Master, I have failed . . .
Illmuri, the apprentice wizard, gave his report. The Skylding clan had been destroyed, their treasure lost forever. Only Skyla, the witch-girl, was left alive - at the mercy of her own rampant magic and a clan of vengeful enemies. The Dark Elves had triumphed.
There is another way . . .
Old Eyjarr took the discouraging news calmly. Hadn't he seen defeat before, in other lives, in strand after strand of the Web of Life? But he knew that if he could thwart the curse of the Dark Elves even once, that infernal curse would finally disappear fom all the strands, for all time. The trick, Eyjarr assured his astonished pupil, would be to learn from their mistakes - and to search again for the one, improbable strand where a couple of clever wizards could cheat an implacable fate.