Introduction

     You have come to the right place, but there is nothing here for you. Ardialtis is a big world. There are many other places you might go, other teachers you might find.
     Yes, I am Kellithren, the wizard you seek, and you are here because you wish to know about magic, to know things they do not teach in the Schools. You will forgive my presumption, but the great distance I set between myself and world did not deter you. Neither did my reputation. I treat visitors harshly before sending them away, whether students seeking knowledge, the curious following rumors of my death, or that worst sort, the ones seeking my help in their affairs. Believe me when I say I turn them all away and you will be no different.
     I take no students. I give the curious more knowledge than they want. And I have no wish to help anyone. I am old and I am selfish now. My days of causes and quests are done. I did what I could. No doubt you believe that yours is a special case. You are mistaken.
     It is true that I was Kellithren, the Dream Glider, Warrior of Light and Shadow, infamous Autumnal Wizard of the Wizardic Year. And it is true that I was a great traitor, the greatest in the Year’s long history, which goes back to when Ardialtis was young. Both the fame and the infamy of my name are fading now. People wonder now whether Kellithren was real, whether the stories surrounding my name are true. Some are. I have heard the tales of my deeds more than once. Usually, the tales are wildly wrong and give me credit or blame for noble or villainous deeds when I was merely present. As I said, I did what I could. And no more harm than I had to.
     Because you have come a long way, and because I do not want you coming back, I will tell you my tale. You may believe you know a great deal about me. I assure you, you do not. When my tale is told, you may wonder that I am alive at all, but you will know why I take no students, why I give no help. Then, you will leave and I will stay. And we will both be better off.
     You will forgive me if I sit. I am old now, and my body speaks to me in a language of constant pain, reminding me of the trials I have been through. The miles. The falls. The body’s memory is infallible, written in scars on the surface, and it grows deeper with age. You do not know this, because you are young. You hurt, you heal, you forget. But the guts and the bones, they never forget. When I think of those times, when I was young and knew no more about magic than you, my bones ache, my heart murmurs, and my guts tremble.
     In my youth, I was an Adept. That word that has little meaning now, but when I was young, becoming an Adept of the Wizardic Year seemed a great achievement, for it was a wonder that I, Kellithren of the Year, became a wizard at all.
     Some people go their whole lives without realizing they have sorcerous talent. Sometimes, even people with tremendous gifts. I was not such a one. For as long as I can remember, I knew I was a wizard. In the pride of my youth, knowing that I was a wizard also meant believing that I would be an exceptional one. The idea of mediocrity was and remains repugnant to me. Therefore, I would enter the Wizardic Year, the world’s oldest and most powerful group of wizards, and the most prestigious.
     I knew nothing of the Year’s darker reputation. In truth, it would not have mattered even if I had. Some things must be seen to be made real. Besides, my mind was made up, and I am nothing if not stubborn. I would become a wizard of the Year, no matter what. I succeeded in this goal, I suppose, but not in the way anyone expected, not even myself. And not entirely in a good way.