Written by Teri McLaren
Published by Harper Prism, 1996
Our story starts during the Brother's War, where the wizard Mishra leads an army of wizards against his wizard brother Urza's army of wizards! Eh... yeah. This does not fit with current continuity at all, but more on that later. For now all you need to know is that Urza summoned a cockatrice but can't control it. Mishra calls in his elite wizards, a group of songmages called The Cirlce. They try to kill the cockatrice, but there is a traitor in their midst who screws up the ritual, so they can only trap it. Mishra is delighted though, charging the head songmage, known as the Collector, with crafting a song that can release and control the creature. Knowing that the release of the creature will mean armageddon (Yes, cockatrice is the scariest creature ever according to this story), the mage actually makes a song that will use the crystals in a magical valley called the Chimes to kill the creature upon its release. But the traitor in the circle, called the Raptor, comes in and kills him before he can write all the instructions down correctly.
Cut to post-Ice Age Terisiare. The last member of the Circle, an archaeologist named Javin (it seems the Circle has since become some sort of mystery cult, as Javin shows no signs of being a songmage) and his adopted song Cheyne, are excavating a site which they hope is the final resting place of the Collector. They stumble on a corpse of a guy who couldn't pay of his debts with the local mobsters, who just happens to hold a totem with symbols on it similar to a totem Cheyne has. This triggers Cheyne to go and find out the truth about his birth parents. While investigating in the local city of
, he befriends a hobo, Ogwater, who just happens to be a down-on-his-luck songmage, and just happens to be in love with the local lady mob boss, Riolla. Ogwater, agrees
to guide Cheyne to the Chimes, where the local elves might be able to translate
the symbols on the two totems. First they go and buy a map though. The girl
selling the map, Claria, just happens to be the niece of the guy whose corpse Cheyne and
Javin found, AND just happens to be a descendant of the Collector (unbeknownst to the characters) AND just happens to be the ex of the local
ruler, who put her aside to marry Riolla. You are probably already getting my
main problem with this book. Anyway, Riolla has Claria's shop burned down.
Claria then decides to tag along with Cheyne and Ogwater. Sumifa