Always a meticulous planner, Darrak Hunter leads a dull life until his dreams become plagued with visions of a peculiar and distant world. Waking up to a brilliant purple sun looming ominously in the sky, Darrak is met by a mysterious violet-eyed sorcerer who whisks him away from the struggling Earth.
Thrown into the clutches of a foreign world where magic is reality and not all is as it seems, Darrak embarks on a journey where he is forced to come to terms with his past and do what he can to shape the future. Accompanied by a talented swordswoman, a prince, and a beautiful young sorceress, he must overcome cunning plots of treachery and betrayal to discover the strength to stand against a destructive black magic and an enemy who is a master at deception.
Mionee suppressed a shiver as she dismally followed the soldier through the dark hallways. The moment that she had materialized outside the entrance to the Dréyan castle, she had immediately regretted her decision to Travel with such great haste. Having only been in Dréyan once when she was a small child, she had forgotten how frigid the southern country was. The vastness of the surrounding mountains allowed little sunlight to enter the valley where the country lay, and cold formidable air penetrated the land.
When inside the castle, visitors were not allowed to forget the dreariness of the outside. Constructed of heavy black stone from the Norath Mountains, the castle was built more like a fortress than a home. It was three levels of solid rock except for narrow slits on the top level, designed to let in what little sunlight the land was fortunate to receive. The hallways and rooms, lit only by occasional wall torches, were tremendously cramped, and the furnishings were dark and solemn.
Mionee became increasingly depressed the longer she followed the soldier through the meandering hallways, and she was extremely grateful when he came to a sudden stop in front of a large wooden door ornately carved with the Denthald coat of arms. He knocked once, quickly opened the door, and wordlessly waved her through. Mionee jumped as the door slammed shut behind her, and she found herself standing in a room more spacious than the others she had seen, but not much warmer.
“Ah, milady, it is wonderful to see you!” King Denthald exclaimed as he stood to greet the princess who blushed as he affectionately kissed her hand. “That is quite a stunning gown,” he said with obvious admiration. “Unfortunately, we do not see much besides wool and fur in these parts. Practical, but not flattering to the figure,” he winked.
Mionee giggled softly. She felt quite bashful, which was a stark contrast to her usually confident and outgoing demeanor. “I forgot how much colder it is in this country than in Mystandia,” she replied, unable to control a shiver.
“Ah! Where are my manners?” the king exclaimed as he took off his cloak and gently placed it around her shoulders. “You must be freezing! I will have you meet with a master dressmaker as soon as we are done here. He is the best in the country and will do a superb job in outfitting your wardrobe. In the meantime, please wear my cloak. It is not very elegant, but it will certainly keep you warm!”
“Thank you,” Mionee murmured as she closed the heavy fur tightly across her chest, allowing the warmth to slowly seep back into her body.
“So,” Denthald began as he lowered himself back into his chair. “How are things developing? I must say that it came as a surprise when you told me you were Traveling here this morning!”
“It was a surprise to me as well. Events have been progressing rather quickly, but everything has remained in our favor,” Mionee answered with a sly smile. “Cyrus has found the boy.”
“Well done,” the king said as he leaned forward in his chair, quite pleased with Mionee’s news. “Where was he?”
“Mystandia,” she said simply. “Once his parents were murdered, my father knew the boy was no longer safe and brought him to the palace. With a few quick spells, his appearance was changed, and Ipzaag took him in as his apprentice.”
“That is glorious news. Perhaps the young heir will be able to give us some valuable information. Will Cyrus and the boy be joining us here?”
“Yes, but they will not be making the journey with the aid of méno. It is too risky. We cannot control where the boy would materialize. I have instructed Cyrus to bring him over the Pass of Kal’denk. We should expect them within a month.”
“Excellent!” Lord Denthald exclaimed as he leaned back in his chair, clearly pleased with their good fortune.
“Please, call me Garenth,” he said with a warm smile. “After all, that is my name is it not?”
“Garenth,” Mionee continued as the heat quickly returned to her cheeks. “It is time to unite the bands of The Organization. We must be ready to launch an attack as soon as possible.”
“Aye,” he agreed. “Those were my thoughts as well. The attack must come swiftly. I will send riders to our strongholds in Lé’nath, Bé’nag, and Taneim. We should be able to strengthen our army by approximately six thousand soldiers within a month. After that, it is simply a matter of making the journey to Mystandia. The Pass of Kal’denk is dangerous, but it will allow us to travel in secrecy. The trees shielding the Létaag River will provide our forces with sufficient cover. If necessary precautions are taken, they will be able to travel swiftly down the river unnoticed. The palace guard will not realize they are under attack until the hour is too late.”
Mionee nodded her agreement. “I will notify the members of The Organization in Mystandia. With a little communication and some careful timing, we will be able to launch the two attacks simultaneously.”
“Very good,” Garenth said as an iniquitous smile spread acrosshis face. “I think, my dear, that we are finally going to get what we deserve.”
“Yes,” she replied. “Thanks to your father’s recent and unexpected death, the rule of Dréyan is already ours. We simply need to defeat the palace to have dominion over all of Dragonath. Once we have reign over both Dréyan and Mystandia, the other countries will fall. None will have the power to defeat our armies.”
“And what of Earth? How are developments there?” “Exemplary. The changes are already beginning to take effect. Soon the human population will be too weak to resist our forces. Earth will be ours.”
“This calls for a celebration!” Garenth exclaimed as he stood and walked over to the sidebar. “Would you care to join me?”
“I would be honored,” Mionee replied with a dazzling smile.
He handed her a goblet and grinned when she took a sip. Used to the sweetness of the Mystandian wine, Mionee was shocked at the sharp bitterness of the liquid and had to force herself to swallow. “It is quite strong,” Garenth chuckled, “but it will warm you up rather quickly. You will find that a little goes a long way.”
“It certainly does,” she said with a tiny hiccup. She had not eaten anything since the previous day and could already feel the wine going straight to her head. “It usually does not affect me like this,” she said bashfully.
“As I said, it does not take much. Perhaps we should finish our conversation over lunch,” Garenth suggested. “Would you like to accompany me to the dining hall? I believe the cook has prepared something special for your arrival.”
“That sounds lovely!”
“Come, milady. There is much we have yet to discuss.”
“What did you have in mind?” Mionee asked.