Littlebrook. Eldred's father, King Alban, is dying, mortally wounded with a stomach wound. It will surely kill him but will take weeks to do so. The local druid is summoned but will not come; however he sends 15 year old Eldred a letter telling him how to cure his father. Lynna, Eldred's childhood sweetheart, tells them not to go , but Eldred and his best friend Caerdic travel into the Great Desert in search of a rare plant to cure his father. A terrible storm uncovers a stone tablet which Caerdic reads. As the storm intensifies Eldred begs Caerdic to take shelter but his friend is determined to continue to read the tablet. Lightning strikes down at the tablet and Eldred saves Caerdic, pushing him out the way, but Eldred's right hand is destroyed in the process. The boys still manage to find the rare plant and save King Alban.