The story starts the same as in canon. Single mother Trisha Elric dies, leaving her two young sons Edward and Alphonse motherless. The two try to revive her using alchemy but fail. The difference here is that Edward isn't able to transmute Alphonse's soul into a suit of armor. On his own, Ed tries to find a way to get back his younger brother.
From the Ashes provides examples of:
- Adaptational Late Appearance: For plot related reasons, Ed doesn't meet Sloth and Envy until the tail-end of the series.
- Adapted Out: The anime is stream-lined and almost everyone besides Ed, Al, Trisha, Scar, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Sloth, and Hohenheim are removed.
- Alternate Universe Fic: Ed isn't able to recover Alphonse's soul when the Gate takes him. This leads to various differences as Edward goes through the series alone.
- Death by Adaptation: Al's soul is taken by the Gate, though Edward finds a way to revive him.
- For Want of a Nail: Al's soul isn't recovered and put into armor.