An unthinkable twist of fate lands Dethar in the secret home of his archenemy, Arthen Brightscar, and a dribble of gossip informs him that the elusive but dangerous hero is long since dead. Chagrined at the loss of his chance for vengeance, Dethar turns his sights on Arthen’s two young children and undefended widow. Killing them will simply have to satisfy.
Farming and adventuring have little in common, but Atia Morren longs for the day when she can follow the example of her cousin’s husband, Arthen, and explore the world. But when the arrival of a cruel but enchanting stranger smashes the tranquility of her home, Atia’s daydreaming swells into mad desire, and as time passes and things continue to go wrong, she knows she cannot stay. Escaping with a group of mysterious wanderers, Atia begins a quest to the dreaded Scadkai forest. As the journey progresses, however, she finds herself faced with more than she bargained for, and with powers not previously recognized.