The Covenant has been destroyed and Crossroads' way of life along with it. The Masari face starvation in the depth of winter. Without Crossroads' tithes, the Basc Yata are equally helpless. In the midst of famine, Promontory and Destiny Farm prepare to conquer the valley. A secret and uneasy alliance remains the only option. Unwillingly thrust into power, HigherBrook must now trust Gria, the very person who had led the massacre of Crossroads' hunters. Another partnership proves even more disturbing. As Gria and TripStone plot to destroy Destiny Farm, what began as a fringe militia has expanded into a fullblown Yata army. Destiny Farm's meat keeps Crossroads alive, but every sale bankrupts Crossroads further and increases the risk of Basc's Yata becoming livestock. TripStone's ticket into Promontory is the meat trader BrushBurn. Each seeks to manipulate the other, but their mutual attraction and unsettling intimacy place both at risk. Unaware of the fate that has befallen Crossroads, TripStone's comrade Ghost and his pregnant wife Piri search for a home where they can raise their hybrid child in peace. But no place is safe, and Piri risks giving birth in the deepest heart of danger.