Danay is an outsider on the water planet of Uma'Three. She's too tall, too thin, she doesn't have second lungs, and the water dries out her skin to the point she has to wear a reversed wet'skn just to survive.
When her Nan'Dah gives her a coming of age bracelet on her fifteenth birthday, she knows she won't get a courtship pearl from anyone. She's happy enough when the one boy she likes mysteriously returns after being gone for a whole Turn, but she isn't surprised to discover he's more interested in her best friend. That is ... until he sees her bracelet. The braid has Danay's pet name woven into it. Par'mida: 'Precious One' her Nan'Dah says. Phillip seems to think it means something different and now he won't leave Danay's side.
Something doesn't seem right. Phillip is nervous around officials and he can't answer any of her questions. And then the Emperor's fleet arrives to perform loyalty tests. Caught in the middle and branded a traitor, Danay is swept into a secretive rebellion. When her best friend is taken by the Emperor's men, Danay will have to learn that only she has the power to save the ones she loves.