Setting: The kingdom of Draiwen suffers long harsh winters, five years of rebellion, resource shortages, and a nobility that has ignored its people for two decades. Now warriors from the desertland to the west have come, for gold and for vengeance, their home behind them in ruins from an apocalyptic sandstorm.
There was a time when Madhi was going to be the strongest of his people. But that was before the sands revolted, when the warrior tribes of Nuhara still roamed the sands. When he was still married to the love of his life, with a child to raise, his parents to care for, and four younger siblings to taunt and tease. Then the sands came and buried his child, buried his mother. Then the tribe moved to the ancient city of Rheassi for refuge, and he fell to drink and gambling in the fighting pits. Then the debts mounted, his wife left him, and those pits first injured his brother Addro, trying to pay off Madhi’s debts by fighting, then claimed the life of their other brother Falid. Then Addro took leadership of the tribe, and led them all into a bloody war for controlling a nearby canyon that claimed the life of their sister, Ilham.
Peace came, their tribe victorious, but Madhi moved back to Rheassi, too accustomed now to its comforts and temptations.
Murders and kidnappings in Rheassi led to the discovery of a cave-dwelling, crazed cult. Wanting to do something good, Madhi disregarded his brother’s order to stay at the tribe’s camp with their remaining sister, Masuma, born deaf and the youngest of the siblings. When the group reemerged, they discovered that an apocalyptic sandstorm had buried everything, making them the last surviving Nuharans. Now Madhi follows Addro, the only family he has left, into the unknown, chasing down the remaining cultists, and dragging along with him the chains of a lifetime of guilt.