The break-up of the Kingdom is threatened under King Vladimir VI. The noble houses of DeMordrey, direct descendants of Morgast I, of Oblividon in the east and of Mascarell in the southwest compete for succession to the throne and divide the Kingdom into separate, self-sufficient baronies whose only duty of obedience is to the King himself. In the family of Vladimir DeMordrey, the Dark Elves find willing allies and together they cast a shadow of intrigue and assassinations over the Kingdom, during which the houses of Oblividon, Ransenmar and Wiedenfeld, among others, are destroyed. However, Vladimir's reign of terror stretches further. The persecution of the Mages is not confined to the Barony of DeMordrey; they are hunted as renegades throughout the entire Kingdom. On the intercession of Baroness Magdalena of Mascarell, Vladimir calls a halt to the persecution and executions and deports the sorcerers to the furthest regions of the dark moors in the east. Here, they are forced to endure a miserable and dangerous existence. To pay for this act of mercy, Magdalena of Mascarell has to marry Vladimir's son Alexor, who then shortly strikes his young bride dead in a fit of rage.