For Firethorn, service in the Dame's household provides a more tolerable existence than that of most drudges. But when her old mistress dies, Firethorn is forced to seek refuge in the Kingswood. After a year of solitude she emerges, indebted to the god who saved her life, and blessed, or cursed, with uncanny abilities. On Upside-Down Day, when the lord of the manor drags the plough and his wife dresses as a peasant, everyone goes masked and couples with whom they will. On that day, Firethorn is chosen by a great knight. Such liaisons mean nothing, but Sire Galan will not give her up, despite threats from his powerful relatives. And so begins Firethorn's career as Galan's camp-follower or 'sheath' as the army marches to war - an insecure, despised, dangerous situation for any woman, especially one who has made many enemies . . .
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