When two quistrils from the Citadel accost a young woman and Grayvle and Heldrick pull off a rescue, one of the quistrils escapes. All the quistrils of the Citadel are now bound to learn of Heldrick and Grayvle’s continued existence and to set as a top priority the goal of capturing them.
And Grayvle was injured during the rescue. Fortunately, Heldrick and the woman, Estrienn, are able to keep Grayvle alive long enough to get him some better medical attention. Unfortunately, Estrienn wants to remain with them and join in their fight. But Heldrick and Grayvle are themselves renegade quistrils: stronger, faster, and far better-trained than any non-quistril, let alone a mere woman. She will only get in their way.
Yet Heldrick has underestimated a female once before. He doesn’t intend to do so again. As time passes and Estrienn proves her intelligence and competence, he feels vindicated. He remains bothered, however, by Estrienn’s refusal to tell them who she really is, where she’s from, or what she was doing outside after curfew on a cold winter’s night...and by whether to include her in what turns out to be his most audacious scheme yet.