DISOWNED by her family. EJECTED from a life of privilege to one of abject servitude. FORCED to participate in a duel with only two results: death for the loser, power for the victor. After watching her brother, Artka, march off to war against Ecclessa, Jeda is unexpectedly forced from her family home. Sentenced to a life of service, she is sent to the courts of the Emperor. Jeda fears she will be forced to a life of drudgery--or worse. But when Jeda is scrutinized by the sinister Hod-ya she soon learns that she has been selected for the deadly "Scarth and Avangar" duels in Pitland. Jeda must either submit to Hod-ya's depraved training and learn to draw on dark powers to fight, or resist the pressure to conform and allow herself to be victimized. Will Logon Xychirion intervene and send a brigade to attempt Jeda's rescue? Jeda's journey INTO THE GLOOM takes her from the emperor's dungeons through the menacing Ra-Amawl forest where an ancient evil roams, and ultimately toward the foul, depraved land of Pitland. Jeda soon discovers that evil is even more prevalent and powerful than she could have imagined. How can those who hope in goodness survive, much less overcome, wickedness?