Joel is sixteen. His dream is to be a rithmatist. Rithmatists can alter the environment by chalking on the floor. The chalkings are two dimensional. But they can move and kill anyone they touch. Because of this ability The Rithmatists are special soldiers to protect The United Isles of America from the Tower. The rithmatist can be chosen among eight years olds through a special religious ceremony called inception. Joel missed his chance to be one when he was eight. Regardless, he tries hard at the Rithmatists school in Jamestown. He knows almost everything about the science rithmatics via books. He is respected among teachers and professors.
A Newly arrived young professor Nalizar is showing himself off. He challenged one of Joel’s friends, old Professor Fitch to a duel. Formally, any rithmatist can challenge another one. It’s not a duel till death but for respect. Fitch lost. But old prof didn’t lose his control. Nalizar made this showing off purposefully. He wanted to implant authority among students in school and turn attentions to himself. while nobody knew that he was an agent sent from the Tower.
One by one some student began to disappear. In the places where the students were supposedly murdered they found chalking marks on the floor. Those marks are the sign of a duel to death. A federal inspector Harding started to investigate the cases. Joel and Fitch helped him in that. A suspicion comes upon a clerk Exton, also a friend of Joel’s. Exton denies all and consider himself innocent. Joel believes him. Fitch doesn’t. Anyway, Hardning had Exton arrested.
While walking to the dorm of the school Joel saw that the guards are unconscious lying on the floor. He rushes in. To his astonishment he discovered that the perpetrator of all these kidnappings was the same federal inspector Harding. He chalked on the floor the attacking figures and with them he blocked Nalizar who wanted to help, so to speak. Fitch and a rithmatist girl Melody joined Joel to beat Harding. They trapped him and erased his black shadow that controlled Harding with the acid liquid. A director thanked them heartily for saving his school’s name among students and their parents and promised Joel a good honorarium. All is well that ends well. But it was not that easy.
Harding or rather a black shadow named Forgotten was Nalizar’s accomplice. Nalizar’s plan was create devouted to him students and send them to the battle front in Nebraska. Once there they unwillingly would help the enemy the Tower to win. But to succeed he must win The Meele a dueling ceremony of rithmatists, which give them right to go to Nebraska. Joel guessed right about his plans and joined the ceremony to win a duel against Nalizar’s students. With the help of Melody he won. But Nalizar will remain constant danger as obody except Joel knows his true nature. They silently promised to watch each other.