Five friends, all of whom have grown up after The Great Mutiny, seek adventure. They are tired of living under the Top Three's rule at Fiddlers Lake in Lander, WY. They grow so sick of their nefarious leadership that they plan an escape. Something that just so happens to be highly illegal and punishable by death.
Since the Great Mutiny twenty years ago, which is when a majority of the settlement fled into the mountains, the leaders of The Order have set up watchtowers and patrolmen around the entire perimeter of the settlement. Doing so to prevent anyone from leaving their settlement and possibly finding salvation elsewhere. Because the Top Three know they need as many humans as possible to eradicate the Stigmata from the face of the Earth.
Those who fled long ago during The Great Mutiny come to be known by everyone at Fiddlers Lake as Mutineers. All of whom have a bounty on their head and are to be killed on sight by any Orderman lucky enough to catch them. A situation that has only revealed itself once in nearly two decades. Only a single unlucky soul becoming a victim to such fates.
Now back to our friends. Each of them are related in some way or another to the leaders of The Order. Even though they are related to the leaders of the settlement, it does not mean they are exempt from their laws.
Mutiny is one of the worst crimes in the Top Threes' eyes. As stated before, each of the Mutineers are to be killed on sight. An order that even the Top Threes' own kin, if they are to ever be labeled with such a despicable moniker, will feel the wraith of.
Not all hope is lost though, for the Top Three throw a ‘Winter’s Night’ celebration every winter solstice. The friends merely take advantage of such an event in order to hatch their escape. They know full well that all of the guardsmen will be inebriated, which gives them the perfect opportunity. An opportunity they will use to flee late in the night after the drunkards are out cold.
After such an escape, the freshly christened Mutineers head to the Wind River Ranges. They are certain they will find salvation up north toward Valentine Lake, for the map Roland had found a few weeks prior has a smudge there with a symbol one can only associate with the fabled Stigmata. (You too can follow the Mutineers on their journey by utilizing the maps located at the beginning of every chapter in the book. Go even further in depth by downloading Google Earth on your PC, laptop, or even your smartphone and search for the locations mentioned in the book.)
As they begin their way up into the mountains, it does not take long for the Mutineers to encounter other humans. For just passed Tayo Park, the group encounters a group of four burly men camping. All of whom are adorned with hats. Each of which bare the insignia of the Stigmata from the Mutineers' fathers' lore.
Not long after their initial encounter, the Mutineers are deemed as hostile entities by the apparent Stigmatamen. To resolve their differences, the Stigmatamen challenge the Mutineers to face their Elders' obstacle course. If they succeed, the Stigmatamen promise to take the group of Mutineers to their infamous Stigmata hideout and introduce them to their Elders; of whom they speak so highly.
They are then led to the Stigmata’s coveted Elders’ training course: Castra Salutem. A course that just so happens to be designed specifically for the legendary Chosen from the Judex Sapiens’ lore. However, once the Stigmatamen discover the youthful ages of the Mutineers, only Roland is tested due to him being the oldest of the group, as well as the group’s chosen leader.
Roland is forced to face obstacles that range from barbed wire fields to ginormous mechanical beasts that suddenly come to life before his eyes. He certainly must use every ounce of cunningness and strength to defeat the dreaded obstacles at Castra Salutem. Only for him to be lead directly into the Enchanted Forest after defeating the hellish course, where his mental and physical fortitudes are tested on all fronts.
Once Roland passes the tests, the group of Mutineers is lead back to the Stigmata caverns. On their way, they camp out overnight in the mystical Life Valley. Only to wake up the next day and spot a group of Ordermen hot on their trail.
Upon coming to the realization of their current situation, the young adventurers are quickly led to the caverns and introduced to the first two Elders: Hervald, and Noslen. However, one thing leads to another and the group is forced to confront the notorious Cutthroats, who just so happen to be the Top Three’s second-in-command. They are out scouting for the Mutineers. Doing so under the orders to bring them back dead or alive. Basically, however they manage to find them.
Several disastrous events transpire and the group is lead into a battle to the death. A battle the Stigmatamen win without contest due to their superior technology. Because with Roland’s Sowilo Spear in tow, there is nothing that can hinder his spirits. Especially when such a weapon has the ability to heal him with the organic materials it absorbs from his foes.
After the Ordermen are taken care of, the group splits up. But only after the Elders tell the guardsmen of their past work with the military under Proditor’s reign. Speaking of the blasphemous actions they committed long ago. Ones that contradict everything the Elders have ever told their loyal guards.
Such divulgences lead to the guards scolding their blessed Elders and disowning them before fleeing back to the caverns. Apparently distraught along their course. For the men curse the Elders their entire way home.
Instead of getting hung up over such trite matters, the Elders lead the Mutineers back to Valentine Lake where they proceed to pull a pencil-looking device from their pocket. With the press of a button, the pencil morphs into a full-size fishing rod complete with rod, reel, and line. With rod in tow, the Elders perform a show in a means to get their bait and cast their lines. Only to get a bite instantaneously upon their lively earthworms hitting the water.
Both of the Elders manage to reel in humungous sturgeons. Such being what they deem the name Sagaciafish. Due to the Sagacians taking control of the fish’s being and manipulating it to speak for them. Only to incoherently garble out ominous premonitions to the group about death and salvation.
With the fish in tow, the group heads back to the caverns, but only after Zakaria and Adelia storm off after Noslen insults Zakaria. Storming off only to be confronted by Betty the moose, who just so happens to be over five yards tall. It is a hulking beast indeed.
But still, Zakaria shows his fighting prowess as he wards off the beast from his lovely Adelia, who launches arrow after arrow into its chest. Gallantly warding off the monstrous moose with naught but a set of knives. Of which he flails around in the air while haphazardly weaving in and out of the gaping hole beneath the beast’s ginormous underbelly.
Once the beast is scared away by Zakaria, who lacerates its face with his blade, the third Elder, Barnabus, presents himself. After some discussion into their pasts and more ominous revelations, the group heads back to the cavern. This time to be confronted by the angry guardsmen who ban the Elders from stepping foot inside of their own caverns.
A scuffle shortly ensues and once the tensions are properly dissipated with a couple swift brachial stuns, the Mutineers finally get to head into the caverns and relax. Only to do anything but. Because shortly after their arrival, the party begins. A party celebrating the arrival of the legendary Chosen. Of whom get to finally meet their brides-to-be. Brides that just so happen to be the Elders’ daughters…