Acadia is the last outpost of mankind in the wilderness. A great forest encircles it, every year engulfing more fields and villages. Within this forest, the Wight Lords prepare and wait, for they know this settlement of men weakens and rots from within.
Acadia's rulers are the Nine Patriarchs, Living Prophets of a decadent religion. Progress is anathema, books are banned, reading and writing is prohibited. With the power to read minds or to destroy them, and with armies of Clerics, soldiers and spies, they believe themselves unassailable.
But when the Ninth of their number disappears, their confidence in their supreme authority is shaken. They begin an inquisition to root out and destroy heresy. Landholders are disinherited, settlers cleared and witches burned on the pyre.
The wights, meanwhile, have spies of their own and watch closely this slow decline of men. They await an omen, an event foretold, eager to unleash their armies to enslave and exterminate the despised day-dwellers who have usurped them.
Acadia is heading towards a catastrophe. Only the power of the witches can prevent it. But they are almost extinct...
Acadia, land of forests
Averiel, prophetess of the witches, foretold three centuries ago that one day another like her would arise at the time of direst need. She would lead the people of Acadia out of darkness and misery into a new age of enlightenment.
But her writings have been wiped from history by the Patriarchs, and what good is a prophecy if no-one knows of it?
Merla is a scribe and a map-keeper with a gift for memorising everything she sees. And as a scribe she has a rare talent: she can read and write.
Arlana is a wild forest orphan outcast. Unable to speak, she communicates by hand signals and, with those who are able, with her mind. She will do anything to protect the man she loves; and she may have much more power than she ever imagined.
Faye is a witch-warrior with murderous intent. She was trained in combat and witchery at the Sanctuary of the North, a fabled fortress hidden from the eyes of men. She has one aim: to revenge the death of her partner and destroy the Patriarchs.
Colm is a Poor Knight, a descendant of a noble family that once ruled Acadia but that was dethroned by the Patriarchs. He is the best tourney-warrior of his generation; but his life is about to be thrown into turmoil when he becomes an exile and an outlaw.