The city of Dunholm is close to open revolt. Criminal gangs run unchecked across the canals, the city watch are brutally corrupt, the Church of the Ormorod hold sway over the king and across the sea the nation of Gallia has overthrown its monarchy and is invading its neighbours one after another. So far Dunholm has been spared by the narrow stretch of water separating it from Europa's mainland, but as the final nations opposing Gallia fall, that defense will not last forever. As Dunholm's government prepares to secure its borders a smuggler receives a mysterious delivery, sending into motion civil unrest which could leave Dunholm defenseless in the face of a Gallish invasion. Only a hired thug running from his military past, a young government aide fearful he will never prove himself a man, and a witch of ambiguous motives know of Dunholm's danger, and whether they will act upon it.