SHADOW IS AZH'NAHN, A POWERLESS MAGE born into a culture that prides itself in sharing the earth's powers. When he chooses a life of voluntary exile to preserve his family's honor, Shadow receives a mysterious call to witness the unearthing of kotrakoy, treacherous telepathic beasts with four wings and four rows of teeth. As he watches their unholy resurrection with great horror, kotrakoy open their minds to his and offer a glimpse into what life would be like wielding a mage's powers.
As Shadow races to warn his people of the impending threat, he discovers a mysterious Trayki woman hanging from the trees and on the verge of death. Uncertain what to do, Shadow initially hesitates to rescue this woman whose people embrace technology and eschew his culture. As Shadow tends to her glider crash wounds, the earth unites them in a soul bond, a sacred union that gives Shadow an unerring duty to protect and preserve her life. And that duty will be fraught with peril: Trayki troops begin bombing Hiwalani villages and while losses mount, magic evolves and Shadow's people lose their power.
The Hiwalani must rely on inexperienced youth to master the new magic and stop enemy attacks. Desperate to save their people, few make any progress at all. Only the outcast azh'nahn seems to understand it - and very few trust his judgment. When Shadow believes he's unlocked the solution, it involves empowering the most deadly kotrakoy and risking the complete annihilation of his people. While his solution sounds reasonable in theory, there is no time to test it - it's UNPROVEN.