Seeing things that no one else can is more than enough of a burden for anyone. Drake McCarty however, finds himself thrust into the position of liaison to an alien race at the tender age of sixteen. Bole and the other exiled Royal Guardsmen are friendly enough, and the work is fascinating. However, Drake is also often required to run dull errands for the large shape shifting aliens. A two story tall glowing blue elk might be something a National Park Ranger can explain away to a frightened tourist, but for anything in a populated area a human representative is needed. Meanwhile the civil war that drove the aliens from their home-world has arrived on Earth and the conflict begins anew. Drake is just learning to cope with the fact that his life is constantly in danger when an alien pod falls from the sky. Within hours of it striking an island in the border waters between Russia and the USA, McCarty is sent to retrieve the debris. He arrives to find international tensions the least of his worries. Inside are three embers, infants of Bole’s species; desperately afraid, injured, and carrying a dangerous contagion. Military medics make two startling discoveries; the embers have imprinted and bound themselves to McCarty, and the disease that they carry is terminal.