From EPPIE winner Kathryn Sullivan, sixteen stories of magic and offworld adventure. Here you’ll find tales of wizards training apprentices and interstellar operatives protecting more primitive worlds. How one university copes with a student from very far away, and where do some wizards get their supplies? These are stories of agents of change and adepts in more than magic. Gathered here also are several tales from the Land of the award-winning The Crystal Throne from both the far past and the near present: “And Softly Follow,” where a young man whose dreams foretell the future contacts the wizard Calada for help; “Horsefeathers,” the story of a young girl who can talk with animals sent to find the feather of a horse; and “The Windkin,” where tradition and love of knowledge clash.
When his father is killed by an erupting firehill, Kelber vows to put an end to the devastation they cause. The only one with enough power to do this is Orland’s First Loyal, its connection to the Eternal One, and a possessor of great magik. But the First Loyal has been missing for two years. Kelber and his brother Trendarmon nearly die as they cross the sea to ask advice from Prand’s First Loyal, who sends Chaff and Haehli, Second Loyals of Prand, to assist Kelber in his quest.
Kelber, Trendarmon and the Prandian Loyals face fire lizards, glowing avalanches, and vicious spies during their trek. Haehli falls in love with Trendarmon, and Kelber also meets his true love. The relationships bring heartache because Orland and Prand are not on friendly terms.
When Kelber and his companions ascertain how Orland’s First Loyal has been imprisoned, they set about trying to free him. Surrounded by erupting firehills, the Loyals fight the Non—the antithesis of the Eternal One—in a tremendous battle between good and evil.
Chaff and his companions sail to Fala, and find the uncharted island inhabited by two warring tribes. One of the tribesmen is an exile from Prand, whose only desire is to prevent his twelve-year old grandson Vachel from becoming a warrior. When Vachel captures a young member of the rival tribe, Braeth fears it will encourage the boy’s warrior ambitions. While Chaff and the Loyals use their magiks to try to discover the source of the snowy island’s wicked conflicts, Braeth struggles with his own identity, hoping it will save Vachel. But the Non will do everything in his evil power to prevent the success of either plan.