Belgarion and his fellow travellers are brought to Mallorea. There Belgarion meets Kal Zakath, the Mallorean emperor bent on destroying the Murgos' royal family. Gradually, Zakath and Garion become friends. When a sudden plague spreads, necessitating quarantine, the questing party escape the city so as to continue their journey. In escape, they are joined by the jester Feldegast (actually Belgarath's 'brother' Beldin in disguise), with whom they approach Ashaba. Problems arise when they confirm the report of demons under the Demon Lord Nahaz, who has turned the sorcerer Urvon insane.

Reaching Ashaba, Garion is tricked into believing that he sees Zandramas and his son meeting with Urvon and charges into the throne room. Beldin, on seeing Urvon and his man Harakan, assumes his true form; this starts a battle with Urvon's forces, which ultimately results in Harakan's death. Nahaz faces the group of sorcerers and the Orb, ready to fight; but when Eriond comes to stand with Garion, the Demon Lord flees, carrying Urvon with him. The group then continues east. Travelling through the demon-infested countryside, and seeing horrors such as women impregnated by demons (the births usually resulting in the mother's death), the group encounters Zandramas, who attempts to coerce Ce'Nedra within killing distance, until Poledra, Polgara's mother and Belgarath's wife, forces Zandramas to retreat.