The once-peaceful kingdom protected by the magic of its Herald-Mages - is now beseiged on all fronts. The king lies near death, the neighboring land of Karse wages a relentless war against Valdemar, and the forces led by a master of dark forbidden magic are massing to strike the final devastating blow against the kingdom. And Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage Valdemar has ever known, has become the primary target of the evil which is reaching out to poison all the land.
With all his fellow mages slain, Vanyel alone remains to defend his people against the dark master's army. Yet a dream vision has relealed to Vanyel the fate which awates should he and his Companion Yfandes take up the dark master' challenge. And if either Vanyel or Yfandes falters, the dream will become a horrifying reality in which both Valdemar and its last Herald-Mage must pay the ultimate price.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also