The door of the hut where Ladd lived with his family faced east. Dawn broke soon after Archer, Knowledge, and Mercy left for work and Ladd still sat in the straight chair in front of the fire. He noticed Cat, with the red eyes, had come in and taken a seat in front of the fire. Behind Cat, there came a small man. He stood at the doorway looking at Ladd with the glow of the sunlight diffused behind him.
“Good day, Ladd,” the small man said.
“Hullo. Do I know you?”
“No, but you will. I was sent by the Grand Wizard.”
Ladd jumped up, out of his chair, immediately.
“You will be my apprentice in my grocery shop in London. There you will learn the trade of shopkeeping. You will also learn the craft of wizardry for the benefit of the citizens of this village to which you will return.”
Ladd studied the small man as he spoke. He didn’t look like a wizard. He had short gray hair and a gray beard, with sparkling blue eyes. The glow of the rising sun surrounded him. He was slightly built, not as tall as Ladd.
The small man continued, “I know you don’t want to be a wizard. What you don’t know yet is that your background made it your destiny. Now gather your things and we will go see your family so you can say goodbye for now. Have you had breakfast?
“Yes,” Ladd said.
“I am going to eat while you get ready. Do you have mead?”
Ladd pointed out the mead to the small man and started to gather his things. Ladd didn’t take very much. Shortly, the two of them left, along with Cat, to find his family so he could say his goodbye’s.
Ladd and the small man ran into Knowledge right outside the door of the hut as she returned from her talk with Healer. The small man told Knowledge who he was and that he would be leaving with Ladd to begin Ladd’s apprenticeship. Knowledge asked him to wait while she found the rest of the family so they could say goodbye. As she said that, Archer walked up.
“What’s going on here?” Archer asked.
Knowledge replied, “This man was sent by the Grand Wizard to pick up Ladd. Ladd will be his apprentice in London. He will learn to be a shopkeeper as well as receive training in wizardry.”
“When will Ladd be allowed to return to us?” Archer asked.
The small man replied, “Within one year, sir. He will then take up the position as the wizard in the village. He may also want to keep a small shop here.”
Archer said, “This will be a loss for our family. I go out on the hunt often. I rely on Ladd to protect the family while I am gone. He is helpful in providing food for the women.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I serve at the pleasure of the Grand Wizard.”
“Then I don’t suppose we have any recourse,” Archer said.
The family came together with hugs and murmurs of good wishes and love. In a few moments, the small man and Ladd walked from the village as Ladd turned around and waved to his loved ones. Cat jumped up on his shoulder to get a ride.