Book I of The Atlan Saga. Cija was princess and prisoner, inarcerated for seventeen years under the threat of an ancient curse.  But release brings little joy – Cija is to be sent by her mother, the High Priestess, as hostage to Zerd, vile half-serpent and general of the Army that threatens Atlan. She is to travel with him – entice him – and destroy him.  Before her journey’s end, she will be hostage, camp follower, scullion, slave – and Empress.