Keill Randor, at the plateau of years between childhood and manhood, faces the Ordeal. As a symbol of the hardships and struggles to come in the years ahead, the Ordeal requires him to travel, unarmed and unequipped, through som eof the roughest terrain on the harsh planet of Moros. He has to pass this test to enter advanced training with the Young Legionaries.
Keill has been told that, during the two-day Ordeal, he will face the most deadly danger known to Legionaries - but what form it will take he cannot guess. Throughout the trek, Keill encounters vicious, merciless creatures of that wild region, But he learns - through the Ordeal and his subsequent training as a Young Legionary - that deadly dangers can come from within himself as from without.