Aric and Fadan are half-brothers. Both sons of the empress, but only one of them son of the emperor. A decade earlier, Fadan's powerful father tore the empire in two by outlawing the use and practice of magic. When Aric and Fadan stumble upon an ancient manual of magic, they're faced with a choice: take the book straight to the emperor or see if one of them has the forbidden magical talent.
Aric may have found a new home and a new family in the desert, but once more, the emperor rears his ugly head. This time, his Paladins are coming to seize not only the Guild, but Aric himself. Meanwhile, in the north, as Cassia flees the imperial hounds close on her heels, Fadan seeks the support of a rebellion fragmented by politics and personal interests.