They say that the power to become the strongest is hidden with the "Philosopher's Stone." The two Elric brothers travel to find this stone.
Edward is the older of the two brothers, being merely 15 years old -- the youngest in history to have obtained the qualification of State Alchemist, a prodigy.
As for Alphonse, the younger brother, is, to the plain eye, a cold hard shell of armor, but in reality is really a young 14 year old boy who is kind at heart.
In a town at the eastern edge of a remote region, the representative of the Sun God there has been teaching others about the miracles of their god, but...
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Two children sit around the edge of a rune scribbled on the ground with chalk. They place their hands on it and lightning strikes outside. The younger boy's body gets taken from him, and the older has lost an arm and a leg. He cries and shouts in protest, saying that this was not supposed to happen.
Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse (who is stuck in a body of armor) arrive in a city in the middle of the desert. They hear a religious broadcast that makes Ed suspicious. He hears that the religious leader can perform miracles, and Ed suspects that this is alchemy.
The two befriend a girl named Roze, who tells them that her boyfriend has died, and that the religious leader promises her that he will be resurrected. She says that because of this, her faith is strong.
Ed and Al break into the religious leader's mansion. He recognizes Edward as a National Alchemist, one elected at the age of 12. The religious leader has the Philosopher's Stone, an item sought by Ed and Al. They kindly ask for it, but he sends chimeras --mutated animals-- after them. The two brothers fend them off easily, and Ed reveals that half his body is also metal; therefore, he is called the Fullmetal Alchemist. He says that this and Al's condition is a result of trying to perform human transmutation, one of the most severely outlawed practices in alchemy.