A dozen years of peace have passed in the city of White Gryphon - providing well deserved and much needed security for the people who had lost their homes in the magical Cataclysm which killed the Mage Urtho, creator of the gryphons. But the inhabitants of White Gryphon have not forgotten their long struggles, and have trained an elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, to protect their city, and if necessary, to join with the army of the black Kings for mutual defense.
Skandranon Rashkae, the Black Gryphon, and Amberdrake the Healer, leaders of the community, have settled into quiet, comfortable lives, happy to raise their families and bask in the remembered glory of bygone days. But life is not as idyllic for the offspring of these famous heroes. Amberdrake's rebellious daughter Windsong wants nothing to do with her father's profession. It embarrasses her even to think of knowing people's innermost thoughts and feelings. Despite her parents' concern, she has changed her name to Silverblade and joined the Silver Gryphons. Tadrith, one of Skandranon's twin sons, feeling smothered by parental love, and desperate to escape from the shadow of his father's fame, has also made the decision to join the Silvers.
After two years of rigorous training, Blade and Tad are finally given their first solo assignment. They are to man a remote guardpost at the northernmost edge of the lands claimed by White Gryphon. It will be a long duty, and even reaching the post may prove difficult as a vast, wild, and largely unexplored territory lies between them and their goal. Still, everything seems auspicious as Tad sets off into the air, hauling Blade and a full complement of supplies in a magic-assisted, and therefore nearly weightless, carry barge. But three days out from White Gryphon disaster strikes - all of Tad's magic, both natural and augmented, simply disappears. Borne down by the actual weight of the barge, Tad plummets helplessly to the ground. Lost and badly injured, the desperate partners take stock of their situation - all of their spell-fueled equipment, including their only means of communication, is inoperable, drained of all magic. But their troubles are just beginning, for someone or something is stalking them. And in the dark of the tropical rain forest which surrounds them waits a nameless terror which even their fathers could never have envisioned.
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 ... (more)