In the ten years since three of the four Ascendants of Estorea saved the Empire from certain destruction, some things have changed for the gifted young people who have been born with the power to control the elements. But not everything has changed, and not all that has changed has been for the better.
In Cry Of The Newborn, the first of James Barclay's two-part series about the Roman-like Empire of Estorea, The Ascendants Of Estorea, we met four children with exceptional abilities and watched them grow into their power as full-fledged Ascendants by the time they were teenagers. Each could directly communicate with the energy patterns of the earth, allowing them to control the elements.
Arducius worked best with the wind, Mirron with fire, Ossacer was a pain-seeker or healer, and Gorian was able to control animals and plants. While all could do "works" in each other's area, they each had a specialty, the one power that was dominant when they were born. They had been taught that theirs were gifts from the Omniscient, and to be used for the betterment of all people. So they healed sick plants, people, and animals, called rain to arid fields, and pushed reluctant ships against the current.
But their very existence was seen by the officials of the church, specifically its chancellor, as an offense before the God and it was decreed that they should be burned at the stake as heretics. Fear of the unknown can be a deadly weapon, and in the early days the church was able to whip the people into a frenzy against the Ascendants and they were forced to flee their homes to undertake a perilous journey to survive.
Survive they did, but at a cost; they lost Gorian to his own worst instincts. Away from the guidance of his elders he gave into his lust for power and the belief that he was a superior being. He raped Mirron and killed a friend, and only the remnants of familial feelings the other three had for him saved him from being killed. They hoped abandonment would cause him more harm, but instead it strengthened him and stiffened his resolve for revenge on the living.