Magic is forbidden throughout the Four Realms. For decades, sorcerers and those associating with them were hunted to near extinction.
But Seri, a Leiran noblewoman living in exile, is no stranger to defying the unjust laws of her land. She is sheltering a wanted fugitive who possesses unusual abilities-a fugitive with the fate of the realms in his hands...
Everyone in Navronne seems to be after Valen. There is the fanatical Harrower priestess, Sila Diaglou, who wants to raze the kingdom. The Bastard Prince Osriel, who steals dead men's eyes. And the Pureblood Registry, determined to keep every pureblood sorcerer in thrall. Even beings out of myth, the Danae guardians, whose dancing nurtures the earth and whose attention could prove the most costly of all.
As Navronne sinks deeper into civil war and perilous winter, Valen finds himself a bargaining chip in a deadly standoff. Doomed to madness by his addiction to the doulon, and bound by oaths he refuses to abandon, the young sorcerer risks body and soul to rescue one child, seek justice for another, and bring the ailing land its righteous king. Yet no one is who they seem, and Valen's search for healing grace leads him from Harrower dungeons to the very heart of the world. In the twilight of a legend, he at last discovers the hard truth of the coming dark age and the glorious, terrible price of the land's redemption...and his own.
In a land torn apart by civil war, pestilence, and shaky alliances, a man branded a traitor may be the world's only hope...
The rebellious son of a long line of pureblood cartographers and diviners, Valen has spent most of his life trying to escape what society — and his family — ordained for him. His own mother has predicted that he will meet his doom in water and blood and ice. And her divination seems fulfilled when a comrade abandons Valen in a rainy wilderness half-dead, addicted to an enchantment that converts pain to pleasure, and possessing only a stolen book of maps.
Offered sanctuary in a nearby monastery, Valen discovers that his book — rumored to lead men into the realm of angels — gains him entry into a world of secret societies, doomsayers, monks, princes, and madmen, all seeking to unlock the mystery of the coming dark age. Unfortunately, the key to Navronne's doom is buried in half-forgotten myth—and the secrets of his own past...
Gerick was stolen away as a child by the evil Lords of Zhev, who sought to make him one of them. Years later, he seeks refuge in a strange, sunless land of outcasts—but he still fears the dark power of the Lords' dying curse and returns to Avonar only when he is forced to by tragic family business.
In Avonar, Gerick is asked to investigate a woman who stumbled out of the desert—the ancient king DArnath's own daughter, held captive by the Lords of Zhev'Na for a thousand years…or so she claims. Gerick's tormented past with Zhev'Na proves vital as he attempts to discover whether this mysterious woman is truly free of their evil taint.
But as he comes to know the charismatic D'Sanya, Gerick believes he has at last found a woman who can understand him and what he suffered at the hands of the Lords. Entangled in bonds of love, family, and secrecy, Gerick attempts to unravel the mysteries of ancient kings, ancient evil—and the dreadful truth of his own destiny.
In the Lists of the Dar’Nethi are tallied the full number of the Talents: Singer, Builder, Silver Shaper, Tree Delver… They are named without interpretation of their worth and without report of their rarity, for who is to say that the common Builder, who sings his bricks into the harmonious arch that pleases a thousand eyes every morn, is of any less value than the Word Winder, who creates an intricate enchantment that only a few can use to any effect? D’Arnath himself was born to be a Balancer, a most ordinary gift, but it was magnificence of his soul that made him a Balancer of Worlds.
Yet there are three rare Talents that cause a hush to fall among the people when they are named. One is Speaker, for the gift of discernment and truth-telling is rarely welcomed, and those who practice it are never other than alone.
The second is Healer, for of all things, life is the most sacred to the Dar’Nethi, and the youth or maid who accepts the gift of life-giving is both blessed for the glory of the calling and pitied for the burdens of it.
The third is Soul Weaver. Some say there has never been a true Soul Weaver, for who could relinquish his own life so completely, taking unto himself the fall body, mind, and spirit of another being - lending strength or courage, skill or knowledge - and then be able to yield the other soul undamaged? Who could do such a thing and himself remain whole? Some say the Soul Weaver should not be entered in the Lists. It could be no part of the Dar’Nethi Way, for it is an impossible calling and only a legend amongst a people who are themselves the stuff of legends.
Ven’Dar yn Cyran
“A Brief History of the Dar’Nethi Way”
For the boys. And you thought the garage was tough…
The builders did bow before the castle lord and say to him that his fortress was complete. But the lord declared the castle not yet strong enough, for his enemies were powerful and many. And so the lord commanded the builders to set an iron ring into the stone on the battlements at each compass point of the keep, and he chose his four strongest warriors to sanctify his fortress with their lives. One of the four was chained to each of the rings and charged to watch for marauders who might appear from any point along the sweeping horizon. At every hour the watch bells were rung to ensure the warriors did not sleep, and none were allowed to speak to them lest they be distracted from their duty. Through burning autumn and into bitter winter the four stood watch, allowed no shelter, no comfort, and no respite, believing that their faithfulness and honor would protect their lord’s stronghold long after their eyes and ears had failed. And when they died, they were left in place until their dust had filtered into the stones and mortar. They were called the Guardians of the Keep and are said to protect it still, and the symbol of the Four Guardian Rings is the shield of Comigor. Indeed, the four must have been potent warriors, for never in six hundred years has Comigor fallen to its enemies.
The History and Legends of Comigor Castle