Long ago people came from beyond the sky and landed on Gorth. There they raised the humanoid natives out of the wild state and led them to develop a civilization analogous to that of Medieval Europe. Then they went away, leaving behind a few of their number, memories, and a small population of cross-breeds. Kincar s’Rud is one of those cross-breeds. Part native and part Star Lord, he has assumed that he will inherit the throne of a small fief when his grandfather dies. Instead, his grandfather bestows upon him the livery of a Star Lord and warns him to leave Styr Holding immediately, because his uncle intends to kill him in order to take the throne for himself.
Riding his larng Cim, the four-eyed analogue of a horse, and accompanied by his pterodactyl-like hunting mord, Vorken, he leaves the only world he has known, following a map that his grandfather gave him. Falling in with a party of cross-breeds and a Star Lord, he helps them fight off outlaws and follows them through a pair of luminous webs to another Gorth. As they pass through the Star Gate Kincar is burned by an amulet, a Tie, that he wears. Joined by others, the group takes refuge in an abandoned keep that they find on their new world. Kincar meets a healer, Lady Asgar, who treats his burn while Lord Dillan tells him about many worlds and of travel between them. They have come to a Gorth that they had not intended to occupy, so they will have to build another Star Gate.
While out hunting, Kincar captures a small man who was trying to steal his kill. Back at the keep the man reacts to the Star Lords’ presence with fear, telling the refugees that the Star Lords he knows, the Dark Ones, are cruel people who have enslaved the native Gorthians. One of the Dark Ones is Rud, a doppelgänger of Kincar’s father.
Kincar volunteers to reconnoiter the lands occupied by the Dark Ones and their slaves. Before he can even reach the city where he would spy out what the refugees need to know, he is captured and taken to an open field to be eaten alive by mords. The Tie burns the thug who tries to take it and the mords finish him off while Vorken, who has become leader of the flock, protects Kincar.
Astounded by Kincar’s survival, the evil Lords Rud and Dillan take him and Vorken to the place where their starships stand grounded. Desperate, putting his faith in the Tie, Kincar escapes and goes back to the mountains to meet up again with the refugees and the bastard son of this Gorth’s Rud.
In the aircar that Kincar used in his escape, the Star Lords go to the starships on a day when all of the Dark Lords will be in them. They set the automatic controls and send the ships back into space, thereby ending the cruel dictatorship of the Dark Ones. The Star Lords then use materials that they took from the ships to build another Star Gate and they, Kincar and the other refugees pass through it into yet another alternate Gorth.