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In the borderlands of the village Les Échelles, giants sleep and werewolves howl. Travelers must cross deep gorges to pay visit. The only strangers are treasure-hunters seeking the riches of Zahara, a drowned Crusader bride. She planted the nearby woods with rich botanicals, now the healing herbs of Irène Guéri, apothecary in these parts. When a cruel invader storms the village he brings along his shy, though brilliant alchemist, Joaquíno Durande. Will Irene join forces with this scholar, risking her profession and her neighbors’ trust, or flee to the valley? Enormous decisions await, and great danger as friends, neighbors, and even the tools of Irene’s workshop rise, enchanted, into the fray of war.