In MILAS’ village, society is divided between hunters and gatherers. The hunters scavenge for food beyond the village walls, respected for their bravery. Gatherers serve every other function from blacksmith to baker. All Milas wants is to be a hunter like his older brother, ARAM. Insulated within the Great Forest, clans dominate village politics, families connected by blood as well as their bonds to various animal spirits: eagle, snake, bear, rabbit and more. Turning fifteen, Milas embarks on his bonding test to determine if he inherits his family’s rabbit bond, gaining all the abilities of the animal in agility and wit. But he fails during the last challenge when he cannot bring himself to kill an injured rabbit.
Milas adapts to his life as a gatherer. Only he’s different from other gatherers. Despite having failed the test, he bonded with the rabbit spirit, and the villagers shun him for it. But shortly after Aram sets out on a hunt, the village is attacked. Worse, Aram never returns. That leaves Milas as one of the last survivors of his clan, which prompts the village council ― of which his grandfather and only surviving relative is the leader ― to hold him against his will. But Aram means the world to Milas, so he escapes to find his brother. Pursued by hunters, he flees into the Great Forest, only to be captured by two of the invaders. Together, they journey to First City, a massive settlement whose expansion rests on having conquered smaller villages like Milas’.
Once there, Milas is sold off to fight in an arena for sport. He barely survives his first fight and upon victory, he is taken to meet the BLESSED ONE, the settlement’s young ruler. Milas runs into his grandfather at the gathering and learns his village is to be absorbed by First City. Nights later, a hunter sneaks into Milas’ cage and they stage a temporary escape under the cover of night, knowing that they must return before daybreak or risk capture. While out, the hunter convinces Milas to help murder the second highest ranking member of the Blessed One’s council. Proving himself reliable, the council member who purchased Milas reveals himself to be the leader of a growing rebellion. Milas learns another rebel is the daughter of the man who captured Milas, AZURA. In the encounter, they reveal a plan to strike during the coming celebration for the Blessed One. In the weeks leading up to the event, they train Milas.
To mark the celebration, Milas steps into arena with nineteen other warriors. But just before the fight, the Blessed One executes Milas’ councillor, the leader of the rebellion. Worse, the warrior that kills the councillor is Aram. The battle begins and Milas realizes the plan is no more. Taking matters into his own hands, he begins launching weapons at the Blessed One, throwing the event into chaos. The resistance springs to Milas’ defence and the ensuing battle causes echoes of rebellion to sprout all over First City. Under the Blessed One’s control, Aram attacks and beats Milas, but their grandfather steps in, sacrificing himself. The Blessed One flees and Milas also escapes, only to be captured by rebels once the battle is won. Imprisoned, he learns that Aram died, and that the rebels sought not to free the city, but to control it. Azura reveals herself to be the mastermind behind the rebellion, their true leader all along.