The year is 340 AC. The current summer has lasted for seven years, and while harvests have been bountiful for some time, maesters of the citadel unanimously agree that only a few short weeks separate the realm's sun-drenched gardens from a brisk, short autumn. A twin-tailed comet has sprung up from the horizon and is hurtling towards the Sunset Sea in the West, while in the East, the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms lays dying in her chambers.

Where countless armies and assassins have failed, a summer sickness is slowly succeeding. Though originally troubled with little more than a cough, Queen Daenerys Targaryen is now slowly dying in the Red Keep, only a decade after the untimely death of her husband and nephew, King Aegon IV. While the Seven Kingdoms prospered during their reign following a decisive victory in the War For the Dawn, the queen's impending death leaves Westeros on the brink of collapse for the first time since the War of the Five Kings.

In the Stormlands, Jon Targaryen, the eldest son and legitimized bastard of Aegon Targaryen, plots in the ruins of Summerhall. On the island of Dragonstone, the younger, trueborn son of the king and queen, Rhaegon Targaryen is making preparations for his coronation. As lowborn are wont to do, eyes on the white-hot comet making its way across the sky have lead to several theories for its importance. Southerners say it falls to mark the death of Queen Daenerys, while Northerners proclaim it is the "Sword that will Slay the Spring", an omen of a bitter winter yet to come. All throughout the realm, this lord and that lord whisper that it is white for Jon's sigil or Rhaegon's pure blood, though its two tails have not gone unnoticed by either side. There are whispers of war, and as Daenerys grows sicker, these whispers are becoming louder.