In the city Castlecliff in the kingdom of Myrcia, Lukan Barra is an apprentice carpenter--until his evil brother Vearus returns from exile, having somehow acquired the means to heal wounds instantly and transform flesh; thus Vearus becomes Healer to Myrcia's negligent despot, the Sanctor Grouin. Then the irascible and numerous Skarrians invade Myrcia and soon are threatening to besiege Castlecliff. So Grouin declares the throne open to anyone who can enlist the aid of the Erseiyr, a mysterious, huge, winged, immortal creature that lives in the mountains on a bed of gold, tribute collected from the Myrcians in times past. After various adventures, Lukan becomes one of the ""questies"" (like Trekkies?) and eventually finds his way into the Erseiyr's cavern. Lukan and the Erseiyr, who is named Rizzix, chat dully (Bilbo's similar chat with Smaug has more bite) and reach an agreement: Rizzix yearns to sculpt but has no arms; Lukan will prevail upon Vearus and his elixir to graft some arms on to Rizzix, in exchange for the latter's help in expelling the Skarrians. The expected complications ensue before everything turns out all right in the end. Confused, predictable, overlong: a mediocre debut in all respects.