Wizard Simon of Navarre is a powerful ally of the evil Richard the Fair. A veteran of the crusades, Simon has a wizened hand and is so frightening to the constituents of Richard the Fair's court they call him Grendel. To please Simon, Richard offers him a one of his two convent-raised sisters for a bride. Simon chooses Alys, the clever sister, over Claire, the beautiful sister, much to everyone's surprise. Alys proves to be Simon's perfect match as she is an eager student in both the sensual arts and the spiritual planes.