eenager Nick Stanford went to Anieth with his twin brother, Leo, and lived for eight years inside of King Raol, the Red Ash King. Raol was a traitor, a man who hated everyone, and was icy cold with bitter resentment. He finally died, shot down by poisoned darts as the woods burned around him. Nick was helpless, a captive inside of Raol's head, unable to help the King or to escape him. When Nick and Leo returned to Earth with the other players, Leo could not wait to go back to Anieth and play his heroic King Tuama. As the day of their departure for Anieth drew nearer, Nick shut down, unable to sleep for the nightmares of being burned alive. No one understood; no one cared; no one else had a bad experience. His uncle called him weak, his brother called him a coward. Then Leo came up with an idea. They would return to Anieth early, before the other players. Nick would have a chance to change Raol, not when the King was forty, but when the Prince was only seventeen. In a fit of enthusiasm Nick agreed, only to find himself trapped again in Raol, now faced with the task of killing the Serpent King.