For Aiden Wainwright, a short trip to the nearby town of Bracksford was supposed to be an opportunity for continuing his research into the arcane. But unfortunate circumstances see the town gates closed for weeks, and with supplies running low, Aiden finds himself thrust into the role of town saviour. Together with an old friend of dubious character, a drunken ranger on the edge, and a church acolyte out of her depth, he sets out to fill the vacuum of power left by the absent King's army, and deal with a rapidly escalating situation that threatens the security of the entire land, while uncovering the mysteries behind his own past.
The chill winds of late autumn rushed past Aiden's ears as he ran but he paid them little heed, for as fast as he was running, he needed to go faster. His dark, shoulder length hair streamed behind him as he sprinted through long, knee-high grass, his blue eyes focused on the distant treeline with singular purpose.
He felt his strength flagging, but spurred himself on for one last burst of speed before he crashed through the undergrowth and staggered to a halt, gasping for breath. Turning to look behind him, Aiden grinned breathlessly at his pursuer, who had apparently been unable to keep up with his breakneck speed.
"You owe me a copper jack, Pace!" the young man called out between breaths. "I told you turning thirteen makes all the difference!"
His friend, Pacian, merely waved dismissively at him as he staggered to a halt, probably not wanting to waste his breath by yelling across the twenty yards that remained between them. It had been Pacian's idea to ditch their chores in favour of something more entertaining, for Aiden had turned thirteen this very day. Although not overly fond of work, he didn't feel that running out on his family was an entirely honourable endeavour, but his friend had been very persuasive.
Before long, they found themselves leaving the village of Coldstream, their home for most of their lives, in the distance behind them. A few months younger than Aiden, the two boys had been friends since they were young, a source of some concern to his parents, as Pacian had a knack of getting into trouble and generally liked Aiden to be there when it happened.
"I let you win, since it's your birthday," Pacian shrugged, taking the time to tidy up his short blond hair and absently brush non-existent dirt from his tunic. "If it was any other day, I would have beaten the pants off of you."
Aiden laughed scornfully, knowing that Pacian's pride wouldn't permit him to admit defeat, but he decided to play along with this little fiction to spare his feelings. His friend was always good at making up plausible lies when pressed, something Aiden never could manage.