Nerris, Dist and Jhareth are three boys from Oak Forest who want something better than their lives as common folk. They have come all the way to the city of Orrigo, the location of the famed fighting school Gauntlet. It is a place that has produced many of the best warriors in Tormalia, and they aim to be among them.
However, the realities of the situation soon set in. Nerris, Dist and Jhareth have no money for tuition, and go about getting it by any means necessary. An antique collector taps them to steal an old idol from the home of the city's ruler, Lord Gaviel Feigh. The boys quickly get more than they bargained for as they come to know the meaning of an old adage:
It's nice to look up at the sky, but watch where you're stepping.