The unexpected death of their parents sends three grieving orphans, Bellae, Jumeaux and Gimelli, into the world of the Independent Knights. Once the unquestioned lords of law and order, the Knights were battered and laid-low by the Dark Wars sixty years ago. They are now locked in a power struggle with their one time allies, the faith-filled Proliate and timeworn Magicians.
Nestled within the sheltering confines of castle life the three sibling’s first seven years are filled with routine and hard work. They are unaware that all of Verngaurd is galloping toward chaos, and that they will play a crucial role in its outcome.
Bellae, is precocious and spirited, but isolated by her unique gift. She is the last descendant of an archaic race of animal talkers. Bellae’s innocence starts to whither as the world unravels and a strange winged creature begins to follow her. She and several other squires become tormented by haunting spirits that begin to plague the castle grounds.
The leader of the Knights, Friar Pallium, is plagued by powerful visions of the Proliate destroying the Knight’s few remaining castles. To make matters worse, rumors of large numbers of Dark Warriors returning from across the sea start to whistle in the breeze. Envoys of dragons, Dwarves and Elves start to visit the castle as reports of war and an ancient prophecy coming of age start to swirl. Some believe the Chosen One in the prophecy is Bellae, others her brother Jumeaux.
The squires, a group of Knights, and Friar Pallium head out to the historical Tournament of Flags. Many believe the competition is the last chance for Verngaurd to put aside their differences and unite against the looming Dark Warrior threat.
Their journey to the martial olympics opens their eyes to the horrors happening in the countryside and the tragic truth that the Knights are losing both power and respect. The come face to face with fantastic beasts, formerly unknown in Verngaurd, and vile magic as the true treachery poisoning Verngaurd becomes painfully clear.
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Outstanding fantasy novel. Enjoyed the fast pace and breadth of characters. The Independent Knights are on the ropes, fighting invaders from across the sea and deceit from within their own lands. Lots of great characters, mythological creatures and battles.