The Mirari, one of the most powerful artifacts ever created, is now in the hands of the sinister Cabal. With its power, and its awe-inspiring lure, the Cabal Patriarch is determined to put it to proper use. He puts it up as a prize in the pit fights, daring the best warriors in Otaria to take it. Many answer the call, including Kamahl, who vows to claim the Mirari no matter what. On the way to his goal, he meets again with Chainer, a young dementia summoner he encountered when he first arrived to fight in the pits. The two rekindle their old friendship, and unite to make sure that no one but them gets a shot at winning the Mirari.
Kamahl will need the help. His friend Seton is gone, having retreated deep into his Krosan Forest home to report on what he has seen, and prepare his people for war. Ambassador Laquatus, still smarting over his failure to secure the Mirari, has redoubled his efforts to seize both the artifact and leadership of the cephalid empire. This time, though, he has stronger competition: Llawan, Aboshan’s clever and conniving widow, who has returned from a long exile to gain her husband’s throne.
Major Teroh, new leader of the Order, is enraged at the loss of their former commanders and of their northern stronghold. He vows vengeance against Kamahl, whom he believes responsible for the stronghold’s destruction. He also initiates a massive crusade against the Cabal, determined to wipe its influence off Otaria once and for all.
Llawan has returned from her long exile to take control of the cephalid empire, but Ambassador Laquatus schemes to seize the throne for himself. He forms an alliance with the Cabal, and Chainer even creates a horrific familiar to protect him. If Laquatus can betray the Cabal and seize the Mirari, his dreams of ultimate conquest would finally come true.
Meanwhile, Jeska, Kamahl’s sister, and Balthor, the gruff dwarf who served as his mentor, descend from the Pardic Mountains in search of the barbarian. They will find more than they bargained for, as Chainer’s power over dementia creatures grows. The Patriarch allows him to use the Mirari to create ever more vicious horrors, and just as with all its other users, the Mirari chips away at Chainer’s sanity. As the dementia summoner sinks deeper into madness, Kamahl will soon be faced with a decision: his friend, or the survival of Otaria.
The story continues in the novel Chainer's Torment by Scott McGough.
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