The gods have fled! In the wake of this greatest of cataclysms, the world of Oerstra has succumbed to a long foundering such as no age has ever seen before. Now, scattered across the western lands—divided, swollen in number, bereft of direction—the remnant peoples have all but forgotten the grandeur of ancient times when their forefathers, laboring under their divine masters, were yet strong, complete, and happy in their task. In their stead, a blind, loud, voracious sprawl eats away at the verdant richness of the realms of Oerstra—and nobody knows why.
Centuries into this era is born Talathastro Maslor, a middle-class boy of Naug Faloth whose nature is at odds with his surroundings. Driven by a passion for adventure and higher life, he longs to go out and up. But is there anywhere for one such as he to go? Is adventure any longer even possible? Joined by his friend, Patyr, a ragtag orphan, Talathastro defies all propriety and steps forth to find out, eventually entangling Patyr and himself in an outlandish conflict between two demi-gods of the primordial past: the dark-robed Rangillion and the scarlet-robed Helior, who for reasons peculiar to each linger still upon the earth—persons of power who hold opposing plans for the descendants of forsaken humanity.
In many unforeseeable ways, Talathastro's involvement with these ancient foes ends up setting history upon a new course, one that will recall the might of the ancient world and ratify his love for a renowned theater-woman—a course for the ages that will be proclaimed The Glorious Path.