Having left my village with nought but the worldly effects of the sorcerer—including more money than I’d ever previously seen—I walked (as needs must) to the only other place I’d ever heard of: Lenten Howl.
Lenten Howl was two day’s walk from our village upon the Gorscht, and the only place our people went for things not made of our own hands: dry, milled goods.
I had never been before this day, having been told that fishers were not kindly looked upon by the milling men of Lenten Howl. But how would they treat a wizard?
As I ventured into town, I was met with hard people in lean times: homes in disrepair, downcast heads, and little greeting, even for one such as I pretended to be. I saw why—the mill had been destroyed by some fool sorcerer who had not properly secured his circle.
My question was answered. None would host anyone with knowledge of the arcane, be they sorcerer or wizard.
Despite my pleas of hunger and exhaustion, I was summarily ignored, except but by one.
In the town square was a sort of performer. He danced and sung among the people making their way to the next dreary stop in their lives, and got little coin for his trouble. But a careful eye—one used to studying the precise hands of a practictioner—could tell that this pale-skinned man was a shyster. As he lopped and bounded around the people, he would carefully and subtly relieve them of their coin. He was very nearly magical in his art, but ultimately, it was no different than the careful twitch of a fishing rod in the Gorscht to pull out the day’s meal.
I approached him and gave to his plate some of my coin, but holding the purse so as to show the performer that I was on to him. He thanked me for kindness and invited me to dine with him in his camp on the edge of town.
During the evening we spoke of why he was here in Lenten Howl. His name was Lir, and he performed on the road to provide for his twin children, Haf and Kai. For my part, I introduced myself as a newly-licensed wizard, hoping to learn of the world that surrounded us.
Lir’s gregariousness was infectious, as was his love for his family. We spoke deep into the night, until the exhaustion overtook me.
In the morning, I woke up alone, bereft of all possessions but the sorcerer’s tomes and the clothes on my back. By the cold firepit was a note. It read,
I’m sorry, Enzo. My family needs this. I hope you forgive me, and that if our paths cross again, that I could pay you back. –Lir
Lenten Howl was my first lesson: The world is hard, and friendship does not change that.
I will remember my friend, Lir.