They say many things about a person when they come walking in to town from the desert alone. When his face is concealed and his arms wrapped in bandages, he may have faced the harshest of winds that gnaw at the skin. When he comes in with a mangled branch and most his weight supported by it he is hurt or weak. His trying to stay upright, drawing the last shadows of life from the dead wood.
Some may assume he was yet another poor soul gone in search of a higher power. A mystic or sage hoping that in isolation the two may finally be free of distractions to commune with one another. The speckling of blood on his clothes may be attributed to some sacrifice of either himself or an animal.
There may have been speculation that he was a man on the run. No one was certain how many days one would be in the desert to cross it. The occasional wagon that passed through was always headed north to Saj-graf where the desert was narrower to cross to Pinkstone. Word periodically circulated that there was a bandit hideout some four days ride to the west, hidden among giant stone out crops abutting the wastelands. The stones were there from when Mount Ghi-fann exploded a thousand years ago. But no one ever saw bandits and no one knew how they would live in such a remote place.
When the man methodically makes his way over to the town well and drinks a bucket of water, they know he has been out in the harsh environment to long. No one would say a thing as hospitality and town law deem it rude to deny one something so essential to life. The town would go about its business as if he did not exist, letting him collect himself collect his mind. Alone he is left to fight off the toll of torrid days and frigid nights out in the open that almost certainly brought the drifter to the brink of madness.
He looked down into the dregs of water clinging to the bucket, as if pleading for it to yield them to his parched body. A young lady walked past him, indifferent to his existence and focused on her task at hand. She grabbed another of the buckets at the well and lowered it down till she felt the tension of the water push back. Satisfied that it had gathered what she was after she reversed her turning of the crank pulling back on the bucket. Having not seen his approach from the desert, she interpreted his out stretched hand as a request for coins.
She fished around in her apron for something to give, until her hand settled on a few coins in the pocket. Her mind raced debating if his need outweighed her desire for the bobbles she had been saving up for. Somewhere her conscious broke through the clutter and she reached out depositing them in his hand. She whispered a small word of blessing and salutation to him before she returned to emptying the bucket into her own container.
After her departure the man looked into the bucket to see it half full of water still. With gusto he drank down the liquid and finally felt hydration returning to his body. He felt a breeze of hot air and sand brush against his face. The desert wind reminded him of his trek so far. He sat listening to the sand cling against the metal and glass in town he almost felt like it was playing a soothing harmony. It was almost a sirens call to return, but when he turned away it changed to a gentle reminder that he was still within its grasp.
This was all that went through Kaisu’s head when she thought back to the first time she had met Kadin when she was fourteen. Kaisu had called him old man back then though he was only thirty-two and now twenty years later she still called him that more than Kadin.
Kadin had been in the desert to escape being pressed into the service of King Vincent VIII from the lands south. After thirteen days of hiding he had become lost and turned around he could not find his way out. After another thirteen days of just making it by on his own skill and dwindling supplies, Kadin had received a vision form a being calling itself a the god Arubless. Afterwards he found an oasis that nourished him back to his former strength. Unfortunately for Kadin, the oasis was used by marauders and they returned and bound him up as a prisoner with several others. That was not too bad till a botched attempt to free the prisoners by an outside party left him the only one of them alive and he escaped in the chaos. From there he wandered the desert headed in the direction of sunrise every morning. After 13 more days in the desert he ended up at the well where they met.
Kaisu had been out retrieving water for her father to cook lunch with when she encountered Kadin. She had offered him a few coins as charity to buy himself some food when he left for the next town. Kadin had all intentions of leaving town, but one of the farmers took pity on him, and put him to work in the fields a week later. Kadin ended up staying in town. It was not till the wars between King Vincent VIII and King Hannon forced the town to disappear. It was not the legions of armored infantry battling where wheat had once grown, but the scars left by the Enchanters and their magic. The land was parched by their destruction, and the desert grew in power. Fire rained down from the sky, destroying what shelter the city had offered. Neither knew which side had done the work. Her home and family were now gone.
The survivors went their own ways, while some to other family in hopes to find empathy and relief. Others joined the cause of each king angered by rumors that the other was to blame. Kaisu and Kadin went with a handful of others to Saj-graf in search of stability and safety. In search of opportunity to return to their respective easier lives they once had in a town now forgotten.
In the years that had followed he had taken her in as his daughter, helping protect her from the realities of the world. She had taken him on as a student; explain to him the nuances of culture in the northern cities. They had settled into Saj-graf quite well over the past twenty years. They had managed to get a plot of land and worked it to a successful yield. Kadin revealed certain wisdom to him that many from the small town had come to rely on for discernment in many matters. His name, though not known in many circles, was known by those that had once lived in the town and they too would seek him out on matters of importance.
Kaisu tried to explain to him who Arubless was, but Kadin was from a land without gods and could not see that the god had given him a gift. Kaisu eventually gave up on explaining such things to him. Those who sought his wisdom knew who guided Kadin and thought him all the more humble for not mentioning the god by name.