Oric returns from an early-morning foraging expedition to find his home, Dunburton Manor, sacked by a band of marauders.
Alchemist Deveril, Oric's mentor and friend, lies fatally wounded. The old man thrusts a key into Oric's hand, saying that it will unlock the secret to great wealth. Deveril also warns of terrible danger should the key fall into wrong hands.
Esica Figg, moneylender and arch villain is determined to steal the key - even if he has to kill Oric to get it. Oric escapes the burning manor and wanders the countryside until he stumbles upon Bayersby Manor, the ancestral home of Sir Edred and Lady Myferny. Together with his new friends, Ichtheus the apothecary and kitchen maid, Dian, Oric experiences many adventures, some hilarious, some life threatening. The trio is helped, but more often hindered by Sir Edred's comical wolfhound Parzifal, and a donkey named Braccus.
The story culminates in a vicious battle when Esica Figg attempts to unseat Sir Edred.
But does Oric unravel the mystery of the Alchemist's key?