Quay is the King's magician. He wakes up one morning and discovers his magic gone. This is not a good thing! The King's prospective bride is arriving in a week and he'll be asked to cast several spells to confirm she is who she claims. And to make matters worse, there are others coveting his position as King's Magician.
He has asked for a leave of a few days to attend his "sick aunt" who isn't sick but is a healer. He arrives at her home.
He finds his Aunt Edelia ...
with her apprentice Siff,
Quay explains his quandary. Edelia hovers over Siff, directing her in the casting of spells and mixing of potions that the apprentice doesn't seem particularly adept at. Finally his aunt says he's been cursed. But she can't do anything unless she knows more about it.
Quay is in a bind. He needs his magic back NOW.
Siff offers her help. She confesses she's not much of a healer. Her family made her apprentice here. What she really has always wanted to be is a magical investigator and she'd love this opportunity to prove she can do it. Quay is skeptical (and a bit of a snob). But what choice does he have?