Allister Caine has always been an enigma and an outsider among the warcasters of Cygnar, but few are privy to his true motivations or his complicated past.... Born into poverty, Allister Caine did what he must to survive, and the choices he made have followed him like a vengeful specter throughout his life. Now, just months after the Lion's Coup and his full commission as a warcaster, he has been secretly assigned by Scout General Rebald to investigate plots against King Leto in lands just north of the Bloodsmeath Marsh.
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His blind fury is infamous, his strength without rival, but the legend of the man known as the Butcher of Khardov was forged in a crucible of pain.... The legacy of the massacre near Boarsgate at the hand of the warcaster Orsus Zoktavir has followed him his whole life - but it is another memory that fuels both his rage and his will to live. Before he was one of Khador's most potent weapons he was simply a young man striving to make a life for himself, and for his beloved, free of the violence that came so easily to him.
Returning from the remote continent of Zu, the crew of the Talion is stricken by a mysterious plague. When Captain Shae goes ashore on a small island to find medicinal plants to treat his men, Mercarian League mercenaries ambush him, and their ships, fast and deadly pirate hunters, close in on the Talion. In a desperate bid to outrun or outgun the Mercarian vessels, the Talion takes to open waters.