No one in my family could ever cast a spell, enchant a sword or rock, we even got simple superstition wrong. To have Talent in my family was un-heard of. I knew this but I tried anyway. I was given fifty pence at a fair to spend on treats and wondered into the Magi stalls. I just wanted to look.
I never saw such amazing things. Necklaces that glowed, barrettes and hair bands that kept water from falling directly on the wearer. One stall sold soap that claimed to keep a man from sweating another had shoes that would fix your posture.
My dad caught me looking at a fortune teller's tent. "you goin' in?"
I felt like I'd been caught eating the offerings at the family alter. I just shook my head.
"If you want, go for it, but two words of advice." My dad's advice was always amazing. "First when choosing a teller never go to the most posh or the most rundown. The posh will just take your money and not tell you anything but what you want to hear. They don't have power." He took in the surrounding tellers then added, "This one you're looking as seems okay, you chose well."
My chest swelled. Any time my dad praised me was like Hamnset himself kissing my feet.
"Second, he continued, "If you go to a real one and he tells you, you are locked in. This might not be bad, but I, think a man should choose his fait and damn, what Hamnset thinks."
The mild blasphemy was my dad's only vice. He never liked people telling him what to do, and what did he care what The Creator thought, if it was up to us then we needed to choose and if not it didn't matter what we chose so why not do what we want. "A man finds his own path. His family will always be a home."
We looked at each other, I think he was taking my measure to see what I was thinking so I stood there trying to be big. He smiled and mussed my hair. "Meet me at the fights at noon." I looked up at him and shook my head.
"Talkative man, your pa." I jumped and saw a short man only about a foot taller than me, His wrinkly face and wild white hair contrasted greatly with his clear almost emerald eyes. He finished clearing the tent door to reveal a Do-shin robe the marks worked into it looked like swirling vines.
"Is he good?" I asked. pointing to the tent.
The man looked back at the tent coming to a conclusion said, "I'm one of the best. I can tell you anything you want me too. I prefer the truth, most don't."
He had such a kind demeanor. I almost gave in.
"No, I think you should take you're pa's advice. I could set you on a great path but He believes in you and I think you should follow that."
I just nodded and smiled. I started to turn and then asked. "Is Do-shin fun?"
He laughed. "come back after the fights. I won't charge but I think you'll want to know more."
He then with out another word he walked over to the offal cart to get a sausage. I turned and pocketed my 50¢.
My dad had a sausage and a beer for me when I found him at the fights. The fair was the only time I could drink the stuff. I liked it, not the beer but the fact Dad would treat me like a man. It was a small cup and have since found out that it was watered down, but I was drinking beer with dad. Osmund, Tate, and Hector, my brothers, were all older and didn't want to stay with dad. They had girls, so did Darla, Dad didn't like it but tried to love her. The other girls were with mom. so I got dad to myself.
He didn't ask if I had seen the Fortune teller or not. It was my thing and he let me have it.
The fights however were amazing. There were exhibitions of sword fights and wrestling. Then the main event. A battle for the prize. They called the fighters and the second, the challenger was the old man.
He did the most amazing things. He fended off all magical and physical attacks with a simple filck of the wrist or a kick. He did these fire fist things that burnt one mans clothes clean off. He never failed. The crowd was angry. This little old man beating men twice his size.
He only took 10% of the prize money and gave the rest of it to the nearby orphanage. I was so impressed.
As predicted I was back at the tent. I kept ringing the bell but no one answered. I was getting frustrated when I heard "No one can answer if they aren't there."
With a sigh, I turned and spouted a deluge of praise and awe. My dad just stood back and laughed. "What say you?" the old man said to my father.
"He's too young for any kind of study like that. Three years, if he's still interested I'm more an happy to let him be to his dreams."
"What say you?"
I was torn, I wanted to know more and I wanted to do good by my dad. "Can you teach me anything while you're still here?"
He told me that I had to start with learning to cultivate my inner Szo. To learn the art I had to control my self. He sold me a book and showed me the basics of breath and then I never saw him again. The book, however, discussed the ideas of magic and flow. It started me on  and forms of concentration.
I did them most every day for the next three years. Each year I went to the fair to find the mysterious man. With no note of him I became frustrated and stopped. until I was in my mid teens, a school opened and Pete and I enrolled. My father couldn't afford tuition so I hired on as janitor. Pete's family were able to pay for him so he'd hang out and talk to me while I cleaned. Sometimes he'd quiz me while I swept or raked the athlete field and cleaned out the animal mess that would creep it's way in.
One night Pete was fuming about something that was in fact quite fair but he didn't think so. I started to show him some  and he calmed down. We continued to do this for the next several months until on night Pete began to glow. He started to leap and bounce like a character in one of the stories in books. He had talent, he confessed.
"That's why my family sent me here. They want me to become a mage." It made sense. I still wanted to learn how the old man did what he did.
Pilla saw us that night, He'd been smoking on the roof of the building —Probably something he pilfered from the suply closet— and challenged Pete to a fight the next day. Pete started to resist but fell for the cunning use of the word chicken and attacked. Pilla, who seemed to have a pretty good handle of his skill, was literally wiping the floor with Pete. This was funny to be sure but when pete was thrown agains the wall with a crack it was time to stop it. I jumped in and using a focus technique stood in front of Pilla. My heart was still racing but I had focus and with skill I didn't know I had I fought the creep. I was hit hard several times. finally I gathered energy and imagined fire. The world began to freeze and I woke in the infirmary.
I heard my father talking. School was more than a day's Journey so I had no idea how long I'd been out.
"I've never seen talent in him. Our family hasn't had talent as far back as we can remember."
"Well the Stuart boy has frostbite on most of his exposed skin, we were lucky to have a Healer visiting. It was a powerful blast."
From there I was given test after test, never being able to produce even the smallest of magic fields. I was test negative for power. A recruiter came because he'd heard of the incident and wanted to see for himself.
"How do you think this happened?" He asked.
I showed him. I gathered power and not knowing what to do with it i tossed it in the fire place instantly freezing the small burn in there. Embarrassed I hid my hands.
That is a rare talent. What power forms do you know?"
I had to ask what he meant and then I showed him the Seven Points and told him of the book.
"Who's the author?"
"I think it says Weenta Szau."
That is a rare book. Do you still have it?"
"The goat ate it." I half lied. The goat had started eating it but I found it. Very little was ruined. I put in notes to replace the few pages that were missing.
He talked with my father and i was on my way to Lupido Caster University.