Freed from the grip of mad King Aerys II, Westeros emerges from a bloody civil war as Robert Baratheon attempts to bring a lasting peace to the Seven Kingdoms. In spite of the promises of justice and prosperity for all, this perilous time is marked by the political maneuvering of ambitious nobles and foul plots hatched in secret councils. Villains are rewarded for dark deeds and honest men are brought low for old loyalties. Conspiracies abound, the wind carries rumors of war, and the Great Houses struggle to find their places in this new regime. And all the while an ancient evil stirs in the far-flung reaches of the north.