When fifteen year old Drake was born, they called him boneless. Destined to die for what his clan called an abnormality, the love of his mother saved him. But growing up with a weak bone disease meant he cannot fight, hunt, joust, or draw a blood-sigil that has become a custom for every kid. Considered a weakling by many including his family, Drake knows his only chance is to succeed in the annual rite of passage, but he lacks the strong arm to swing an axe or the fortitude to grip a shield. When a chance encounter leads him to a cave, he finds an old woman with a secret of all things that turns in the dark. As the bells toll and the rites begins, the best are first to fall and worst, eager to impress. The Emperor is watching. A whole world has come to witness. The journey is treacherous but Drake knows in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rules, the line between withering and surviving is truly thin.