Talis is a young man who has always been told he is destined for a life of greatness. But really he just wants to spend time with his friends. Whether he likes it or not, his future is coming.
Deep within the forest, among a grove of red-leafed banuberry bushes and tall Kirrari trees, sat a small cottage. Iridescent yellow songbirds sat unusually, almost reverently, silent. The renewal of First Season was evident in the relatively dry air. Crisp mornings preceded very warm afternoons. Flowers were opening, grasses were starting their growth again, and all of the sleepy hibernators could be glimpsed meandering throughout the forest, if one knew how to look.
The cottage had the same quiet dignity one might attribute to a little old man in clean but threadbare garments sitting up properly in the corner of a local eating establishment, drinking some sort of unadulterated tea and occasionally smoking a long-stemmed pipe. The simple, square domicile was made of hewn and planed logs. The dark brown walls stood four meters tall, punctuated with square, open windows that served to let in natural light, and topped by a thatched roof. A small, rectangular stone chimney rose from the center of one wall, and smoke drifted lazily up toward the canopy.
Inside the cottage was a young boy, sitting anxiously at a roughly crafted table, reading (as little as possible) from a huge, leather-bound and handwritten ancient tome, while the ageless face of his guardian intently studied each of the ingredients that she was carefully dropping into her over-sized, cast-metal pot above the fireplace. As is the case for any less-than-exciting task, the reading assignment was completely absent from the youth’s mind. With the tome failing to hold his attention, the boy’s eyes wandered over to his wizened caretaker, and his mind began to drift.
Her old eyes glanced back at him and his returned quickly to the text, once again assaulting his mind with the theory on the composition of dragonflame; which chemicals or mixtures caused it to ignite on contact with the air, the history of the elements, and the applications both practical and impractical... He chanced another glance at the window, showing the thirdstar appearing in the sky as the orange sun dipped below the tall but distant mountain peaks.
His eyes moved to Chiranna’s back, then toward the door again. All the while, his hand was constantly fingering the small object in his vest pocket.
“No need for that, Talis.” The woman extricated herself from the hearth. “Let’s leave your ring out of this, shall we? You’re the one that will have to answer to Loquerin if you fail your exam.” She gave the boy what seemed like a very stern glance that just failed to completely mask her mirth and affection. “Go if you must.”