The story starts off with Maerad of Pellinor, a 16 year old girl, who is a slave at Gilman's Cot. She went to milk the cows when she ran into a strange man. He introduced himself as Cadvan of Lirigon and asked who she was. She responds, saying that she is Maerad, daughter of Milana, the First Bard of Pellinor before she realizes that she has said too much. Another man working at Gilman's Cot comes and yells at her for neglecting the cows and, even though Cadvan is in plain view, the man seems to look through him. Maerad is confused by this and leaves with the milk, but not before Cadvan asks her if she would like to leave the cot with him. She decides to think about it and he rests there. She does decide to leave with Cadvan and meets him later with her only possession, her lyre. Cadvan tells her that he is invisible to human eyes and makes her so as well.
They both climb over the fortress's walls and start to walk down the road. After a short time of walking, they hear an alarm go off (saying that someone has escaped) and dogs barking. Maerad is immediately afraid because she doesn't want to be caught.
Speak to me, fair maid!
Speak and do not go!
What sorrows have your eyes inlaid
With such black woe?
My dam is buried deep
Dark are my father's halls
And carrion fowl and wolves now keep
Their ruined walls.
—From The Lay of Andomian and Beruldh
Glad was the world, and golden the Greenwood
In dawn days of Ulnar, unstained and darkened
When strode mercantile Goldhand singing in sunlight,
Lord of a proud people, fearless and prescient,
Singers of Maldan, matchless in magecraft,
But master of all was Mercan the Maker:
Deepest in lore among lordly Loresingers,
Arestor's firstling, the archmage of artists,'
Tongued with the [[star speech], speller of seasons,
Singing the spring on Lir's silver waters.
Long were the days then, and bright laughter lingered
Long in the halls where the high people harkened,
Lost now in legend, lamented by Loremen
Reckoning ruins to raise the remembering.
Great grew the houses, gilded with glory
Over the mere where the melt waters murmured.
High then the heart-home, where held Mercan hearth-feast,
Golden the light on the lost land of Lirion.
-From Mercan's Quest
And from his icy throne a king
Rose from his spellbound sleep and saw
A vision of the banished spring.
A form so fair and luminous
That from his frosted eyes the hoar
Rand down like tears and, marveling,
He felt the chains of winter thaw
And years of thralldom ruinous.
Between them stood the wall of ice
And round them barren winter waste,
But each saw in the other's face
The light of summer lingering:
And then like thunder broke the frost,
The chill wall fell, and morrowless
Immortal maid and man embraced,
Their light and shadow mingling.
-From The Lay of Ardina and Ardhor
Grows a Lily on the Briar
Grows a Briar on the Wave
Triple-tongued its voice of Fire
Edil-Amarandh will save
True and false the cunning Flame
Burning in the darkest Night
False and true the secret Name
Quickened in the womb of Light
Where the Briar on the Foam?
Doth the Lily stemless stand?
Who will bring the Singing home?
Where the Harp? And whose the Hand?
-From The Canticles of Pel of Norloch