At first, this story seems to have little relationship to the two before it. It's not till the very end that it's revealed that it takes place in Dalemark – but during near-prehistoric times. The society portrayed is very primitive, perhaps analogous to Bronze Age tribes in Britain. When most of the men of a village go off to fight a war against some blond invaders, the pale, fair looks passed down to one family's children by their mysterious, foreign(?) mother make them a target of fear and superstition.
They escape their threatening neighbors, bringing only their household gods with them in a boat down the river – but these gods turn out to be more than the reader might have assumed, as they embark on a journey of danger and magic, which will lead them not only to the center of the conflict between two tribes, but to the greater threat posed to all by an evil, soul-catching sorcerer.
The narrator is a young woman who tells the story through her complicated weaving, setting her tale down in a textile coat. To her people, these ‘spellcoats' have both traditional and magical powers, and the record of her story will become essential to her story.