A crowd of villagers had gathered in the town center. The villagers’ murmurs were set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. “He says he’s a goin’ to Akusa! He stayed at meh inn last night, and’s leavin’ today,” one peasant shouted. “Goin’ to Akusa? He must be rich then!” another replied. The subject of the gossip stepped out the door of the inn. A sea breeze that came from the coast, miles away, made his dark cape billow around him like the hood of a Marcadian cobra. The gathered crowd instantly locked eyes with him. “What’s this all about then?” he asked. “We hear you’re going to Akusa,” said a villager. “We figure you must’ve gone there before, and we want to know more about it.” The man laughed. His laugh, full of mirth, put most of the villagers at ease. “I would love to regale you with tales of that great city, but I’m afraid I must be leaving now.” As he stepped through the crowd, one young man jumped in front of dark-clad figure, knocking him to the ground. “Maybe I’ll make sure you won’t be leaving then,” said the young man. After recovering from his fall and dusting off his now dirty clothes, the dark-clad figure stared at his assailant. “It seems you wish to learn. All right then, I curse you to be immortal and to always hunger for even greater knowledge.” With these final words, the dark-clad figure vanished.