Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. Stanislas, a poet whose pen name is Azrael, is a suicidal anarchist, his imagination haunted into hate by longing for this queen who's drawn apart. He enters her private quarters intent on killing her then himself, but they fall in love, in part because he looks like the king. Stanislas wants her to regain political power by appearing to the public, and she tries to convince him to find hope and escape. All the while, the queen's enemies plot to keep the lovers together but to thwart their plans.