Ren, a young lighthouse keeper, spies an old man foundering upon the rocks during a horrible storm and rescues him. The old man identifies himself as Primus, the former ruler of Octopon, and reveals that Ren is his son, a prince and heir to the throne. With his final breath the king says he's escaped the pirate lord Bloth and tells Ren to seek someone called Alomar. Ren's keeper, Jenna, presents him with his father's broken sword and tells him Alomar is in the Abbey of Galdobar. Before he can do anything, Ren is snatched by Niddler, a monkey-bird who carries him to Bloth's ship. Ren refuses to join with Bloth, so he is thrown into the Constrictus pit, but manages to escape with Niddler's help.
At the Abbey, Ren meets Alomar and is surprised to discover he is a dragon rather than a man. Ren learns of the Thirteen Treasures of Rule, which when reunited will restore his homeland of Octopon, and receives a magical Compass for finding them. Unfortunately Bloth arrives, and Ren is una
Aboard the Wraith, Ren awakes to the sight of Bloth's scout ships outside a porthole. Ioz and Tula are already topside, but can't stop arguing over the best way to elude Konk and his men. The scouts force the Wraith into a trap, then the Maelstrom makes its appearance. To avoid Bloth, Ren steers the ship into a cave, where the crew is captured by a race of pale warriors called the Atani. They are brought before King Obric, who doesn't believe their story until Ren shows him the First Treasure of Rule. At dinner Tula sneaks away to search through the library archives. The king gives Ren and crew some provisions, only to send his soldiers after them when he discovers Ioz and Tula have stolen from the palace. Ren makes them return the stolen items, but Tula secretly keeps one scroll she took from the library. Ren offers to bear their punishment, and King Obric is swayed by his nobility. Unfortunately Konk has slipped aboard the Wraith, and takes Obric hostage, demanding the Compa
Konk is tearing his ship apart and throwing the wreckage to slow down Ren and his crew, but he can't shake them. Finally he decides to lose them on the island of Pandawa. Niddler begs Ren not to go there, revealing that Pandawa is his home, where he was sold to Bloth as a slave. Meanwhile Tula has been studying a manifest from the Maelstrom (the scroll she kept from the Atani library) and finds the name "Teron" on it. In the Pandawa marketplace the slavers fend off a rebel attack by unveiling the captured monkey-bird Queen, who is dying of thirst. When Ren offers her a drink of water, he earns the respect of the monkey-birds and the wrath of the slave traders, but fortunately Ioz is there to pull him out of trouble. Niddler feels guilty for doing nothing while Ren risked his life, but Ren says it was his time to act, not Niddler's. Ioz and Tula track Konk to the home of Jargas, the leader of the slave trade. Jargas sends his soldiers after them, but the group escapes with the h
Ren and Niddler are captured in the bowels of the Maelstrom and brought before Bloth. However, he and Mantus are distracted with Dagron rider training and don't recognize them covered in borca paste from the crash. After ordering Teron, a captive ecomancer, to bring him clear skies for sailing, Bloth throws Ren and Niddler into the ship's dungeon. There Ren sees an old woman in a fight with another prisoner and tries to help her. The woman, Avagon, recognizes Ren's broken sword and, after testing him, sees that he is Primus' son. Avagon tells Ren she was once Primus' trusted aide, helping him to gather the first seven Treasures of Rule. When their ships were attacked by Bloth, rather than let the Treasures fall into his hands, Primus sent his seven most trusted captains to hide them again. In retaliation, Bloth destroyed Octopon. Avagon helps Ren and Niddler escape into the sewers.
Meanwhile, Ioz and Tula pursue Konk and the Lugg Brothers to Janda-Town. They catch up to him in
From his cell, Teron tries to warn Bloth of his visions of the approaching Dark Water, but he is only interested in getting the Compass from Tula. Bloth throws Konk into the pit where Ren and Niddler are hiding. When the Constrictus attacks, Konk helps them fight it off and trap it, but Ren is stung in the process and quickly weakens from the poison. Konk escapes (to a crew angry over losing their bets to Mantus), and Niddler takes Ren back to Avagon for healing. Bloth orders Teron to calm the seas or forfeit the Andorus soil bed he needs to live. Ioz and Zoolie recover from the gassing, and Ioz vows revenge on Tula for her treachery. Ren has a fever dream in which his father speaks to him but transforms into Bloth, gloating that he will control the Dark Water if Ren fails. Ren recovers and learns of Avagon's planned uprising against Bloth. Tula meets with Bloth in his quarters and gives him the Compass in exchange for gold. Ren and Niddler spot her topside, and Tula's true in