They sat like that in silence, until the wizard spoke again.
"I had a vision about my people being killed by the beast that lives on this mountain, but as I tried to warned them, they would not listen. Not to an old, senile fool, blackened by magic - as they would call me. Do not misunderstand me, it's not the insults, nor the lack of respect that hurt me, but the lives of so many young ones, so many innocent, that would be lost, if I were to fail this task. That is what breaks my heart."
He never needed fame, fortune, or glory, although he deserved them. He cared little for such things, for he knew that they held no meaning. They are all temporary, and time will make them fade away. Yet, he grieved for one thing.
He wanted to be remembered, not as a senile old fool, misled by dark magic, but as a good man, a savior. He had always done what's best for his people. If he could only defeat the beast now, a small sign of gratitude - a smile and a simple "thank you" from one of the citizens, would mean the world to him. It would give his life meaning. For even a single man or a child would know who he really was, and what he had done for them, and that would make all of his efforts worthwhile.
"I've heard so many stories like yours before. So many people like yourself being treated like the worst scum of mankind. I cannot fathom how this, so very often, happens to people that are good..." There was a hint of sadness in bard's voice.
"Well, what do you think my friend. Why is that the case?"
"I do not know. I guess fate can be cruel sometimes, but you shouldn't lose hope, that's for sure."
The wizard was slightly agitated by the response. "Fate? What is fate, tell me? It's nothing more but a fruit of imagination, conjured up so that people would have something to blame for every unexpected occurrence." The bard was frowning, giving away the fact that he did not quite understand. The wizard noticed, and continued his explanation.
"Look at it this way. Can one man's fate exist without the man himself? I'm sure it can't. Then, if a man chooses to end his life, can you call that fate as well. No, for it is an action that the man chose; No higher power had anything to do with it. Fate is not so complex, it is nothing more than opportunity. It is only a matter of whether you seize it or not, when it presents itself." The wizard paused for a moment, short of breath.
"The idea of fate, destiny, or whatever you wish to call it, is that everybody has a path which he is bound to go by, no matter what he does in life, whether he wants to go along that path, or not. We fight others for freedom all our lives, but tell me - can one truly be free to do as he pleases, if there is already a road he is destined to take? That would sadden me greatly, therefore I choose not to believe in it."