When the goddess of magic was murdered, Elminster’s world shattered. Once the most powerful wizard in the world, immortal, beloved of the goddess of magic, and the bane of villainy, he is now a tired old man. He is powerful but mortal, and with all the enemies a man who makes a habit of saving the world tends to accumulate. To make matters worse, Elminster has needs - feeding powerful magic items to the Simbul, his lover, is the only thing that keeps her sane - but their increasingly risky collection leads his enemies right to him.
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Elminster's archenemy, the vampiric Lord Manshoon, thinks he has destroyed Elminster at last. But Elminster survives in the form of magical ash, and with the help of his scion, a fop who is growing into a true nobleman, and his longtime companion Storm, he still has a chance to counter Manshoon's insidious plots.