In Chapter 1, Daniel encounters Joel bar Hezron and his sister, Malthace, on the mountain.
When he sees Joel and Malthace, Daniel wonders about their reasons for climbing up the mountain. Nevertheless, he can't help showing himself to the brother and sister, as he has not seen anyone from the valley in five years. The siblings are initially wary until Daniel introduces himself. Joel recognizes Daniel's name as belonging to a boy who ran away from Amalek, the blacksmith, a few years ago. He tells Daniel that no one blames him for running away; after all, Amalek mistreats his apprentices.
Daniel asks about his grandmother and his sister, Leah, but Joel does not know anything about them. However, Malthace is able to tell Daniel that his grandmother goes to the village well in the mornings. Leah, on the other hand, is reported to be housebound, and no one has seen her recently. Daniel then asks the siblings to send his regards to one Simon the Zealot and to inform Simon that he lives on the mountain.
While sharing lunch with the siblings, Daniel confesses that he belongs to Rosh's rebel group of Zealots. Joel admits that he is studying to be a rabbi and is learning the sandal-making trade as well. As they eat, the young teens spot a line of Legionaries marching in the valley. Both Daniel and Joel voice their disgust at seeing their Roman oppressors. Yet, both also believe that the Jews will soon have a deliverer who will free them from the chains of foreign rule.
While Joel initially believed that a Messiah will be on hand to deliver the Jews, he now shares the same conviction as Daniel that it would take 'real men, trained and armed and ready' to fight off their Roman masters. Seeing his excitement and his resolve, Daniel invites Joel to join him and Rosh's rebel group of Zealot soldiers. The chapter ends with Ebol (one of Rosh's sentries) blocking the siblings' way back down to the valley.