Essef - Travel out along the galaxy's Perseid Arm. Branch off to follow the ten thousand stars of Mircea's Wisp. Eventually you will come to the Purple Rose System - three stars, Lorca, Sing and Syrene, that seem about to drift away into the void. Three planets circle Syrene. On one, Cadwal, there is Life. Long ago the Naturalist Society of Earth had listed Cadwal as a natural preserve. An administration centre had been set up and staffed to protect the planet from all exploitation: Araminta Station. Now, centuries later, the young Glawen Clattuc is beginning to wonder what the future may hold for him in the hierarchic, carefully ordered hereditary society that is life on Cadwal.