Sixteen-year-old Ice Mage Nuala would rather hide under the covers than journey out into the unknown. When her home is attacked and her father murdered, the novice is forced to crawl out of her comfort zone in pursuit of Jarlath, the power hungry Earth Mage who killed him.
Even worse, Jarlath has found a way to acquire all the Elements: a feat forbidden by the gods. If he succeeds, it could destroy the Elements the Mages and people of Tartha rely on to survive. When she finds out her mother committed suicide in a failed attempt to sacrifice her Element to Jarlath, Nuala learns she carries the essence he needs to complete his rise to power. Now Nuala is the only thing keeping Jarlath from gaining the power of Ice.
With Jarlath in pursuit, Nuala must figure out how to defeat him before he uses her own powers against her and Tartha is destroyed. But the answer leaves her with a daunting choice: risk losing her Element to save Tartha, or save herself and watch her world fall to the enemy.
Nuala froze. Something was wrong. The morning air dripped with fog, swirling and caressing her bare arms. Normally she would welcome the touch of the damp breeze, but today it was off. Ice crept around her temples and a shiver ran down her spine.
She surveyed the land in front of her, the sparse plain stretching and morphing into small rolling hills. There was nothing out of the ordinary as far as she could see, so why did she feel so nervous?
Sister Llyr, give me the strength to wash the worry from my mind and harden my heart so that I may grow perfect in your eyes.
Nuala sighed, a short breath of cold air escaping her lips. Crouching, she touched a small daisy at her feet. Ice streamed from her fingers, enveloping the delicate petals, freezing the flower. Nuala imagined herself as that daisy, a strong armor of ice coating her body, impenetrable.