Hidden hands that pull the strings.
And four unlikely heroes:
Caelin Claver, Wayist Priestess
War. Always she dreamed of war. Blood everywhere, and no hands as red as hers.
Shadrak the Unseen, Assassin
He’d lurked in the shadows of political society as long as anyone alive. Longer. A party here, a fundraiser there, public ceremonies, dodgy meetings. Shadrak never forgot even the smallest detail, and what with the gossip on the street, and his dealings with the wealthy merchants who bankrolled those in high office, it wasn’t exactly hard to put names to faces.
Nyra Sahtis, Skald
Her father had used every tool in his considerable arsenal to beat the human out of her and force her Slathian nature to grow. He’d been a monster, but now…. She tried not to imagine what secrets he might have brought back from Tho’Agoth. Hopefully, he never made it home alive.
The Nameless Dwarf, Once a King
What had started out as an overnight shelter in the Southern Crags was going to end up his tomb. The Nameless Dwarf had always known that. Something about the cave at the foot of a fissure reminded him of Arx Gravis, where he’d grown up. That was why he’d stayed a second night, then a third. Before he knew it an entire year had passed. One year turned into two, and after that his only measure of time was the greyness that crept inexorably into his beard.
He was a curse upon the dwarves.
Then their savior.
But after the tragic loss of his wife, the Nameless Dwarf stood down from the throne of Arnoch and went into the mountains to die.
Two hundred years later, the dwarves are a dwindling race on the brink of civil war.
When the hordes of Arnoch storm through the Malfen Pass, refugees flee for their lives, among them the half-Slathian storyteller, Nyra Sahtis, and Sister Caelin, a priestess who was once a trainer of armies.
But with the capital, Jeridium, under siege from a second dwarven faction, there is nowhere for them to run. And so Caelin must seek the aid of the lord she once betrayed, while Nyra is forced to confront everything she left behind when she fled her childhood home in the City of Sorcerers.
As rival dwarven armies converge on Jeridium, the Senate send the assassin Shadrak the Unseen to the Southern Crags to find an old friend in a desperate bid to avert the coming catastrophe.
For ancient evil manipulates from the shadows, and the dwarves are not themselves. And if there is any hope of bringing them to their senses, it comes in the shape of a grief-stricken warrior and his mythical axe:
The Nameless Dwarf.
The hero of legends.
The last of the Exalted.