Jeco is a 12-year-old blacksmith's apprentice. His parents are dead, and Dalian the blacksmith treats him as family. Jeco spends his days helping in the smithy, picking mushrooms in the nearby forest, and reading his beloved books. His best friend, a huge golden-yellow dog Gart, follows him everywhere.
One day Jeco is visited by an elgur, a spiritual being, normally invisible but able to show himself to humans and communicate with them. The elgur tells Jeco that he must go to the capital city of Kanavar and join the king's service in order to prevent the coming war. He gives no specific directions except for a vague clue: in the palace, Jeco must find someone referred to as “the Unarmed Warrior, the Unlit Fire.” This person, when found, will help Jeco with his mission. The elgur also warns the boy that his journey will not be easy.
Dalian the blacksmith thinks that this sudden idea to go to Kanavar is crazy, but when he sees that he cannot talk Jeco out of it he decides to join him. Dalian, Jeco, and of course Gart set off to Kanavar. Very soon, Jeco sees how true the elgur's warning was. It is important that Jeco arrives at the palace no later than in two weeks, and the dark powers are doing everything to stop him. First, a haughty young lord, angered by a minor incident, orders his servants to lock Jeco up in the tower. With Gart's help, Jeco runs away. Then a group of vagabonds gets Dalian drunk and robs the two travelers. When investigation begins, it is discovered that the nice pair of boots Dalian had bought back home for a suspiciously cheap price is listed as stolen. Unable to prove that they are not the thieves, Jeco and Dalian go to jail, and then to the iron mines.
Jeco is only sentenced to one month, probably because of his age. It is not very long, but he will be delayed, and it worries him. He serves his term, working hard – too hard, as it turns out: Mr. Shmag, the mines overseer, like Jeco as a worker and wants to keep him. He offers him generous pay; when Jeco refuses to stay, he is kept by force. His attempt to escape fails and only makes things worse: Jeco is thrown in the dungeon.
An elgur appears again. This time, the elgur does not simply come and go, he is sent to help Jeco out and make sure the boy safely reaches Kanavar. The elgur takes on a physical form, disguising himself as a tall masked man. Together, the elgur and Jeco leave the iron mines and continue the journey.
This report prepared by Laura Southcombe