To the scientifically advanced people of Altima, the primitive "Fringelanders" of Bartokhrin are superstitious barbarians and terrorists. Their suicide warriors carry dark magic into the heart of the Altiman cities, killing innocent civilians. To the people of Bartokhrin, the Altimans are godless conquerors and oppressors, who bomb their town and villages from their high-flying aeroplanes. They revere the Blessed martyrs who carry the battle back to the Altimans.
Chamus Aranson is a young Altiman student, training to be a fighter pilot in his nation's air force. Riadni Mocranen is a rebellious Bartokhrian tomboy, who dreams of joining the heroic freedom fighters in their crusade against Altima. Chamus and Riadni come from two completely different worlds, but when Chamus is forced to make and emergency landing deep in enemy country, Riadni becomes his only hope for survival. Now they must work together to stop an unimaginable catastrophe from setting both their worlds on fire.
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Taya and Lorkrin's shape-changing Myunan tribe faces an invasion by Noran, which is intent on mining the valuable iron ore from their sacred mountain, Absaleth. But the mountain is haunted and fights back with supernatural powers. Then a mine tunnel collapses and the miners are trapped. With them are Taya and Lorkrin's parents, Nayalla and Mirkrin, who had been searching for their unruly children.
Taya and Lorkrin are terrified for their parents. But help arrives in the form of their Uncle Emos. He and his friend Draegar know there is one chance for the trapped people -- another entrance to the caves far back in the mountain range. A rescue party sets out as the mountain starts to collapse in on itself.