Jalen, now beyond the reach of the Empire, and out of range of any of their permanent settlements, Jalen heads for Darkwater Cove. From there he hopes to get more information on the ship that took his wife.
When a storm forces Jalen and his crew off course, Jalen finds that there are things in this world more frightening than death, as he comes to the desolate isle of Helatin Gare.
Limping back to Darkwater, frightened, and still hurt by Marek's betrayal and death, and now afraid that his friend is among the Army of Shades, Jalen is once-again forced to defend himself, this time against other Pirates.
With the battle lines beginning to be drawn, Jalen finds himself face-to-face with a black storm of smoke and fire that devours all it touches, forcing him to depend on Delphe to save him. And in the aftermath, discovers a secret about the house boy that shakes him to the core.
Still reeling from the secret Delphe holds, Jalen is shocked to see the Wolf's brigade, but the Red Water Dragon, the ship Stolen from the Empire at the cove, springs a trap meant for Jalen, forced to let Silvermane's ship go and chase the ship before him.
Clearing the ship of Empire men, Jalen is brought face-to-face with the Evil of the Empire and their treatment of the Islanders when he finds a young man in the captain's cabin, hobbled, chained, and expecting the worst, the young man throws himself at Jalen sobbing in joy that one way or the other, he will be free.
Jalen, horrified by the young man's condition, and the story he tells of how he came to be there, chooses to give the young man the ship that he has been a prisoner in for so long. Needing more crew, and finding those on the ship too tainted even for an honorable death at sea, Jalen takes them to Phaeon Ru, the isle to which he had sent Mirana twenty years before. Jalen knows that Trion, King of the Spira, and Mirana's father, lives in the deep caverns beneath the Isle, and hopes that Trion would be able to help him with the prisoners far too tainted to kill, and far too dangerous to allow to live. But Jalen hasn't faced Trion, his father-in-law, since Mirana had gone missing, and now he hopes he walks away alive.
Arriving at Phaeon Ru, Jalen finds himself and his crews treated as kings and princes, and for the moment, happy that his men have found this protected isle, they try to forget the war, and the evils done to them and accept the island hospitality for one night before facing Trion in the morning.
©2012 Elle Pepper (P)2012 Elle Pepper
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