The moment he saw the crystal mask and the evil it held, he knew his world was in danger once more.

The Battle of the Murlee had been over for twenty years, and the dangers that Rialle, Frenn, and Kherron had lived through were just another dry lecture in a boring Isle History class. But that evil had not left their world, and fragments of a dark, threatening song sometimes came whispering in the wind.

But it wasn’t just dark song fragments Renn could hear. He could also hear the songs of the Half Creatures, beings neither human nor animal, but part of both. And when sailors brought the wild girl who claimed she had been living with unicorns—even though everyone knew they weren’t real—Renn was the only one who could understand her strange speech. He had always hidden his ability to hear the Murlee, but two students in his class had learned about it, and teased him unmercifully.

When all three of them were caught outside the walls without permission, they told the First and Second Singers Renn’s secret, hoping to get him labeled as one of the Crazies. If they hadn’t mentioned Renn’s ability, things in their world might have been very different. For their words began a chain of events that, like an avalanche, once started, was impossible to stop.