After his mother dies from a plague that destroys a quarter of the island's populace, Talinvar turns his back on the gods of Cyranessa and devotes his life to serving the archon Dravothis and Rathia Fortress. Joined by his best friend, Chehalis, they complete the arduous and often brutal training of the fortress only to be scourged by Rathia's masters after Chehalis kills a fellow student in an act of revenge. Talinvar survives but Chehalis is forced to pay the ultimate penalty for his crime and as a parting gift he leaves Talinvar an ancient necklace of his forefathers, the symbol of the Discarnate of Orillian, the god of his people.
When Phairdrin, viceroy of the enemy nation of Alberane is found hiding in Cyranessa, Talinvar is given the unenviable task of returning the nobleman to his own lands. In an effort to avoid a war, he is joined by fellow guardsmen, Keth, Duartin, Markala, and fortress marksman, Pilum. Little do Talinvar and his friends know, their burden is much more than he appears. Phairdrin is a dangerous, powerful sorcerer and master of every black art. A simple mission turns to tragedy when during their voyage, Phairdrin summons a pair of sea dragons to sink the ship while he escapes. But the Thorn Guard are trained to survive and failure is no option as they are sworn to fulfill their mission.
Along the way, Talinvar and his friends are faced with every danger in a darkening world, pursuing an enemy that can only be possessed by pure evil. And can only be stopped by one who is chosen by a higher power; Talinvar, the undefeated blade of Cyranessa.