After the time of the legends, the tale of the Guardians returns to the present in which the hero Soren must train a new king. Coryn, Soren, and the Band preside over a new golden age of the Great Tree under the subtle influence of the ember. All seems well, but beneath the prosperity of peace, Coryn is tortured by the suspicion that his evil mother, Nyra, is a hagsfiend and that his own blood carries the haggish taint. He wanders afar, searching for the truth from hagsfiends themselves--putting the Great Tree in danger. Soren and the Band follow their new king to strange parts to guard him from the consequences of his obsession.