The Age of Man, so quickly heralded, is already under siege. Shaken by the catastrophic war with the Demon Queen Spithaera, Pentania wrestles with a new world of possibility and potential disaster: creatures of wonder and nightmare are returning.
And humanity will never be the same.
In his epic battle with the Demon Queen, young Jarom became Torin, King of Alson. Now, with bitter foes on all sides, he must forge his kingdom from the ruins of an empire and begin anew. But it is too soon to forget the past entirely.
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February 28, 2007
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Excerpt from The Obsidian Key by Eldon Thompson
The winter storm tore across the land, ripping and snarling like a caged beast set free at last. Its howling breath wailed in his ears. Its frigid claws raked his skin. The darkness of its maw enveloped the earth, rendering deliberate progress a fool's dream.
Grum looked again to his battered compass, scraping at the ice that shielded its surface. Its needle swung uselessly, drawn in random circles. He shook the instrument, cursing it to the smelter of Achthium's Forge. To the west were the Skullmars, the treacherous peaks from which they'd been blown off course. To the east, the tempest of the sea. Or so he assumed. The world around him had disappeared, its planes and edges forced together in a hazy smear. Head bowed, eyes squinting against frenzied gusts of windblown earth, he could scarcely spy the ground beneath his feet, let alone even the largest of markers that might guide him home.
He risked a backward glance to check on his companions. He could see but one, Raegak, tethered to him at the waist in their makeshift line. Beyond that, the rope stretched into the swirling void of pelting ice and strafing winds. He could only hope the others were still there, knowing that to become separated now would mean dying alone in these frozen wastes.
Not that remaining together afforded great consolation. Truth was, they were hopelessly lost, miles from the safety and comfort of their subterranean home. And even if home lay just around the bend, were they to stumble half a step to the left or right, they might pass right on by without ever knowing it.
Raegak glanced up, eyes hollow, snow clinging to his beard. Grum looked quickly away, hiding his compass within a gnarled fist, determined to mask his dismay. He was toifeam, leader of this expedition, and by Achthium, he would see them through.
To accentuate this silent oath, he crammed the worthless compass deep into a leather pouch. At that same moment, the earth fell away, and he found himself scrabbling against a clutching blackness. Chunks of ice and gravel skittered beneath his feet, while a shower of snow cascaded about him. Everything seemed to be sucking him down, down into some depthless
A sharp tug caught him about the waist, folding him violently forward and snatching the wind from his lungs. For a moment he slid downward again, before coming to a lurching halt. Curtains of snow slid past as his companions struggled with their footing above. He hung there, twisting in the abyss, before reaching up for the lip of the pit, where Raegak, stout legs braced against the earth, bent down and offered a leather-wrapped hand.