Malta discovers she is pregnant again, after suffering multiple miscarriages. She gives birth to the child after she is kidnapped and nearly killed by men who wish to sell her to the Duke of Chalced. She escapes with the child to the liveship Tarman and names him Ephron after her grandfather. Ephron's health is so poor he is kept alive only by the efforts of Tarman. His parents are informed that the only way he will live is if Tintaglia is able to heal him and guide his changes.
Phron is a resident of Kelsingra. His health, although stated to have previously improved with Tintaglia's visits, has heavily declined: he can hardly breathe and is only capable of ingesting liquids and very soft foods. When they touch, Fitz accidentally performs a Skill healing on him, which restores Phron to full health. Phron is delighted and immediately asks for crunchy food.
When Tintaglia returns to Kelsingra, she is outraged to discover Phron's changes, which occurred without her permission. Phron defends Fitz's actions.