While the kingdom of Ximerion is threatened at its southern border by a major power, the high king sends his two youngest sons, the half brothers Anaxantis and Ehandar, as Lord Governors to the Northern Marches where minor raids by wild barbarians are expected. Under the guidance of an old and trusted general, the king hopes to keep the young princes far from the major conflict in the south, while at the same time providing them with a valuable learning experience. The estranged half brothers are rivals, but soon they feel attracted to each other. As if this was not enough of a complication, they begin to suspect that they were set up by their own father. The result is a fierce struggle for power where the lines between hate and love become almost indistinguishable and where nothing is what it seems.