In a world where magic is strictly regulated, a young mage stumbles upon dark and forbidden secrets. When he uses these to threaten the realms, who will be able to stand against his formidable and unfamiliar powers?
Every crystalline tower of Caer Seren was ablaze with light against an indigo sky, the reflection of the fortress mirrored with glaring brilliance upon the calm, dark surface of the lake that surrounded it. It was an evening of celebration, the eve on which the first-year apprentices would discover if they had been accepted to the fabled order of Starmages.
Aylwen sat at the back of the crowd in the great hall, fanning herself with one graceful hand. The press of bodies, far too many to fit comfortably even in so large a room, was making it oppressively hot. She smothered a yawn, hoping no one had noticed, but frankly, this was the sixth year she'd been obligated to attend the annual event, and it had begun to grow boring three or four years ago.
A hush fell over the crowded room as Firstmage Seleven entered, the frailness of his form hidden by the fullness of his glittering silver robes. Even those who hadn't been here long enough to meet him personally knew who he must be, for no other mage in the tower was permitted to wear such robes. He made his way to the center of the hall, about which the tables had been arranged as an open circle, his strides measured.
"Well met, friends," he announced in his surprisingly resonant voice. "We are gathered this evening to welcome the newest members to our order." He paused, letting his gaze drift toward the table of anxious first-years, and continued, "And to bid farewell to those who will no longer live among us." Looking away from them again, his point made, he raised both arms and finished, "Let us begin!"