Seventeen-year-old Tomasu lives in a remote mountain village,some of whose residents - including his mother - are members of the Hidden, a clandestine, peaceful religious sect. He has never met his father. One day, while Tomasu is out collecting mushrooms, a band of Tohan warriors descends upon and massacres the village. Tomasu confronts the warriors, but is rescued by the mysterious Lord Otori, who changes the boy's name to Takeo, and wants to adopt him. As Takeo learns to read, and to fight with sword and pole, on and off horseback, he does not realize that he is the center of a bloody intrigue... until it is almost too late.