Woll doesn't know whether Pallast is in league with Tanga, so he orders Nashias to defend the northern border with his knights, leaving their fort empty as bait. A local lord watches out for the fort; unfortunately, he's not as cautious as the Ramona Knights. Fort Bilguna is captured by Pallast troops due to the lord's carelessness. Woll sends Lee to prod their secret ally, the king of Sanseberia, into fulfilling his part of the bargain by attacking Pallast from behind.
More Northmen begin streaming into the Tau Mountains in an attempt to reach the Teba River. The Tau Free People fight a guerilla war against them. Even joins his comrades, Sharmian following after him, determined to help. It turns out that the leaders of the three bands of invading Northmen are all indebted to Evan's father Georg. He negotiates with them, learning that they're only aiding the Skenians to return a life-debt to the son of a guard who set one of the leaders free from prison thirty years ago.
Even is positive the Skenians are lying to the Northmen, but he needs time to prove it. The Northmen agree to an exchange of hostages to insure a ceasefire. Sharmian volunteers to be the hostage from the Tau side, especially since she has proven herself by fighting alongside them. Even allows it only on the condition that she marry him as soon as he carries out his mission. He begins calling her his wife from that moment on.
During his investigation, Even finds out that the "prison guard's son" is a fake. Earl Farott had learned of the life-debt and used it to manipulate the Northmen. Once they hear that, the Northmen turn on the Skenian navy. Together with the Kiltansas ex-pirates and Delfinia's warships, they bring about a complete victory.
Woll and Lee join their army on the border with Tanga, while Even fetches his bride. The ceremony is held immediately. The king and queen are forbidden to attend, as usual, but they hide in the trees outside the reception in the hope of getting to see the happy couple in their wedding finery. Woll awards the Policia Plain to General Dora, who bestows it upon his daughter as a wedding present.
The battles on both the Tanga and Pallast fronts turn into drawn-out sieges, with the enemy firmly entrenched in well-provisioned forts.