First Prologue In a place difficult for humans to find, a man, of sortsit amused him to go by the name of Adam Black among mortalsapproached a silk-canopied dais and knelt before his queen. "My queen, The Compact is broken." Aoibheal, queen of the Tuatha De Danaan, was silent for a longtime. When finally she turned to her consort, her voice dripped ice. "Summon the council." Second Prologue Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, there settled in Ireland a race called the Tuatha De Danaan who, over time, became known as the True Race or the Fairy. An advanced civilization from a faraway world, the Tuatha De Danaan educated some of the more promising humans they encountered in Druid ways. For a time, man and fairy shared the earth in peace, but sadly, bitter dissension arose between them, and the Tuatha De Danaan decided to move on. Legend claims they were driven "under the hills" into "fairy mounds." The truth is they never left our world, but hold their fantastic court in places difficult for humans to find. After the Tuatha De Danaan left, the human Druids warred among themselves for power. Thirteen of their once faithful Druids turned to dark ways and-thanks to what the Tuatha De Danaan had taught them-nearly destroyed the earth. The Tuatha De Danaan emerged from their hidden places and stopped the battle moments before the Druids succeeded in damaging the earth beyond repair. They stripped the Druids of their power, scattering them to the far corners of the earth. They punished the thirteen who'd turned dark by casting them into a place between dimensions, locking their immortal souls in an eternal prison. The Tuatha De Danaan then selected a noble bloodline, the Keltar, to use the sacred knowledge to rebuild and nurture the land. Together they negotiated The Compact: the treaty governing cohabitation of their races. The Keltar swore many oaths to the Tuatha De Danaan, first and foremost that they would never use the power of the standing stones-which give the man who knows the sacred formulas the ability to move through space and time-for personal gain or political ends. The Tuatha De Danaan pledged many things in return, first and foremost that they would never spill the lifeblood of a mortal. Both races have long abided by the pledges made that day. Over the ensuing millennia, the MacKeltar journeyed to Scotland and settled in the Highlands above what is now called Inverness. Although most of their ancient history from the time of their involvement with the Tuatha De Danaan has melted into the mists of their distant past and been forgotten, and although there is no record of a Keltar encountering a Tuatha De Danaan since then (giving rise to speculation that the ancient race no longer exists), they have never strayed from their sworn purpose. Pledged to serve the greater good of the world, no MacKeltar has ever broken his sacred oath. On the few occasions they have opened a gate to other times within the circle of stones, it has been for the noblest of reasons: to protect the earth from great peril. An ancient legend holds that if a MacKeltar breaks his oath and uses the stones to travel through time for personal purposes, the myriad souls of the darkest Druids trapped in the in-between will claim him and make him the most evil, terrifyingly powerful Druid humankind has ever known. In the fifteenth century, twin brothers Drustan and Dageus MacKeltar are born. As their ancestors before them, they protect the ancient tore, nurture the land, and guard the coveted secret of the standing stones. Honorable men, without corruption, Dageus and Drustan serve faithfully. Until one fateful night, in a moment of blinding griefMoning, Karen Marie is the author of 'Dark Highlander' with ISBN 9780440237556 and ISBN 0440237556.