Setting out from home was always a scary proposition for Vanni. His father had made a lot of enemies and he’d been raised to be wary and cautious. However, he also felt like everyone around him was controlling him. His life wasn’t his own any more.

Thus he found himself on the road, heading out of town. He realized as he walked that he hadn’t planned things very well. He had no food, no provisions and his clothes and shoes were not made to be traveled in, but to be seen in. He was dressed too finely to be walking along the dusty highway.

He paused. He hadn’t gone far. He could turn back. He could go home and let everyone else decide what was best for him. Then the Galiano pride kicked in again. There was no way he was quitting. He turned his back on the town that he’d grown up in and walked.

Eventually, feet aching, legs tired, he came to a small inn. He slumped into a chair and frowned at his purse. Again, a lack of forethought hit him jarringly. He had about enough money on his person for a night’s stay. Moaning and running his hands through his long blond hair, Vanni slumped back in the chair.

“Problem?” the barkeep said.

“Not really,” Vanni replied. “Just realizing how sheltered I’ve always been. I’m… short on funds,” he admitted.

The barkeep frowned and stepped over, eyeing him critically. “You could get a job. Got any skills?”

“Skills?” Vanni asked. “I can sing, play piano and violin and speak three languages. Math and literature… some magic, that’s more knowledge than skill though.”

“There are some bards in town, maybe you can hook up with them,” the man suggested. “Try it out. We don’t have a musician right now. Piano’s over there. Music brings in the custom.”

Vanni nodded and, weary though he was, he headed over to the piano. In moments he was going through his repertoire. He played the folk-songs he knew. The kind of things that got people tapping their feet. Stuffy chamber music was not on call in this venue.

He was surprised when a small blond man tapped him on the shoulder. The man was grinning and handed him a mug of cider. “Take a break,” he said. “I’m sure you could use a drink.”

When Vanni reached for his purse the man shook his head. “You’ve earned it,” was all he said. Vanni grinned as the man walked away, sipping the beverage. It was the first time he’d worked for something and it felt good.

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