"Aboard the Star of Deltora with her three rivals for the Trader Rosalyn Apprenticeship, Britta knows that she has to keep her wits about her. She desperately wants to win the contest, but of course Jewel, Sky and Vashti feel the same, and of course one of them, she knows, is a ruthless enemy who will stop at nothing to succeed.
Britta is ready for trouble, but as the voyage fails to go as planned, and rumours of evil magic sweep her beloved ship, she starts to wonder if she has more to fear than simple human wickedness.
The book is 176 pages long.
Chapter 1: The Finalists
On the Isle of Tier, deep in his cavern at its centre, the King of Tier stirs. He could not tell how long it had been since he last moved. As he wills the fingers clutching the Staff of Tier to move, the wraiths surrounding him press closer, whispering "Larsett. Master of the Staff," repeatedly. The whispering is fainter than usual. The King ponders on this slowly, but then remembers that he sent some of them away, to seek out the girl he has seen in his thoughts and learn who she is, after he had sensed the beginning of a train of events that boded ill there. The King begins to relax, but then, with a tiny start, recalls that the wraiths had returned not long ago, and that he had sent them back to find out where Britta was going with the Star of Deltora. The king tries to relax.
The Staff the King is holding in his hand grants eternal life, but still its Master must eat to not waste away, and knowing this the King causes a crystal bowl to fill with sugared dates and start to eat them, despite not feeling hungry. The King remembers his past as a captain of a great ship. He does not know how long ago it was, but knows it is long enough for the girl in thoughts, Britta of Del, to grow from a little girl to a young woman and tear herself away from the bonds of home. Old memories rose, bringing with them disturbing feelings. The Isle of Tier was his kingdom, in it he was all-powerful, and he believed it was for others to fear him, not the other way round. And so it had been, until now, as Britta, his daughter, entered the Rosalyn Trust competition and is getting ever closer to sail the seas and potentially seek him out as her fierce longing to become the seagoing trader she was born to be had not lessed with the years. The wraiths, lovingly, murmured the words "Your daughter, Larsett! Bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh. Child of the Staff..." Feeling a twinge of panic, the King realises he had been careless and shared his visions with them. He orders them to be still and get back from him and they moan and retreat a little. The King worries that Britta might try to seek him out, if given the chance, but tries to assure himself that the Star of Deltora might carry her far from the Silver Sea.
Far away from the Isle of Tier, the Star of Deltora leaves Del harbour for the open sea. Britta stands with Sky, Vashti and Jewel on the deck, and her heart sings at the thought of the journey ahead. A twelve-week voyage has been planned, in which the ship will visit three islands where the finalists will trade.
Mab approaches, and tells the four finalists that they are to go with Bosun Crow below-deck to choose their cabins. To decide who will be sharing with Jewel, Sky suggests that she, Britta and Vashti draw straws. Britta is reluctant to participate, as she does not want to share a cabin and knows the drawing will likely be rigged so that she draws the short straw, but she knows she has no other choices. As she expects, she draws the short straw. Close by, Mab looks at them and smiles in amusement while Britta is positive that she has been duped, despite Sky displaying the two long straws on his open palm.
Chapter 2: The Three Ports
The finalists follow Bosun Crow to the cabins, where they are to stow their belongings. Britta realises that this is another test—they are expected to bargain with each other for the best cabin. Quickly, she claims the third cabin for herself and Jewel, knowing that it is the largest of the cabins. After she does so she sees Vashti's annoyance, and realises that the trader's daughter planned to claim that cabin while Britta, Sky and Jewel were looking at the other cabins.
Britta and Jewel place their belongings in their cabin. Jewel is amazed at their luck and asks Britta how she knew; Britta tells her that it was 'just a feeling'. They agree that Jewel will sleep in the bottom bunk and Britta on the top, for Jewel feels she is too heavy to climb on the bunk ladder safely. While stowing away her weapons Jewel asks Britta not to touch them or tell anyone where they are; Britta is offended at this, and responds that she would not wish to touch them. Jewel tries to asure Britta that she meant no insult, but before she can finish they feel the ship change course, and head above deck to see what is happening. They soon find that they are sailing west, toward the Silver Sea. Jewel is disappointed. Smugly pleased at Jewel's mood, Vashti asks her if she is afraid of the Hungry Isle and proceeds to explain that she does not need to be, as the people at the Traders' Hall in Del has a sytem of plotting its course to predict where it is at any given time so that traders and their captains may avoid it. She tells Jewel that when they return from the voyage, she may tell her people of it, to which Jewel respond that they already know of the system, and that her disappointment simply stems from the fact that she had hoped to trade on an island in the Sea of Serpents because that sea and its islands are more familiar to her. Again Vashti are smugly pleased, responding that a good trader feels at home in any port, but that a poor savage from nowhere could not be expected to understand that. The discriminatory remark causes Jewel to become furious, and she moves to Vashti in a single stride and seizes her by the throat, ordering her to watch her tongue lest she lose it. Britta cries out Jewel's name in fright. Then Mab approaches and break up the fight, scolding Jewel for her reckless behaviour and claiming that if she acted out of line one more time, she would be put off at the next port.
- Britta of Del
- Jewel of Broome
- Sky of Rithmere
- Vashti of Del
- Mab, the current Trader Rosalyn
- Kay, Mab's personal healer
- Crow, bosun on the Star of Deltora
- Dare Larsett (in flashback)
- The King of Tier
- Perlain of Pandellis
- Xen, a trader of Two Moons
- Lau, a trader of Two Moons
- Bool, a trader of Two Moons
- Master Mull
- Stassi's mother
- Stassi's father
- Thurl, heir to Tier's magic
- It takes the Star of Deltora about a fortnight (two weeks) to reach the island of Maris from Deltora.