The shattered remnant of a race of elves survives in a world dominated by humans by hiding deep inside a vast forest. Eleanor, a young female, is trained in human customs and sent into the world to learn the ways of the enemy.
She finds the humans remember a different account of the five hundred year-old betrayal which destroyed the fighting elite from both their camps. The more she learns, the more she suspects there is a dark, rotten core at the centre of Elven society.
Can her human friends help her make a stand against this ancient evil? Can she unravel this mystery before she becomes its latest victim?
James’s scream had been a thing of anger, frustration and pain. This scream pierced her like an arrow, bringing gooseflesh to her arms, freezing her in place. It encompassed a lifetime’s worth of despair and hurt. It went beyond pain, begging for the comfort of oblivion. Shielding the light from the lamp between her cupped hands and her body, Eleanor stood hunched over the light with tears running down her cheeks. She wanted to run away, to go back to the fitting room and pretend none of this was happening, but she couldn’t. Somewhere below, the person whose screams had echoed around the walls had reached the end of their endurance. That scream was a desperate cry for help. She was a daughter of kings, she told herself. How could she run away? What if the truth she was searching for was down there in the darkness, waiting for her to find it?
The sound of voices sent her scurrying to a nearby alcove. Her hand clamped over the glowing wick, extinguishing the flame. Crouched in the corner, her face pressed against the wall, her chin resting on her chest, she prayed the green in her dress was dark enough to make her appear almost invisible. As the voices came closer, she tightened her crouch, aware of the heat from the dowsed lamp against her chest and the cold from the floor seeping up through the balls of her feet.
"Yer’ll get no more from him this night," a man muttered in the distance as the faint glow of a lantern moved slowly from side to side. "Might as well get a drink and give him a couple of hours before we start again."
"The master don’ want us hammering on his prisoners while the house is awake. Der’s only a couple hours till dawn," came another’s reply.
"One hour then," the first voice compromised. "But why the servants being about should be a problem, I don’t understand. Those fools make so much noise up there, we could be banging drums and ringing bells down here and they’d never hear us."
"But still," the second voice insisted.
"But still," the first voice agreed.