Sixteen-year-old Maerad is the last surviving person from the School of Pellinor. Since she was a slave since she was a young girl, she has no idea that she has no idea that she has a special gift – She is a Bard, someone who helps protect the balance of the world.
One day, a man named Cadvan wanders into Gilman's Cot, where Maerad is a slave. He tells Maerad that she is the last Bard of Pellinor.
Cadvan helps Maerad escape from slavery. They head for Innail, where there will be a Meet, a gathering of Bards, to discuss the balance of the world.
In Innail, Maerad learns of the Fated One, a Bard who will defeat the Nameless One, an ancient Bard who gave up his Truename to avoid death. She also learns that she may be the Fated One.
After the Meet, Maerad and Cadvan journey through Annar to find out if Maerad is the Fated One.