Trapped in the deadly Valley of Perdition, Richard's worst fears come magically to life and threaten to kill him. Enduring powerful and disturbing visions about those he holds dear, Richard is forced to make choices that test his will, tempt his sense of right and wrong, and take him to the brink of death. Meanwhile, the world's most powerful sorceress, Sister Nicci, plots to murder Kahlan, who leads Zedd, Cara and the new Seeker, Leo, on a quest to find Richard. During their long journey, Cara's deepening feelings for Leo bring her to an emotional crossroads. Reaching the Palace of the prophets, the group ask for Richard and the Prelate, realizing her chance to fulfill the new prophecy, lies to Kahlan and pretends to fetch Richard. When Verna questions her intentions the Prelate reveals that she would rather let Richard die in the desert and keep Kahlan hostage until the threat from the keeper was dissipated via sealing the palace thus preventing escape. Kahlan realizes something is wrong and with Verna's help, escapes to the desert where Richard is startled to find that his visions weren't real. Nicci arrives to kill the Mother Confessor but in the final battle, Leo sacrifices himself to protect Kahlan, Richard conquers his fears and escapes the Valley of Perdition, and Sister Nicci is destroyed by the combined efforts of Richard and Zedd.