Here is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the novel:
Desòchu is avoiding going home because his mother is bed-ridden with a pregnancy. He also doesn’t want to hang out with his friends because they are playing cards or making out, something he isn’t in the mood to do either. One of the clan warriors, Kiramíro, comes up and insists he visit his mother because she’s lonely.
Desòchu visits his mother, Chyojímo. They talk about the reason of their names and about having a baby sibling.
Desòchu comes home late. His grandmother, Tejíko, and father, Hikòru, are talking tensly with each other. When he goes to bed, his grandmother insists he check on his mother who is sleeping in her room. When Desòchu does, he discovers that she is bleeding. There is a chaos as help comes.
Days later, Desòchu has a baby brother. He brings food up to his mother who talks to him. She leaves him in charge of his brother while she goes on a walk.
A scream wakes up Desòchu. It is someone calling for help after seeing his mother fall off the cliff on her walk. He doesn’t know this as he runs after the others leaving the valley to investigate. Kiríshi intercepts him and tells him what is happening and to turn around, but he refuses and continues on to see his mother’s corpse. His grandmother, Tejíko, tries to tell him to walk away but he resists until she forces him to leave.
After hours of grieving alone, Desòchu finally decides to face his reality. Leaving a hiding spot, he tries to sneak back home but his friend, Gemènyo, tries to comfort him. They talk to briefly but then come to blows. Instead of dealing with his friends, Desòchu continues home to find his grandmother and father fighting. After terse words, his grandmother leaves with a promise to return in the morning. His father refuses to take care of the baby and leaves Desòchu behind without the knowledge of how to take care of a one-day-old child.
Hours later, Desòchu abandoned wakes up in the middle of the desert. He finds out that he appears to have been dragged out to the spot but he doesn’t know why he was being punished for such a relatively minor mistake. Looking around, he doesn’t see anyone else, only the three spires of a Wind’s Teeth in the distance. After mulling over his choices, he starts toward the rocks while cursing out everyone at the valley.
Soon it becomes apparent to Desòchu that he wouldn’t make the Wind’s Teeth before it grew dark. His only choice was to push as hard as he could, to race the darkness to safety. He does, using his anger for his brother, but he quickly runs out of strength before he can make it too far. Right at the cusp of giving up, he notices something that appears to provide shelter.
Desòchu finally reaches the landmark he spotted earlier. To his surprise and despair, it is a chasm with luminescent moss covering the bottom. He goes down in hopes of finding water and food, but is interrupted by a large bull who he attacks.
After fleeing the enraged bull, Desòchu scrambles away before setting down. He decides not to return until morning where he would resume his search for food and water.
Desòchu wakes up to being pecked by a flock of vultures. He lashes out at them to defend his life. To his surprise, flames appear briefly during the attack but he is too overwhelmed to explore before he is chased away.
Desòchu races toward the Wind’s Teeth. Along the way, he starts to manifest powers of Shimusògo including their ability to see details from a distance and accelerated speed. He covers the distance quickly and makes it to the shelter where he finds emergency supplies and a small measure of wood.