The Raven God's vessel, a possessed raven, is dead. According to the agreement between the people of Vastai and the Raven God, their ruler, the Raven's Lease, must now sacrifice himself to empower the Raven while it incubates in a new egg. The Lease's Heir, his son Mawat, returns from his military post at the border to find that his father has vanished without being sacrficied and his uncle claims to be the new Lease. It's supposed to be impossible to usurp the Lease so Mawat is certain something is very rotten in Vastai. Another god, Strength and Patience of the Hills, tells the story of Mawat's revenge intermixed with its own history to Mawat's faithful retainer Eolo. Only Eolo senses the doom descending on Vastai.