Catch-up, Stormcaller

Isak is a white-eye, an unnaturally strong and fast young man with a reputation for being hot-tempered and troublesome. His unpredictable and dangerous nature means he has grown up as an outcast on the wagon-train where his father, Horman, works. Isak’s only real friend is Carel, the captain of the guards and a former soldier. When a strange mercenary called Aracnan meets them on the road and demands Isak goes with him to pursue his future, Isak refuses. Aracnan instead goes ahead of them to Tirah, capital city of the Farlan tribe, and informs Lord Bahl, another white-eye, that Isak has been appointed his heir by the Gods.

Contrary to tradition, Isak has to be summoned to Tirah Palace rather than brought by Aracnan, but even then he demurs. Then the drunken hostility of his father and the other wagon-train drivers spills into outright violence and Isak, trying to escape, finds himself at the palace, leaving behind a dead man. Isak himself is barely standing, but much to his own surprise he is taken in and fed while Lord Bahl attends to matters of state. Bahl’s Chief Steward, Lesarl, tells him the Gods’ traditional gifts to the Chosen are not to be handed over immediately to Isak; they have been stored away even from Lord Bahl, for the lure of their power is so great. The gifts are Siulents and Eolis, the armour and sword of Aryn Bwr, the last and greatest of the Elven kings, considered to be the finest and most powerful mortal-made weapons ever created.

Lesarl also mentions the journal of Cordein Malich, a necromancer who almost sparked a civil war within the Farlan. Lord Bahl had ordered the journal deciphered, despite its heretical nature, because of his own interest in a powerful artefact mentioned within: a Crystal Skull, also created by Aryn Bwr.

When Isak first meets Lord Bahl he collapses, overwhelmed by the memory of a recurring dream in which Bahl, a man he’s never met, is killed fighting an unknown knight on a distant island. When he wakes he is told of his new position, as Chosen, the heir to Lord Bahl. That night Isak dreams of their patron God, Nartis, who begins to make his newest servant even bigger and stronger than a normal man – but once again things don’t go exactly as they should. Instead, Isak awakes to find a mysterious light has burned the elven runeXeliath – which means ‘heart’ – onto his chest.

Isak is sent by Lord Bahl to begin his weapons training, but his white-eye temper flares and a practise duel with a nobleman, Dirass Certinse turns nasty when Certinse, against all reason, tries to kill Isak. Isak reacts the only way a white-eye can: he kills the man, a member of the tribe’s most powerful family, and one heavily implicated in the Malich rebellion. Lord Bahl is more concerned about why nothing is going as expected in Isak’s life, and his fear increases when Isak receives another gift, this time from the Goddess Fate: his crest, a crowned dragon, is revealed to have been prepared long before Isak was even Chosen. And death continues to follow Isak, as he inexplicably kills a high priest of the God of Magic, who was investigating why Isak appears unable to use his immense latent magical power.

During this time, Isak becomes close friends with his maid, Tila.

To the south-east, Kastan Styrax, the lord of the Menin tribe, has travelled in secret to attack the city of Raland and capture the Crystal Skull Lord Bahl was seeking – but Bahl has no time to do anything about this, for an Elven army is invading Farlan lands. Bahl sends an army under Isak’s command to meet the threat, at last giving Isak his weapons and introducing him to the dragon that watches over them, Genedel. The army marches off, gathering troops and noblemen along the way including the popular hero Count Vesna, with whom he swiftly becomes friends, and, less happily, Duke Certinse, the new head of the rebellious Certinse family.

Isak narrowly avoids assassination and fares well in the fight, thanks to his burgeoning strength, until he loses himself in his newly found magic, going berserk on the field before passing out. It is only Bahl’s sudden arrival with Genedel that wins the battle for the Farlan. Isak awakes a few days later to discover that the Elven army were seeking Siulents and Eolis, his own God-gifted weapons, to fulfil a prophecy heralding Aryn Bwr’s return.

To the south, Chalat, the lord of the desert-dwelling Chetse tribe, is deposed by his Chosen heir who has been possessed by a daemon. Chalat heads north with a foreigner called Mihn, hoping to ask Lord Bahl for help. Far to the north-east, the mercenary Aracnan visits an old acquaintance, the immortal vampire Koezh Vukotic, to share his fears that Isak is destined to be the Saviour spoken of in prophecy. The pair travel west to ensure they will have a hand in unfolding events.

Isak returns to Tirah, where he is reunited with his friend Carel, now commander of his personal guard, shortly before being sent west to Narkang by Lord Bahl, both to forge an alliance with its ruler King Emin and to distance him from future attempts on his life by the defeated Elves. He is accompanied by Mihn, Tila, Count Vesna and Carel, and a strange wanderer called Morghien he meets on the way. Morghien claims to have been sent by a white-eye girl called Xeliath to prepare Isak for a threat in his future.

Xeliath herself starts to visit Isak in his dreams, for she is bound up in the same prophecies as Isak. She was Chosen by her patron Goddess, told she was destined to be Isak’s queen, and given a Crystal Skull as a gift, but when her destiny was bound to Isak’s, the tangled mess of prophecy around him nearly broke her mind, damaging her both physically and mentally. Isak also begins to realise that his fears of something watching him from the shadows might be more than an overactive imagination.

In the south, Kastan Styrax is overseeing preparations to invade Chetse lands now that Chalat has fled, while he himself travels to await Lord Bahl, whom he has lured away from his army.  When he talks to the daemon he has made a bargain with to realise his plans of conquest, he receives a warning that he himself may be under threat.

Reaching Narkang, Isak learns King Emin has unearthed a planned coup in his city. While stopping the revolution, Isak and his friends discover that the vampire Zhia Vukotic, sister of Koezh, was impersonating a conspirator in order to steal a Crystal Skull from the leaders. In a desperate move, Isak defends King Emin’s palace, but during the first stage of the battle Isak senses the death of Lord Bahl and feels the hand of Nartis descend upon him as the new Lord of the Farlan. He breaks the palace siege by shattering the enemy army with lightning, earning him the nickname Isak Stormcaller. His left arm is turned completely white, an after-effect of the spell.

After the battle, Isak is approached by a religious order of knights who ask that he go to a place called Llehden. The knights give him Aryn Bwr’s own Crystal Skulls, unwittingly releasing the ancient king’s spirit. Thanks to advice from the mysterious Morghien, Isak survives the assault and breaks that particular prophecy, leaving Aryn Bwr a prisoner in Isak’s mind – and his own future uncertain.