While working at a Renaissance Faire near Silver Woods, Virginia, artist Alan Tarvos meets a young woman named Val Grey, her friend Sigrid Larssen, and Val's young cousin, Elspeth.
There is a strong and immediate attraction between Alan and Val. He finds himself wondering if they have met before, especially since her likeness graces a number of fantasy paintings he has done.
A few days later, Alan comes to the aid of a lost Elspeth as the child is accosted by a group of punks. To his surprise, the ruffians are revealed as a group of Redcaps. Things very nearly turn ugly for Alan as well, but for the timely intervention of Val and Sigrid in their kithforms as the Sidhe knight Valeria of House Scathach, and the Troll warrior Sigrid Thorsdattir, respectively. Val rewards Alan for his aid with a kiss, which unlocks the artist's memories of his Changeling past as a Satyr, and the pair's relationship in the Dreaming. He accompanies the three to Carterhaugh, the seat of the duchy of SilverWood, where he is Sained in the presence of Duke Arislan ap Fiona.
After dinner, Alan is surprised to hear Jenner speak not only of his time on Earth, but of Arcadia as well. When he asks hesitantly if Jenner has ever succumbed to the Mists, he is even more astonished when the Troll's answer is "no."
Later that evening, Alan and Val enjoy a moonlight walk that is interrupted by the arrival of the Unseelie Eshu Ysolde Nyx, who takes advantage of the opportunity to tease the Sidhe knight.
Upon his return, Raymonde meets with Lady Melisande, Duke Arislan's sensechal. Learning of her uneasiness about having to communicate with the Troll second-in-command of the ducal guard, Sir Jenner Rainwater, Raymonde suggests she appoint his ally, Count Sean MacNevin of House Gwydion, her official military advisor. She agrees, and Raymonde convinces the Duke to make it so.
Later that night, Val awakens with nightmares. Alan comforts her, and queries about the nature of her dream. She responds with recollections of a tiny, filthy cell and Cold Iron manacles. Soothing her back to sleep, he retires again himself, wondering idly about her dreams.
A few days later at Carterhaugh, Alan makes the acquaintance of Evelyn Wickham, the duchy's Sluagh archivist. Upon leaving the archives, he is approached by the Sluagh guardsman Eric Stone, who gives him a sprig of rosemary. "This is a gift from Evelyn," Eric explains. "Put it under your pillow tonight...for remembrance." Though it seems an odd request, Alan obliges.
That night, Alan dreams of a younger time, in fair Arcadia itself. On a dare, a younger Alan sneaks into the castle of Lady Sorsha, widow of the King's Warlord, Kellin ap Scathach, in order to steal a look at her beautiful daughter, Princess Valeriana. Slipping into the princess's chamber, he finds young Valeriana practicing her fencing skills. At first startled by this unexpected visitor, she soon warms to him, especially when he offers her a bouquet and tells her of the world outside the castle walls.
Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the princess's guardian, the Troll knight, Jenner Rainwater. Jenner is about to eject the intruder, when he is stopped by Valeria's pleas not to hurt her new friend. Upon seeing that his charge is unharmed, and moved by her pleas, he softens enough to leave the two alone for the space of an hour. Val gets a taste of the outside world, as she and Alan slip out to the woods, sneaking her back in before Jenner returns.
More memories of that time are revealed in the dream: Val's knighting and their first night together, as well as a battle to free her from the dungeons of House Balor (the source of Val's nightmare of the previous night).
She awakens in one of the guest rooms in Carterhaugh, where she discovers that she is one of the Sidhe. She is hurriedly Sained, and then introduced to the Seelie Court.
The four are pressed into service to find a cure for the Duke by Lady Melisande, Arislan's sensechal. Swearing the Oath of the Long Road, they embark on their quest, accompanied by their protectors: Dame Valeria of House Scathach, the Sidhe Captain of the Guard; and the Troll guardswoman, Sigrid Thorsdattir.
The first stop on the group's search takes them to the Asylum Danceclub. There, they learn from the Unseelie Eshu Ysolde Nyx that there have been strange goings-on in the Unseelie Court, as well. Countess Rhiannon, ruler of the Unseelie fief, hasn't been seen in a number of days. The official reason is that she is preoccupied with the affairs of state, but Ysolde believes that something more is afoot. The group thanks Ysolde for her help, and heads to the Blackwater Country Club, seat of the Unseelie fief of Darkwater. There, Gecko discovers that the Countess is being drugged by one of her advisors, the Baroness Alioth, and that Rhiannon is in love with Arislan. Not only that, but Val discovers the livery of House Ailil of the Shadow Court in Alioth's private chambers. Armed with these pieces of information, the motley returns to Carterhaugh to plan its next move.
Wondering if he can do more good on his own, Jamie heads to the Asylum Danceclub. He learns from Ysolde that a Redcap named Jack Black was in the club the previous night, bragging about having been part of the assassination attempt on Arislan. Glad for the clue, the Pooka returns to Carterhaugh and relays the information to his compatriots.
Equipped with forged memberships in the Blackwater Country Club (courtesy of Gecko's computer expertise), the motley goes undercover in the Unseelie Court. While Alan and Jamie cause a distraction on the golf course, Gecko slips into Countess Rhiannon's private chambers, only to discover the lady in a drugged sleep. Hearing the door open, she attempts to escape, but is surprised by the unexpected arrival of Baron Raymonde ap Eiluned. Despite Raymonde's distaste at having to deal with a Sluagh (especially after Gecko makes extensive use of Squirm to contort herself into a number of grotesque-looking positions), he agrees that they both wish Rhiannon awake and unharmed. With this in mind, Gecko awakens the Countess and makes plans to slip her out of the freehold.
Meanwhile, Alan and Jamie are having a fine time. After causing havoc on the golf course and consuming massive quantities of alcohol, they return to the clubhouse and spot two familiar faces: a disguised Val and Sigrid. The two ladies use Heather-Balm to remove the detrimental effects of the alcohol from the gentlemen (much to Alan's disappointment), and the four await the return of the missing Gecko.
Slipping through the ventilation shafts, Gecko spies Baroness Alioth conversing with a strange Sidhe. She discovers that the stranger, a Sidhe of House Balor named Lusiphur, is the one responsible for the attempt on the life of Duke Arislan. Armed with this knowledge, Gecko rejoins her compatriots and lets them know of this new bit of information.
Attempting to make it out of Blackwater with an unconscious Rhiannon in tow, our heroes are met by Lusiphur, and his Ogre and Redcap henchmen. A battle royal ensues, with Jamie nearly losing a hand to a Redcap and Gecko almost perishing on the point of Lusiphur's Cold Iron dagger. She manages to slay the assassin, and they flee, taking along Rhiannon, Lusiphur's gear, and a bound and gagged Alioth as a hostage. Managing to reach Carterhaugh, they turn over the antidote for the poison affecting Duke Arislan to Baron Raymonde (against Gecko's better judgement), and retire to their homes for some well-deserved rest.
The next day, Alan discovers a frightened Elspeth on his doorstep. The Childling tearfully reports that Val and Jenner have been imprisoned in the dungeons of Carterhaugh. Justifiably alarmed, Alan gathers Gecko and Jamie, and heads for the Freehold. Using the Gift of Pan, the Satyr distracts the guards (and everyone else in the Freehold) in order to effect Jenner and Val's release. In the ensuing fray, the heroes discover that Sean MacNevin and Baroness Alioth are members of House Ailil of the Shadow Court. The two were in fact plotting to overthrow both the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
Our heroes (aided by Val, Jenner and Sigrid) foil Sean and Alioth, and rescue a captive Rhiannon. She administers the antidote to Arislan, and the motley informs His Grace of everything that has happened. The two conspirators are taken into custody, Arislan and Rhiannon enjoy a quiet romantic interlude, and the motley retires to enjoy the after-effects of the Gift of Pan.
Interim Session Five
Following the motley's triumph, Val and Alan enjoy a quiet interlude together. While the two talk, Alan recounts the stories of his recent dreams to her. Val also learns of Jenner's long association with her family in Arcadia, and discovers that her throwing daggers are actually all that is left of her father Kellin's magical sword.
A few days later, Alan holds a party, inviting a motley of young Kithain from his art classes. When he shows a video of the events which took place during his use of the Gift of Pan (cf. Session Two, above), one of girls, a young Eshu named Raye, flees the living room in embarassment. Alan follows her into the kitchen in an attempt to reassure her. He is very surprised when she slips into a trance and utters a prophecy: "They climb the fell and cross the water/The Falcon's Son and the Raven's Daughter/Four into one/Open the way to the Land of the Eternal Sun." Having thus prophesied, a weakened Raye rouses with no memory of her visions. Concerned, Alan drives her home, leaving her in the attentive care of her friends.
Some time later, Alan takes time to discuss Raye's visions with Jenner and Val. The Satyr contends that "The Raven's Daughter" must be Val, since Warlord Kellin had earned the sobriquet "The Raven" in Arcadia, but has no idea what the rest of the prophecy might mean. Jenner concurs on the former bit of information, but even he cannot make sense of the rest. Puzzled, the three decide to wait to solve this particular mystery another day, although theories are put out.
Interim Session Six
A young Sidhe Wilder, Rowan of House Liam, is introduced to court at Carterhaugh and joins the ducal guard. He soon makes the acquaintance of a young Eshu, Darian, as well as a motley of young female Wilders: the Pooka, Serena; the Nocker, Amy; the Sidhe, Mina; the Eshu, Raye; and the Troll, Lita.
Rowan soon develops a crush on Raye. His innate shyness prevents him from acting upon it, though, even when she succumbs to one of her visions and swoons in his arms. He takes her to Ciaran, the Court Physician, and then conveys her home. A few days later, though, her friends request aid from him. It seems that Raye has fallen ill from the after-effects of the vision.
Rowan and the girls arrive to find Raye quite ill. When the measures they have taken fail to alleviate her condition, they summon Ciaran, and the group spends the next two days nursing her back to a semblance of health.
While in delirium, Raye tells of her mother's death by Cold Iron at the hands of a mysterious assassin. Her words are confirmed by a dream of Rowan's that night, in which he sees the unmoving form of a female Eshu. Next to the body is a crying baby who looks very much like Raye.
The next morning, Raye's fever has broken, and although she is still weak her condition seems to have improved. Ciaran prescribes rest and good food, and he and Rowan return to Carterhaugh, with the other girls promising to care for Raye.
Interim Session Seven
At Carterhaugh, Rowan and Darian are summoned by Valeria. The Captain of the Guard sends them to the Asylum Danceclub to deliver a package to the Unseelie Eshu Ysolde Nyx.
After delivering the package, the two young Kithain are surprised to hear Ysolde inquire, "Is Raye all right? I haven't seen her lately." When Rowan relays the story of Raye's recent illness, the two are even more surprised to hear the Unseelie wish their friend a swift recovery.
Ysolde, noticing the look of amazement on their faces, explains that she was a good friend of Raye's mother. She confirms the story of Raye's mother's death, but adds new information: it was as she left Ysolde's that she lost her life. Darian and Rowan consider this information, and Rowan asks Ysolde if she knows of any means to help Raye control her visions. Unfortunately, Ysolde answers in the negative, and the two bid her goodbye, returning home.
Returning to the Hikawa Temple to check on Raye, Rowan is distressed to hear that she has been tormented by repeated dreams of her mother's death. Worried, he seeks out Evelyn, having learned that the Sluagh archivist has a great deal of experience with prophecy and the Art of Soothsay.
Evelyn's Tarot reading points Rowan to the Queen of Swords, the Magician, and the Hierophant for help. Surmising that the Queen of Swords represents Valeria, he seeks out the captain. She takes him to a colleague of hers, a Mage and fellow investigator (that being her mundane occupation) named Aidan Ryan. Aidan, in turn, directs the two to his friend Dr. Keighvin Mordrid, a Mage and healer.
Keighvin arrives at the Temple with his colleague (and Aidan's sister), a nurse named Alyssa, in tow. Met by Rowan, he examines Raye and determines that her mental shields are in need of repair. With the aid of Alyssa and Rowan, he helps Raye repair her shields, improving her condition immensely. To Rowan's amazement and pleasure, Raye gives him a heartfelt kiss and shyly confesses that she likes him. Blushing, he reveals his feelings for her as well.
That night, Rowan dreams of his past in Arcadia. A knight of House Liam, he volunteers to help escort his cousin, Lady Sorsha, to her wedding to the King's Warlord, Kellin of House Scathach. Despite Sorsha's initial reluctance, between Rowan's counsel and Kellin's kindness, she soon accepts, and even comes to enjoy, her marriage.
More memories of Arcadia are revealed: Rowan's attendance at the naming ceremony of Kellin and Sorsha's daughter, Princess Valeriana; and the dark day when Kellin lost his life in battle with King Ironheart.
Interim Session Eight
Alan invites Evelyn over for dinner, and learns much about the quiet archivist. In turn, he tells her of his younger days, and the two learn that they have more in common than they first might have thought.
The next day, Alan is invited over by Val, Jenner and Sigrid. Val explains to him that the three have decided to ask him if he wishes to share a special bond with them. At first worried that she might be proposing matrimony, he is vastly relieved when Jenner reveals that the three wish to include him in their oathcircle. Before the Balefire in a secret room of the house, the four swear the Oath of Clasped Hands to one another. As the oath is intoned, another pair of smaller hands clasps Jenner's sword: Elspeth's. Alan surmises that becoming part of an oathcircle means the Childling is starting to grow up, and gives her a key to his house. "After all, it's better than you having to wait on the doorstep until I show up." Alan is then presented with a key to the oathcircle's freehold, and the right to use it at need.
Meanwhile, Rowan spends a quiet afternoon with Raye at the shrine. As they walk in the garden, he shyly confides that he dreamed of the two of them having known one another in Arcadia. Much to his surprise, she reveals that she has had a similar dream. "Could it be that way again?" she asks. Rowan's answer is a kiss, and the two enjoy a quiet romantic interlude.