The Bitter Wars left a world divided. Now the ælven governors convene a Council at Glenhallow, while the savage kobalen gather in numbers not seen in five centuries. Vastly outnumbered, the ælven clans will send barely trained guardians to confront the kobalen, and a young female warrior, Eliani, will be entrusted with the most crucial mission of all: to reach distant Fireshore and learn why their governor has not responded to the call to war. Bound to her lover Turisan by the power of mindspeech, Eliani will feed vital information to the Ælven Council across vast distances. But Eliani cannot see the dark force watching from the Ebon Mountains. There, Shalár, the ruler of exiled Clan Darkshore, has given the mindless kobalen both power and a plan to cut off the ælven from their brave and gifted mindspeaker -- and to reclaim for Shalár's nearly extinct vampiric clan their ancestral land: Fireshore. But Shalár guards her secrets carefully, and even Eliani cannot know what terrible purpose lurks in the heart of the exiled.