Nissa is the smallest cobra born of an aging queen. Her size, unmarked hood, and dull scales are the subject of much torment from her siblings. All of the the royal slither have been schooled by One-Fang, the oldest and wisest cobra, for one of them will rise to become the new queen. Despairing, Nissa chooses to follow the path taken by her teacher in his youth and venture forth amongst men. She is ill prepared for what she finds there, but even more so for what she learns about herself when she is forced to return home.