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Jabone is the birth son of Tarius the Black and Arvon, but was raised by four parents. As the son of the Great Leader, he has had a sword in his hand since he was old enough to walk and has listened to his parents and their friends weave great tales of battle and conquest all his life.

Across the sea in the land of the Jethrik, the Amalite populations of entire villages are disappearing. A secret group of Amalites are suspected, but no one knows how  — or where  — they take their prisoners. The Jethrikian king must deal with the problem, but his thoughts lie mostly with his daughter Kasiria. She is the only woman to apply to, and graduate from, the Sword Master’s Academy since the rule forbidding women to fight was struck from the books.

When Jabone and his friend  — young Tarius and Ufalla, the children of Tarius’s right hand man, and Jestia, the wayward magic-wielding daughter of the Queen of the Kartik  — want to cross the ocean and join the Jethrikian forces to fight their parents’ enemies, Tarius forbids it at first. Finally she relents and sends them with her blessings and the gift of her knowledge of the enemy.

In a new land, the youths will find love and adventure, and they will learn loyalty, pain, loss, and the truth of battle.

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