Alberich had spent most of his youth in the Karsite military schools training to be an officer. At thirteen he had been chosen from among the male children of Karse by the most powerful priests, the Voices of Vkandis Sunlord. Strong of body, quick of mind, but also lowborn--and therefore grateful to the Voices for the opportunity he had been given--he was the perfect candidate for officer training. And for Alberich there was no other place to go, no way to get into a trade, no hope for any but the most menial of jobs--no way for the bastard son of a tavern whore to advance in Karse except in the army. Knowing this, he had left his loving but impoverished mother, never to see her again.
Alberich had risen in the ranks with almost unnatural speed. He had developed expertise in many weapons with an ease that was the envy of his classmates, and picked up his lessons in academic subjects with what seemed to be little or no effort. But in fact, the reclusive Alberich studied long and hard, pushing himself ruthlessly. This lean, tall, hawk-faced young man got up before dawn for extra exercise, spent all his spare time practicing against older boys, and studied by the light of Vkandis' lamps in the Temple until the priests came in for midnight prayers.
In battle, Alberich had an uncanny way of knowing what the enemy's next move would be, and when and from where the attack would come. He had always had a sort of "sixth sense" about things which were about to happen. Instinctively, he hid this ability with the utmost care, for the Sunpriests kept careful watch for anyone exhibiting the "demon powers" which were the hallmark of Karse's greatest enemy--the witch-nation of Valdemar. Those they caught were "cleansed" in the fires of Vkandis Sunlord.
Both Alberich's skill and secret served him well in the army of Karse, and when his cavalry captain was killed during a skirmish with bandits at the border, Alberich was honored by a Voice, becoming one of the youngest captains in the army of Karse. And with this commission came a gift--a handsome white stallion "liberated from the enemy" and reputedly bred by the barbaric Shin'a'in nomads. But both the commission and the horse came with burdens of their own. Alberich had been promoted ahead of two older and more seasoned officers. It did not matter that those other two together hadn't been half as effective as Alberich had been alone--those men would want revenge. And riding a white stallion, no matter how powerful its gait and excellent its temperament, made him feel as if he had a target on his back.
But these problems were merely distractions, for the Voices had laid a trap which even Alberich's strange foresight could not predict...
Alberich is unwillingly taken to Valdemar, where he recovers from his injuries. When he recovers, he is informed by King's Own Talamir that he is now a Herald Trainee. Alberich had been taught that Heralds were demons along with their "Hellhorses" - the Companions. Alberich now has to deal with this fact, as well as the realization that he no longer can return to Karse. A priest of Vkandis and his acolyte are able to help Alberich accept matters in Valdemar as they had fled from Karse as well. Alberich settles into life at the Collegium as the Weaponsmaster's Second. Alberich is later made the bodyguard of Princess Selenay and accompanies her when she does her circuit training at the courts in the city.
Karse and Valdemar have been at war for generations, and Karse hired a nation of mercenaries not tied to the Mercenary Guild to fight on their behalf. Alberich helps Valdemar fight what are later known as the Tedrel Wars. Alberich uses his connections in the Karsite military to acquire intelligence on the Tedrel mercenaries as the battles go on season after season. In a dramatic final battle, Valdemaran forces fight the entire nation of Tedrel mercenaries. When all seems lost, King Sendar, Selenay's father, rushes into battle and is killed. King's Own Talamir loses his Companion, Taver, as well and another King's Own Companion named Rolan arrives to pull him out of his grief. Selenay becomes queen, and a funeral procession is arranged for Sendar to return to the capitol city of Haven. Upon his return, Alberich is made full Weaponsmaster, the old one deciding to retire, and he finally settles into his new life in Valdemar.