Things were starting to look up for Magelord Minalan the Spellmonger — the magic mountain in his domain not only made him a wealthy man and the most powerful mage in history, it also produced a lode of magical gemstones with unique properties — properties the Alka Alon, the masters of magic on Callidore, are fascinated by. When Minalan gets his chance to trade some of his magic rocks for irionite, he finds himself in a position to raise hundreds more magi with the stones … making them High Magi.
But as valuable as that bargain is for prosecuting the war with the Dead God and his sinister armies, such power comes with a hefty price. Every new High Mage Minalan raises presents potential new problems. The Magelords have inspired fear in their neighbors. The warmagi invent deadly new spells. The lower orders of magi are getting restless. The mage-led Sevendor Town wants a new charter. King Rard and the royal court are pressuring the nascent Arcane Orders politically. Some magi are crossing the Penumbra and taking stones from the goblins, as well as taking their service. And some are just starting to get a little crazy.
It makes a nice, normal little raid on his lands seem refreshing in its simplicity.
In trying to balance the needs of the war with the needs of a well-ordered Order, Minalan finds himself making compromises, cutting deals, and bargaining what power he has in a high-stakes game where Chaos seems to be the only player who knows the rules. The temptations of his position and the power he wields are great, but so, he discovers, are the responsibilities. But when his patience seems nearly exhausted and his alliances seem ready to crumble, a massive army emerges from the shadowy realms and strikes south, forcing the High Magi to rally around the Spellmonger in defense of the kingdom.
As the genocidal goblin army marches toward the once-prosperous cottonlands of Gilmora, Minalan and his High Magi must defend a single bridge against them at all costs. And they are ready to. But the plans of magi count little when the powerful and subtle mind of the Dead God opposes them. For when the die is cast and the first blow is struck, it becomes clear that nothing is as Minalan had foreseen. As disaster looms for the humani kingdom and even the Alka Alon are threatened, only a desperate appeal to divinity, a dangerously risky adventure and a little classy enchantment offer any hope against calamity. For the day has come when all that stands between ruin and survival is the bravery and cunning of the Spellmonger and his High Magi!