Valen is under siege. It is a beautiful country, of babbling brooks, a verdant quilt of farmland, an almost endless summer, and bustling, bounteous markets. The royal family rules it with a fair hand from a glittering quiver of spires: A castle that is the jewel at the heart of the land. But where the night was once a time for well earned rest and wine by the fire, it has become fraught with peril. The High Road is no longer safe. Crops have begun to fail and rot in the field. Children are snatched from their beds. Mirrors shatter where none have touched them. And from the East, a cold wind blows.
Our story begins with Lady Miranda’s most trusted ranger, dying on the floor of the court. From his grip rolls a gemstone easily the size of a fist. He has ridden the Misty Wood, braved grim Nivernais, crossed the Frostfall peaks, and plumbed the depths of Harrowhall only to return, all that way, with this treasure. As it rolls, each of its twelve faces sparkle by morning light reflected in pooling blood, and in each are caught moments of time. Miranda plucks the gem from the marbled floor, and takes it to see her King.