Zac has never tasted freedom. In a small mining camp on the fringe of Ascadell, he lives for his fellow slaves, and they see him as their leader. One day everything changes—his mining camp is destroyed by mysterious raiders in black armor. His masters and fellow slaves are murdered. The raiders are the servants of an evil wizard who is infecting the citizens of Ascadell with an enchanted disease that turns them into vicious Banes. In the chaos of the raider attack, Zac manages to escape, leaving behind the ashes of everything he has ever known and heading for an adventure greater than anything he has ever imagined.