It has been six years since the orphan boy Darian escaped the sacking and burning of his village by barbarians, and found sanctuary with the mysterious Tayledras Hawkbrothers. This once troubled youth has now grown into a mature and responsible adult who has achieved more than he ever dreamed possible. Not only is he a Master Mage, but he is the titular head of a new community--the Vale of k'Valdemar--which houses a diplomatic council comprised of Hawkbrothers, Valdemarans, and representatives of the more peaceable barbarian clans of the north.

But despite Darian's glowing success, life is not completely rosy for this brave young man. For he is still haunted by the pain of not knowing what happened to his missing parents--not even knowing if they are alive or dead. Now that he has made Master Mage, his skills are finally sufficient to try to resolve this mystery once and for all. And as a series of clues lead Darian to believe that his parents may indeed be alive, he mounts a small search party to try to locate them. But their trail leads far to the north--deep into little-known territory, rife with bellicose barbarian tribes as well as treacherous mountain terrain. And though Darian is desperate to know what became of his parents, he can't be completely certain that they are alive or totally confident that he can find them. Is it worth risking his life and the lives of his companions to chase what could be a dream?
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