Yet another fantasy trilogy gets underway--with a first volume containing just enough to whet the appetite, not enough to satisfy. Settled a millenium ago, planet Ozark has six continents unequally divided among twelve kingless ""kingdoms"" each ruled by a Family from their ancestral castle. Science and magic rub shoulders, though the prime movers are the haughty (and usually male) Magicians of Rank and the Grannys who take care of day-to-day magical business. . . while Family Brightwater of continent Marktwain tries to maintain the Confederation, the feeble ruling body which certain dissidents are constantly attempting to dissolve. But now someone is working magical mischief aimed at disrupting the coming Confederation meeting and embarrassing the Brightwaters; so Responsible, a magically precocious 14-year-old girl, undertakes to learn who's upsetting things and put a stop to it. Mounted on a magically-flying ""Mule"" (sapient equine autochthone) she departs on a grand tour of the 12 castles, to find adventure, companionship, meetings with Ozark's various intelligent creatures, and magical duels. Elgin (Star-Anchored, Star-Angered, 1979) writes with originality and appealing wit, and this is a promising introduction--though too thin to be substantially satisfying on its own.