The story opens in the Temple of Gdu during the annual Ceremony of Renewal. Tron, a young priest, witnesses the victory of the priests of Gdu over the old king. He experiences a vision, then removes a blue hawk, the totem bird of the great Hawk God, Gdu, from the temple. The bird was to have been sacrificed to renew the soul of the old king; instead, the priests kill the king. Tron becomes the keeper of the sacred blue hawk and as such cannot be harmed, but he discovers that the highly systematized priestly society now in charge of the kingdom will try to kill him indirectly.
As Tron trains the blue hawk, he runs into the son of the old king, who asks Tron to help him regain his rightful throne from the rigid priestly caste. Tron is frightened but intuitively believes in the king, even though, as a member of the priesthood, he has been thoroughly brainwashed. Tron also is a visionary, an attribute that makes him different from the dronelike priests with whom he lives.
Tron becomes the king’s messenger and begins a dangerous journey south to enlist certain individuals to help the new king overcome the powerful priests. Tron observes the terrible condition of parts of his country. The farther south he journeys, however, the happier people seem. When he reaches Kalakal, he understands that life can be lived in great simplicity and openness without the intrusiveness of the powerful priests. He meets a lovely girl, Taleel, who helps him contact the local leaders and the old high priest, Odah, one of the few people he can trust.
Tron and the blue hawk return to the kingdom of O and Aa to find that repression has become almost...
(The entire section is 680 words.)