Song of the Ziggurat – Plot Synposis
In the ancient city of Harada, a half-breed bastard named Shayden flees an arranged marriage and is swept up into a gang of children led by a charismatic rogue named Brick. In the ruined city center, Brick leads his gang, the Shifters, in a turf war against his nemesis, Maia, and her gang of Hunters, beneath the shadow of the mysterious Ziggurat. Navigating the politics of the gang, Shayden learns to fight and begins to earn the respect of the other boys. However, Shayden soon realizes that Brick is turning the boys against one another for his own ends.
When Brick mobilizes the Shifters for a decisive battle against the Hunters, Shayden tries to stand up to him, but is forced to join the fight in order to protect his friends. On the battlefield of the Bloody Plaza, the Hunters and Shifters clash violently. Shayden refuses to do Brick’s bloody work any longer, and Brick strikes him down. A squad of mercenaries appears in the Heartfast, forcing Brick and the others flee into the ruins.
Shayden and Maia awake together in the cottage of a demented recluse. Despite their initial wariness, Shayden and Maia gradually learn to trust one another. Meanwhile, Brick has united the gangs in an uneasy alliance and leads them in a war of attrition against the invading mercenaries. Shayden and Maia realize that Brick’s recklessness is costing innocent lives, and they confront him. Brick refuses to listen to reason and attacks them, but Shayden and Maia drive him off. After realizing they must join forces or be destroyed by the mercenaries, the fractured gangs reunite around Shayden and Maia.
Shayden learns that a lord of the city named Rashem Rodanne has been seizing the children of the Heartfast and using them in terrible experiments that transform them into sadistic killers, creatures called the Oxbow Butchers. Rodanne believes the secrets to completing these experiments, and forming an army of elite warrior-slaves, lies within the Ziggurat.
Knowing that they are all doomed unless they stop Rodanne, Shayden and Maia pursue him into the bowels of the Ziggurat, where they find the ghoulish beings that are the results of Rashem’s early experiments. Rodanne attempts to control the Oxbow Butchers. But Shayden recognizes one of the creatures, a child that had once been a friend. The creature turns on Rodanne, killing him and triggering the collapse of the Ziggurat. Wounded and exhausted, Shayden and Maia barely escape.
Without Rodanne’s leadership, the mercenaries abandon the Heartfast. Maia and the others begin to rebuild. Shayden returns home and confronts his family. His stepfather demands retribution for their embarrassment and his mother begs him to return to his old life, but Shayden refuses, leaving to seek his own destiny.