Life in Otter Village is governed by the changing seasons and the will of the Goddess. Trebbi is held in high regard by her community. Guided by the goddess, the village plants, harvests, and trades with its neighbours. But when strangers arrive by boat in the midst of a storm – on the same day the village leader is found murdered – it brings a time of change for Trebbi, Dru, and the other villagers. Trebbi and Dru must work out who killed Peku while the village listens to the Goddess to guide them to a new leader, and Trebbi must listen to her heart about the visitor Aleuks.
Trebbi put a hand on Dru's shoulder as they left his father's house and ambled along the path which led to the shore. "Thanks," he said. "I needed to get out of there for a while."
"Anyone would," she agreed. They walked on in companionable silence. The earlier rain had stopped and the wind had died down a little – enough that they didn't consider taking shelter – but it was still whipping the waves into white peaks and rattling the tree branches. Trebbi pulled her fur hood a little closer around her face as they turned the corner and started down the slope to the beach. Suro's little skin fishing boat was there, drawn well up above the high-tide line, and they were able to look out through a gap in the rocks, south and west across the waters. The next island along, sometimes visible, was hidden by mist and the dimming light of the setting sun.
"What do you think happened?" Dru asked at last.
"I don't know,"
Trebbi said, and then, hesitatingly, weighing the value of honesty over being tactful with the grieving relations, "There was clearly violence. Even a bad fall wouldn't crush a skull like that."
"Who would do that, though?"
Trebbi turned away from the sea and looked into her friend's face. "Someone who was angry with him? Someone who thought life would be better if someone else led the village?"