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The Mullinix Empire, an ancient land with an unusually stable line of rulers, was about to go through their succession process yet again. As had happened before and would undoubtedly happen again the Elder Mullinix Taliaferro is dying and the next apprentice will be chosen from the young men and women who are in their first semester of citizenship school. The main criteria other than competence is that the new apprentice should not want the job, as the ones who want it most are invariably the worst people for the job.

Copeland Steele was a simple boy from the northeastern corner of the empire, a boy with a troubled family life and little ambition other than to avoid military service. He was in mortal terror of getting the Mullinix position that everyone knew was opening, so much so that when he was chosen he was given the Mullinix name of Medoferro, which translates to Iron Fear.

It is a time of upheaval for the empire as enemies both without and within conspire to break the stability and peace that the Mullinix have lived in for centuries.

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