John believes that it is his destiny to go to the Place of the Gods to gain knowledge. The preparation rituals he goes through with his father and the other priests prepare John for his Rite of Passage in becoming a man and future priest. The rising action of a story contains the introduction of the main conflict, in which case, it is John vs. himself. He must trust his intuition as he journeys to the Place of the Gods, and he watches for signs to indicate that his is a "good" journey. He sees an eagle heading east, as well as a family of deer. He also is able to kill a jaguar with one arrow, which is a sign to him that he is blessed by the gods in continuing on his path. He east the flesh of the jaguar and strengthens himself. By facing his internal conflict (his desire for knowledge), he is rewarded with learning the truth about the gods... that they were not gods at all, but men. Civilization had destroyed itself with its advances in technology and left radiation residing in metallic objects. Hence, anyone who'd touched metal soon after the war died from radiation poisoning. It became a legend that anyone who touches metal dies, yet the reason had been forgotten over time. The gods were the men time forgot.