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In the Sarconian Empire, the weak ancestry of a minor noble title is not enough to protect one from what's in their blood. Or rather, what isn't. Ahrs Brandson is on the cusp of turning 17 and becoming a full-fledged adult. Yet instead of joy, fear dominates his heart. He is a fle'bilis: a being whose men'ar count is so low that he cannot perform unaided magic. If he lived in another nation, this ailment would be no cause for concern. He could learn a trade and live out his life in peace. But the Empire is in the midst of a bloody war with its neighbor Rabban, and the fires of the front need ever increasing amounts of kindling. On his 17th nameday, Ahrs will go before a military board, be branded "worthless," and given nothing more than a rifle and a simple vest of chainmail. His chances of survival are practically nonexistent. Only one ray of hope remains for Ahrs. Find a mentor - one who will accept him in spite of his handicap - and swear an oath to them. Then Sarconian law itself shall free him from his fate. There's only one problem with his desperate scheme. What madman would take on a boy with no magic?