There was a hint of rain in the air as the two walked further into town.
"Where are we going now?" Asked the boy, as the hustle and bustle increased around them.
"First, to a tavern."
"You want to drink?"
"A swift pint won't go amiss, I will admit. But we have another purpose."
The boy looked up at the mage quizzically. "We do?"
"Aye boy. We need a guide, and a guard. We will do well if we get both in one."
"But I thought..."
"I told you boy. The mountains are a very, very, dangerous place to be."
The boy stood outside the shop as a newly minted traveller beneath a, shin length, waxed cape. Behind him, his backpack gave him the appearance of a hunchback, while the hood flopped down over his face so he could only see the floor from its dark recess.
"It's heavy" He grumbled.
The mage stood next to him. "It will get heavier boy. But also lighter. Travelling is never a comfortable business."
"Isn't there a train?"
"Not into the mountains boy! Good grief, it's dangerous up there! There is one to the foothills though, you will be glad to know of."
"Ah, master Tellerick. What can we do for you today?"
"I need a new set of camping gear for this one. Boots, mat, tent..."
"Clothes..." Whispered the boy.
"Oh, and clothes. And a waterproof cape."
"Going on a long trip master Tellerick?" Asked the shop owner as he busied himself with gathering what was immediately to hand.
"Off to see the Oracle on the slopes of Milloran mountain. We'll be gone for some time."
"Oh? Will anyone be taking on your duties while you are away?"
"Master Omui will be in attendance. If you need anything please talk to him."
"It's been a while since I've had an apprentice boy. I'm not getting any younger, but even I need some guidance." The boy looked quizzically at him. "We need to go on a short journey, and consult the Oracle."
"The Neutron Oracle. It's two days journey into the mountains. I'd prefer to stay down here on the coast, but I think we need to go. The mountain air is not good on these old bones of mine, but it's far better on my lungs."
"I don't have any travel clothes."
"Then let's go shopping boy, and spend some money."
The boy sat before the old man, and presented him with a simple wooden toy. A dog. The old man took it, and peered closely at it.
"You took this?"
The boy shook his head. "Made it."
"Hmm..." Rumbled the old man. "There is a price that must be paid when using magic. Especially powerful creation magics. How long did you sleep?"
"Two days." The boy replied.
"I must admit to being impressed boy. Making something, even this small, would knock me out for the best part of a week. You do need training. You'll stay here with me now."
"Magic I hear you say? You do understand what it is don't you?"
The boy shook his head.
"Hmm... Magic is how the Universe works. It is, at its simplest, the manipulation of reality." The old man stood. "One moment there is no staff in my hand... the next?" The air pinched together, leaving behind a tall staff of white ash. "There is a staff. But you must already know some of this, even if you do not have the words to explain it. Otherwise you would not be before me. Your father sent you to me did he not?"