Jack Donald has returned to his birth planet, but cannot find proof of long ago documents. Venta Strauss struggles to provide a haven for the poor, and Grant Vidal is the Green Marauder, accustomed to taking what he wants.
These are the three people who struggle to find their way in a new part of their world. One will become the new Teacher, one will rescue the older, destitute women on the planet, and one will give his life to save the others. The leaders of the Mechams use the Silver Institute to spread their version of the Star Paths, and the Greenlanders use the Green Institute to spread their version.
This means there are fights, wars, raids, love triangles, and people fighting to survive.