The city of Canluum lies close to the scarred and desolate wastes of the Blight, a walled haven from the dangers away to the north, and a refuge from the ill works of those who serve the Dark One. Or so it is said. The city that greets Al' Lan Mandragoran, exiled king of Malkier and the finest swordsman of his generation, is instead one that is rife with rumour and the whisperings of Shadowspawn. Proof, should he have required it, that the Dark One grows powerful once more and that his minions are at work throughout the lands. And yet it is within Canluum' s walls that Lan will meet a woman who will shape his destiny. Moiraine is a young and powerful Aes Sedai who has journeyed to the city in search of a bondsman. She requires aid in a desperate quest to prove the truth of a vague and largely discredited prophecy - one that speaks of a means to turn back the shadow, and of a child who may be the dragon reborn.