The story begins at the Palace of the Prophets, where a funeral is being held for Nathan and Ann, both of whom died while sister Verna and Warren, now freed from Rada'Han, were traveling with Richard to break down the barrier between New and Old World. Upon returning from the funeral sister Verna discovers that the ring of the Prelate is at the center of the large room, wrapped in a spell that did not allow any sister to get to it, despite all, in turn, have tried. The sisters invite Verna to make an attempt, who succeeds and becomes Ann's successor. Incredulous Verna confided to Warren she does not know what to do about the presence in the Palace of the Sisters of the Dark.
In the meantime, Richard is at Aydindril and suffers an attack by mriswiths, but is saved thanks to Gratch, who can sense the presence of the creatures; realizing that they need allies Richard decides to go to the embassy of D'Hara to claim the loyalty of the troops as the new Lord Rahl. On the way into town gives a silver coin with the symbol of the Palace of the Prophets to a little girl who, with her grandmother, sells cakes with honey and is recognized by them as the Seeker. They promise not to reveal his identity. Shortly afterwards, Richard clashes with Galtero, who is a member of the Blood of the Fold and is saved only thanks to the intervention of four Mord-Sith, Cara, Raina, Berdine and Hally, and two personal guards of the Master Rahl, Ulic and Egan, who the swear allegiance.
Richard also learns from them the nature of the special bond that exists between Lord Rahl and all the D'Haran: a spell cast almost three thousand years ago by an ancestor of Richard, which involves a pact where the D'Haran protect Lord Rahl by force of arms and in return Lord Rahl protects all his subjects with the power of magic. The only requirement for the bond to work is that the D'Harans recognize the legitimacy of the title of Lord Rahl. Richard and his escort go to General Reibisch, the man in charge of the D'Haran army in Aydindril, to gain their loyalty and they succeed only through an attack of mriswith who burst into the room killing several soldiers and Hally, one of the Mord-Sith. The attack gives Richard the opportunity to kill the mirswith by dancing with the spirits, which convinces the D'Harans he is the real Lord Rahl. The general recognizes the authority of Lord Rahl, thus giving Richard control of the army.
At the Nicobarese's Palace in Aydindril, Lord General Tobias Brogan, assisted by his sister Lunetta, who through her gift is able to identify lies, investigates the death of the Mother Confessor. Among the ones being questioned is Sanderholt, the cook of the Confessors' Palace, whose lies are discovered by Lunetta who figures out that Kahlan is still alive. Also, they question the old lady and the little girl that Richard had bought cupcakes from, who demonstrate a knowledge of magic greater than expected. The old woman suggests that the Mother Confessor is alive and protected by a spell. The old woman gives Brogan the money received from Richard telling him that in the city there is a magician powerful enough to cast a spell of that type. Brogan gives orders to his subordinates to question the two by all means to prove that they are servants of the Keeper.
He then decides to go immediately in search of the Mother Confessor to kill her; but is stopped by the words of his sister which explains that the spell that protects Kahlan probably makes sure that the seeker can not recognize her. While deciding what to do Brogan is summoned to the Confessors' Palace by the new Lord Rahl, along with all delegations in the Midlands. At the Confessors' Palace Richard dissolves the Midlands giving everyone an ultimatum: either unite under D'Haran Empire willingly or be conquered. His words anger Duke and Duchess Lumholtz. Richard also announces that Galea has already joined D'Haran empire and he's going to marry the new queen of Galea; after which the assembly is dissolved with the caveat that none of the dignitaries will leave Aydindril until they surrender to D'Hara. Richard speaks to Brogan and his sister and demands they stop their interrogations that take place in the palace of the Nicobarese. Richard reiterates that the Mother Confessor is dead and emphasizes the fact that Nicobarese would do well to join D'Hara.Brogan gives his knife as a sign of confidence in Richard and asks in exchange for a silver coin. At the end of the meeting Richard, sends Gratch to give aletter to Kahlan, describing his resolutions to dissolve Midlands.
At the Palace of the Prophets Verna and Warren go to visit sister Simona, a sister of the Light confined in the infirmary because she is considered crazy; she discovered that the Emperor Jagang, who is coming to visit in Tanimura, is the one in the ancient prophecies is called the dreamwalker; she also realize that there are many obscure points in the circumstances that led to the death of Annalina and the Prophet Nathan. She decides to investigate.
Just out of the assembly Tobias Brogan uses his sister to cast a circle spell on the Duke and Duchess Lumholtz, which would make them walk around a midden heap near the city. Brogan, Galtero and Lunetta go to the couple. Galtero holds down the woman and Lunetta freezes in place her husband after Brogan rips her dress down to her waist, making her topless and exposing her nipples to the bitter cold. Brogan grabs the woman's left nipple, stretches it and cuts it off to give it to Lunetta, who uses it to cast a spell upon the young woman, making her obey Brogan. Under Brogan's orders, Lunetta heals Duchess Lumholtz left breast, leaving it without a nipple. Brogan then gives Duchess Lumholtz to Galtero, who rapes the woman on top of the midden, while Brogan kills the Duke, making it looking like a mirswith did it. After Galtero finishes raping the Duchess, Lunetta weaves another spell on her using the coin Richard gave, making her irresistible to Richard. Brogan also has the Duchess paint herself a nipple where her real one is missing.
Brogan decides to run away from Aydindril to pursue the Mother Confessor, because he sensed that she hides under the identity of the queen of Galea. He returned to the palace discovers that the soldier to whom he had given orders to torture the old lady is dead and the woman and the girl have fled; Brogan, Lunetta prepare to flee to chase the Mother Confessor, but are attacked by D'Haran soldiers guarding the palace. They are rescued by the mriswith, who kill soldiers and Galtero knocks the mord-sith Berdine. Lunetta then casts the same spell on Berdine as she cast upon Duchess Lumholtz, binding her to Brogan's will as well.
Berdine then presents Duchess Lumholtz, to Richard who very attracted to the woman, to the point of doubting his control of his own actions, and agree to let her stay in the palace as a guest and to protect her from the mirswith if she will surrender Kelton.
Meanwhile, Warren discovers, to his surprise, to be a prophet when he pronounces his first prophecy, in which he speaks of a "false prelate" and "end the Palace of the Prophets. " Together Verna and Warren decide to go talk to the gravediggers that the Palace has hired, to find out why they were hired.
Richard is now under the thumb of the spell surrounding the Duchess Cathryn Lumholtz, is however able to organize and carry out the public ceremony in which the Kelton surrenders totally to D'Hara
Ulicia and five other Sisters of the Dark arrive at the residence of Emperor Jagang, where they discover that a large number of Sisters of Light and Dark are Jagang's, who has bent to his will using his dreamwalking. Ulicia and five sisters unite their Han to destroy Jagang.
The Emperor Jagang effortlessly defends against the attack of Sisters of the Dark because he has already made them into slaves, promising them agony if they will use magic without his direct order. He then hands over the sisters to a bunch of sailors to rape, except Merissa who he keeps as his new favorite after he kills Christabel as an example.
At the Confessors' Palace Richard manages to retire to his room for the night, in an attempt to escape the tempting Duchess Lumholtz. Soon after she enters his her room, apparently eager to have sex with him. Richard realizes that something is wrong and, by appealing to his magic, sees the nature of the spell cast on the Duchess and realizes that she is about to stab him and barely manages to escape the attack. A mirswith enters the room and cuts Cathryn in half mriswith, telling Richard that he came to save him because he is a "skin brother." Baffled Richards observes that there is something strange about Cathryn's left nipple. He licks his finger and rubs her left nipple, which gets erased, making him realize that Cathryn was missing her left nipple. He senses that this fact is tied to the spell that has changed the behavior of the now dead Duchess.
He has Egin roll up Cathryn' corpse in a carpet and take it away. Lord Rahl calls the three Mord-Sith and orders them to take their tops off. This reveals that Berdine, the Mord-Sith who threatened him with Agiel the previous day, has the same mutilation. Trying to save Berdine, Richard lets her hit him with the Agiel, in order to prove that the magical link with the House of Rahl is the most powerful spell ; actually the magical bond with Lord Rahl prevents Berdine from killing Richard if he does not try to defend himself. Eventually the woman destroyed by the pain of magic, begs Richard to kill her, but he saves her, erasing the possession spell. Stunned by the altruistic behavior of the three Lord Rahl's Mord-Sith swear their loyalty again.
For Aydindril Richard enters the Wizard's Keep to search for anything you can help defeat the dreamwalker; Berdine goes along. Following the directions of a mriswith, which again does not attempt to kill Richard, but rather helps him and continued to call him "the brother of skin", they arrive in a room in which they find the mummified body of a magician and a diary. The two take the diary and return to the Confessors' Palace.
The Prelate Verna wakes up in a cell and learns from Sister Leoma that his imprisonment has a specific purpose: Emperor Jagang wants to find out if it is possible to break the magical bond that protects those who are faithful to the Lord Rahl, this sister is Leoma been authorized to torture Verna, through the Rada-Han, to use her as a guinea pig; Verna is also said that Warren has never left the palace, but he is locked in the accommodation of the Prophet and lives as a recluse.
Richard gets a visit from the commander in chief of the Keltan army who says he is very concerned about the fate of his country, as, with the death of the Duchess Lumholtz, there could be bloody war of succession. So the general asks Richard to appoint a king for the Keltons and he responds by choosing Kahlan as Queen of Kelton. To the astonishment of Richard the general knows that Kahlan is the Mother Confessor and also the Mord-Sith are aware; Richard realizes, then, that the spell that protected Kahlan has dissolved and decides to send his soldiers to look for and to make sure she's okay.
Kahlan and Adie are conducted to the Palace of the Prophets and locked in a room awaiting the arrival of Jagang; Meanwhile, Brogan begins to suspect that what is happening to the Palace of the Prophets does not follow the will of the Creator and, simultaneously, to show signs of mental imbalance.