Mistress Ideca presides over the animal workers in the west settlements.
An eternally-weary Ideca introduces herself to the brand-new goose girl by warning her to not get homesick for her Forest family and abandoning her duties at the first sign of winter. Even though the girl went to the king first instead of coming directly to her, Ideca tiredly lets her know that she won't be treated any different because of it.
She explains that the goose girl, Isi, will take her meals in her worker's hall morning and night, but gives Isi a bowl of bean soup and a glass of water to start off with anyway. When she's finished, Ideca gives her a spare skirt and tunic for washday, a crook for her geese, and a large straw hat to keep off the sun. She assigns Isi the third house from the south, right up against the city wall and tells her to report for duty and breakfast early the following morning.
Some days later, Isi comes to her with an injured goose she's named Jok. Ideca works a strong-smelling salve well into the gash on the bird's thigh, clucking all the while about how the goose boy Conrad should be helping her but he's too lazy... or shy around the pretty Isi. She teases that she's noticed how Isi wears her hat constantly and figures that the girl is protecting her fair skin in hopes of attracting and later marrying a nobleman.
The day of the Wintermoon festival, Isi and her friend Enna the chicken girl run into the hall and report that Isi was almost abducted by two of the guards from Kildenree who came to Bayern with their foreign princess. Although Enna managed to save her with the help of some peace-keepers, Isi still got nipped in the back with one of the Kildenrean's knives. Ideca orders Isi to hold a pack of herbs to the cut while she mends the girl's torn dress, cheerfully cursing the blonde foreigners with such pleasant enthusiasm, the workers stare at her as if she's an unpredictable animal.
Two months after Wintermoon, a group of boys report to Ideca that the goose flock was targeted by thieves. They and Conrad were preparing to rescue Isi and the flock, but when they arrived at her pasture, all that was left of the thieves were some sacks and poles. Somehow, Isi was able to drive off five men all on her own. That evening at the dining hall, the palace pageboy Tatto summons those involved with the rescue of the geese to the palace, for the king wishes to thank them.
That very night, the clamor of angry geese wakes up half the settlement. Those nearby witness Isi running for her life away from a large Kildenrean man with blonde braided hair chasing after her. Enna leads a large segment of the workers after them, but they lose sight of the two in the nearby woods. Faced with everyone's questions, Enna reveals to them all that Isi is truly Princess Anidori-Kiladra of Kildenree. She was sent to Bayern to marry their prince, but on the journey half of her escort mutinied. They killed the other half and tried to kill Isi too so that they could replace her with her lady-in-waiting, Selia, but Isi managed to escape and has been hiding as their goose girl ever since. Mistress Ideca is surprised to hear that Isi has been a yellow girl all this time and worries that she may have been killed.
Soon after, the prince's upcoming wedding to the Kildenrean princess is announced and the whole city has a week-long holiday. Not really having anywhere to go, the workers converge in Ideca's dining hall. Suddenly, Isi herself walks in the door, accompanied by Finn and a Kildenrean man loyal to Isi named Talone. As soon as the room catches sight of Isi, everyone rushes to hug her and congratulate her on being alive. In answer to Isi's question about why they're all in the dining hall, Ideca explains about the prince's wedding in two days. She urges Isi to hurry and stop it before their prince marries a murderess. After a quick meal, Isi and the workers are on their way to stop the wedding and war.
Eventually, Isi's quest is victorious after much struggle. Presumably, Ideca attends Isi's marriage to Prince Geric in the Thumbprint of the Gods, a public city square that allows anyone, noble or commoner, to attend the wedding.
- "Don't know why you went to the king instead of coming here direct. Suppose you think it's a grand entrance, but don't think it means you'll be treated different. We all work. That's what we do here, work."
- "You're that yellow girl after all? Then you best hurry, goose girl, because you've got until three tomorrows. Humph, imagine marrying a murderess. She'll cut his throat in their marriage bed."