thing’ and marries her.
Once more war calls Javik away from his village to a border fortress high in the mountains. He encounters Sigurd there, and the two renew their friendship. Using knowledge of gunpowder he obtained from Tao Shan, Javik manages to destroy the enemy’s siege machines. The siege is lifted, but the fortress is now snowed in for the winter. While waiting for the passes to open in the spring, Javik and his friends develop another use for the powder by working with the fortress blacksmith to develop hand cannon.
When the passes open, Javik returns to find his village devastated by a plague. The disease claims his wife, Pola, but his son, Garen, survives. Goldar’s wife is also a victim, and he proposes to Dana, Javik’s mother. Now free of his obligations to Pola and Tao Shan, Javik is free to go after Allana.
In the meantime, Allana has used her body to bribe the bandit king Vargon for safe passage through his lands. Vargon reneges on his promise and captures Allana. He forces her to marry him.
Javik’s story continues in the next book, The Queen of Gorgos.