Prince Cain doesn't particularly appreciate being torn from his lover and sent from his warm homeland to the southern realms of ice and snow. Soon-to-be Queen Calisa is less concerned; at least until she discovers that Cain is still pining after Samaren, the lover that King Gabriel, Cain's brother, has imprisoned to force Cain into the marriage. However, this realisation comes amid growing fears about an Eastern Empire rising in power. Both parties are urged to unite their kingdoms against this threat. But this is thrown into turmoil by a complex trap laid down by Gabriel to murder his brother, and take Calisa's kingdom with it. Cain weaves a web of lies to prolong the betrothal (and with it, his and his lover Samaren's lives) that is only complicated by Gabriel's magic, which keeps Calisa oblivious. More and more people are drawn into this, and Calisa and Cain become more and more estranged. After suffering in prison, Samaren manages to escape. He seeks Calisa's protection, and she gives it despite growing feelings for Cain. With Samaren's help, Cain manages to break through Gabriel's spells and tell Calisa the truth. Reconciled and friends once more, they marry with the understanding that it is a purely political arrangement - something that Samaren realises, too late, was exactly what Gabriel had planned.