Antia, princess of the twin continents of Kamalant and Komilant, is surprised by a visitor to the palace of her uncle the King. Lady Sofi has come for her husband Chief Hamrab, to invite Antia to visit their desert island of Roshan.
Antia does not want to go, nor does she want the marriage that her aunt the Queen is arranging for her with the Chief's son. But Antia's tutor Eskoril persuades her to make the journey and to write to him of all she sees and hears in Roshan.
The sailing ship is slow, Antia's nurse, Nan, is miserable in the heat, and the town of Lohat in Roshan is small and simple. Antia is nonplussed to see the simplicity of Chief Hamrab's house and the room set aside for her and Nan. The humble and fiercely loyal people of Roshan and their Chief confuse her. Antia will have nothing to do with Jodril, the Chief's son, but he makes friends with Antia's nurse; meanwhile Lady Sofi is kind, showing Antia around Lohat and the market, and saving her from a runaway beast of burden.
Eskoril's reply to Antia's letters is curt, asking about the rest of Roshan. She is confused, but asks Chief Hamrab to arrange for her to travel with a caravan, to see more of the desert. Jodril is set to be her guide.
The open desert and a small oasis affects Antia more than she is willing to admit. She is caught in a sandstorm, and awakens in a village at the next oasis by the Great Dune. Dimly she remembers, as in a dream, someone bathing her in cool water, and another pool where the water seemed on fire. Jodril is relieved to find her alive in the village, and they resolve to be friends; but he later reads her diary and destroys pages describing her dream.
Antia stalks off, climbing to the top of the Great Dune, where she briefly meets the Sandwriter, a mysterious old woman.
In spite of her...
(The entire section is 506 words.)