The story unfolds in the weeks following Andaris' 17th name day: Desperate to escape a life of meaningless drudgery behind the plow, he leaves the safety of his secluded valley town and ventures alone into the uncharted depths of an ancient forest, the heart of which is said to be twisted and black.
Choosing to ignore the counsel of his more sensible nature, he is drawn ever onward, lured by the tantalizing splendor of distant mountains, the sheer peaks of which purportedly stand sentinel over a land long steeped in mystery.
What ensues is more remarkable than anything even he could have envisioned. Andaris goes looking for adventure. What he finds is a world in the midst of tidal change, an extraordinary place where he encounters all manner of extraordinary things - vast landscapes teeming with flora and fauna capable of firing the most malnourished of imaginations.
To be sure, danger lurks around every bend, a heady amalgam of sword and sorcery that threatens to bring his young life to an abrupt end. Indeed, if not for a very fortuitous encounter, namely the crossing of paths with a band of travelers who turn out to be much more than meets the eye, it surely would have. Gaven, Ashel, and Trilla seem fated to become fast friends, the sort of companions he'd always wanted, but never thought he'd have.
The Lost One and his army of shapelings are preparing to march against Rogar's western border - the only thing standing between them and the green, fertile lands to the East. The balance of power is shifting. Despite the debt of blood owed them by their Sokerran neighbors, the Alderi Shune fear they will be made to stand alone.
No one speaks of defeat, but it is on the tip of every tongue. For the first time since they were raised, more than a thousand years ago, the impossible is about to happen: The Eight Walls of Rogar are about to fall.
©2006 William Woodward (P)2014 William Woodward