Katara, a young shifter ranger, has answered the call of duty when her country, Goshin, is invaded by an army of unknown metal men. She had become restless after the appearance of the mark on her left shoulder. This decision has created a rift between her and her tribal group.
In the two months she has served, she has made one real friend, the eccentric mercenary, Trajen Blue. Trajen’s stories of far off battlefields and strange places delight the girl. The fact that he bears a similar mark makes her feel comforted and less like an outsider. Using a break in the camp duties, Trajen has Katara guide him to a meeting with a contact.
Upon arriving they see the contact dead, lying in the dirt of the road, still clutching her messenger bag. As they approach, five of the metal invaders reveal themselves. The battle is complicated by the appearance of two purple skinned elves.
The battle goes in our heroes favor and Katara grabs the bag. She makes it back to Trajen, with a flash they are now standing together in a grass plain. In the distance a great metal beast runs between great floating stones that lightning dances between.
“Where are we?” Katara asks numbly.
“Dyst, a back woods world. Things are bad if this is where the White Crow wanted me.” The White Crow featured prominently in many of his stories. Katara opens the bag to find only blank paper. She hands it to Trajen and writing appears. This leads directs them to head for the city of Talisar.