Avala is the daughter of two brave people from rivaling nations; the Shinali and the Navorans. Her father Gabriel, killed for his determination, was the hero who began the prophesied Time of the Eagle, the period in which her people, the Shinali would reclaim their stolen land from the Navorans. Training for the majority of her fifteen years, Avala has helped her mother, the tribe healer, with the most serious of injuries. While searching for medicinal plants in the woods, the young healer makes the mistake of assisting an injured Igaal warrior. The young fighter who seemed helpless, turns out to be anything but, and forces Avala to return him to his land, where she is taken captive, her life spared because of her healing gifts and frequent visions.
As Avala grudgingly fulfills her duties as her rival tribe's healer, she befriends the chief's son, Ishtok. Their friendship slowly blossoms into something more and eventually Ishtok helps her escape, his heart breaking as he watches her leave. Wandering through deserted lands, Avala unexpectedly finds a hidden citadel that only existed to her in legends. The people, who trained Gabriel, gladly welcome her when they find she is his daughter. Avala makes a hard decision to stay at the citadel for one year to perfect her healing, discovering techniques she never could have imagined.
When Avala's year of training is over, she bids the citadel farewell and finally reunites with her people. Avala convinces her tribe and the reluctant Igaal to take action. The two small nations plan together and infiltrate the Navoran civilization, defeat their evil king, and the Time of the Eagle is finally completed.