While Desa is planning her trip to the largest city in the basin, a young man comes in off the desert asking to learn to read. Alan must not let anyone suspect that he was from another planet, but to obey that order, he had to break all the others.
In the first volume of The Second Expedition, Desa finds only part of the added responsibility she has taken on and Alan is only beginning to understand how little his training has prepared him for an alien planet, and for adulthood.
Far across the valley a morning came. The purple-banded ember that was Kortrax pulled himself together above the eastern peaks and with his rays, painted mottled patterns on the clouds below. Thru the nearer peaks the dawnwind whistled, blowing scattered rags of cloud into the emerald-jungled mountains that tumbled down into the mighty valley miles below.