As the Lord Rahl, prophesized leader of the lands above, Richard must balance his inner need to find the woman he loves and his requirements and obligations to defend his people from the evil descending down upon them from the North. He works out his next steps amidst the backdrop that somehow everyone that has ever known Kahlan, except for himself, has suddenly completely forgotten everything about her, especially that he had been married to her.
In trying to convince his friends Cara (the Mord-Sith) and Nicci (the Sorceress) of Kahlan’s existence, he has only been able to successfully show them that he may be nothing less than delusional. He’s the only person that knows that Kahlan is a living, breathing person, and as such, he is the only one that can find and save her.
He goes off in search of something that will prove to everyone that Kahlan is real and it takes him to the witch Shota; a witch that had sworn to kill him the next time they met. But the meeting is different; he is welcomed with open arms and an embracing kiss.
He asks her for help and finds that the price of that help is the Sword of Truth. He fears that without the sword, his abilities will be severely diminished, but he thinks of his lost love. With the witch holding the answer to the riddle of her disappearance, the bargain is struck – the sword in exchange for her information.
Cara listens to what the witch says and is unable to accept that Richard has given away the Sword of Truth for a few words and vague ideas. He had received no revelation in those words and now Richard was without the sword.
Now swordless, Richard feels naked and defenseless. The only thing he learned from the witch that is of any use is how the demon that is chasing him knows where he is and how to find him. It is following his special gifts, those magical powers to read Prophecy, wield the Sword of Truth, and sense others around him. So, he now knows that if he uses his gifts, any of his many gifts – in any way – the beast will know where he is.
Now his quest is even more difficult: Kahlan is missing and nobody believes she even existed; a magical beast is hunting him to kill him; Jagang’s armies are closing in to destroy the D’Haran armies defending D’Hara and the Old World; And now… everyone believes that Richard has lost his mind.