The great warrior Bran has been called home from the battlefield to his mother's deathbed, where he vows to solve the strange mystery surrounding what fatally attacked her in the night. He travels to the Crossroads, seeking the wise counsel of Talhaiarn, high priest and advisor to his clan, where he learns similar attacks have been reported by clans to the north and east.
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In the aftermath of the Battle of the Crossroads, Bran convinces the few warriors who remain to gather their families and live as one clan under his leadership. Together they abandon their villages and unite under a new sigil - the Sacred Oak of the Crossroads - no longer referring to themselves as Easterners, Northerners, or Southerners but simply as "Oaks."
The last of the Romans have left Britannia, leaving greedy and ruthless men to seize power and rip the land asunder. Without the discipline of Rome to stop them, relentless Picts come down from the North to raid her settlements while boatloads of Saxons sail west from Germania to pillage her shores. Grown soft with nearly five generations of Roman order, most men in Brython are unable to defend their homes against the ever-growing threats from all sides. But there is hope.