Bakari is the netkoleh, ruler of the Ega empire and the living embodiment of the gods. When his eldest son and heir falls ill and dies, Bakari drowns in despair. He decides that the gods are nonexistent and bans the empire's religion. He expects the people to rejoice at being "liberated" but talk of rebellion soon begins instead.
In the north, in a long ago conquered kingdom, the second queen of the empire is sent to deliver the news. Her father, the king, wants to bargain with the netkoleh but she and her siblings know the man can't be reasoned with. Their religion was the last bit of dignity th Ega had left their people. To defy this decree will bring the wrath of the netkoleh down on their lands and hopefully the path to freedom.
Meanwhile, the south is grappling with their recent occupation. The untried leader must balance the needs of her people with the demands of the Ega. The increasing pressures may not only break her but her land as well. In the end, a rash decree by a distant ruler may be the least of her worries.
The bonds of family and fealty will be tested. The strength of nations' faith will be strained. And the fate of the entire empire will rest in the hands of a few.