When a battered old robot washes up on the shores of the Old Kingdom, it signals the end of a fragile alliance between the four ancient Houses. It turns out dragons are really tasty, and having filleted, boned and baked their scaly allies to the very brink of extinction, no single House can hope to win out against the other three.
Into this shaky impasse steps the mechanical man, impervious to crude weapons, magic, suspicious wedding feasts, poisoned wine, and fire of any colour, be it wild, angry or just slightly annoyed.
Each House stakes their claim to the mechanical marvel, convinced the mysterious creature will lead them to a crushing victory against the others once they teach it to fly. And breathe fire. And, you know, ignore the Three Laws.
It’s just a pity none of them thought to ask the robot what it wants.