The Standing Dead : At the heart of The Three Lands, there is a paradise, filled with beauty and wonders of all kinds. A lush and vibrant place, it stands in sharp contrast to the baseness and squalor of the world outside the walls of Osrakum. But this beauty comes at a cost. The Masters who rule the world are driven by sadistic dreams and mythic charms. They use their vast powers to leech the resources of the world unto themselves, to create an artificial haven where they play out twisted games of power amid a decadent splendor. Within the inner circle of power lies a glittering court where the royal houses plot vile atrocities, and madness and bestiality hold sway. The Masters are nothing less than gods in this realm and their plans (or whims) can bring either perfect pleasure . . . or death. Young Carnelian has spent his entire life in exile with his father, a nobleman who rejected the evil ways of his people and fled to the ends of the known world. But forces conspired to change all that, and Carnelian has returned to his homeland. He is a sheep among wolves, and it has taken every ounce of his strength to resist the temptations of power that threaten to seduce his very soul.