Stark and a dying friend of his have made camp in the wilderness. The friend gives Stark a talisman to return to his native city, where he stole it.
Before he can even leave, he is found by raiders and brought, captive, to an army about to attack that city. Its leader has him flogged to try to get the talisman from him, but he escapes.
It involves the leader's secret, Stark's being vouched for by a thief, a belt that someone else knows the secret of, lying about the theft, valiant attempts at battle, an old city, and more