Darkness looms over the ancient world of Ahn Norvys, and the Great Harmony of Ardiel lies rent asunder. Prince Starigan, heir to the throne, has been abducted and power has been usurped by a traitorous cabal.In the mountainous highlands of Arvon is the small but ancient community the Stoneholding, which has held out against the gathering forces of the evil Ferabek. Here by tradition, from earliest times, the High Bard has resided as guardian of the Sacred Fire, as well as the golden harp called the Talamadh. But in his search for the lost prince, Ferabek has attacked the Stoneholding with his Black Scorpion Dragoons and razed it to the ground. Wilum, the aged High Bard was forced to flee for his life with a ragged band of survivors, including Kalaquinn Wright, the wheelwrights's son.Kal, green in years and understanding, was torn from his pastoral life in a remote highland clanholding, and thrust out onto a broader stage in a journey of danger and escape, discovery and enlightenment. Now, as night covers Ahn Norvys, he must save what remains of the hallowed order of things and seek his destiny, a destiny that lies far beyond the Stoneholding. He must somehow find Prince Starigan and rekindle the Sacred Fire.