Kileean O'Tamman, recently elevated to the rank of Master First within the mercenary army known as the Brotherhood of Freeswords, has accepted a contract to be the head of the guard force for a caravan attempting to be the first in a generation to make the dangerous trek between the Known Lands and the distant nation of Marcashenth. The perils of this journey across The Waste are plentiful. Lethal heat during the day, sub-freezing cold during the night, and not a drop of water to be found save that carried by the travelers themselves.
Worse yet, tribes of nomadic raiders who somehow manage to live in that vast, empty wasteland will prey upon any and all who dare attempt the crossing, attacking without warning and killing without mercy.
Kileean knows these dangers all too well, as he is one of but a handful to have survived the last known attempt to make that voyage. But unlike that previous disaster, the responsibility for defending the merchant train falls squarely upon his shoulders. And worse yet, the owner of the caravan, who will naturally be along for the trip, is none other than his betrothed, Anatha Fal Maru.
Kileean must use every scrap of knowledge he owns, every skill he has acquired, every resource at his disposal, to carry out his contract, or be personally responsible for the death of the woman he loves.