When Juniper's disobedience puts himself and his friend Oak in terrible danger, their friendship is tested to the limits. 'Juniper dragged himself painfully across the scrubby grass. When he could no longer crawl he lay down. Sweat trickled from his body and his broken leg ached. It was icy, much colder than in the valley. soon Sungod would be up, and he remembered what old Hornbeam had said to him when he was very small. It was as if the old wise man was beside him, whispering in his ear: 'If your father exiles you for making marks you must follow Sungod along the unknown river. You must find your other family'.' Juniper has always been one to ask questions, to take risks. And he has always made marks — in sand at the water's edge, in mud after rain, or with pieces of stick and stone. He cannot stop himself, though he knows it is strictly forbidden. 'I can't help it' he tells his friend, Oak. It is his disobedience which puts both Juniper and Oak in terrible danger, and tests their friendship to the limits.