Rufus Pride has tremendous magical power, but not nearly enough training. Born to a small farmholding family as the youngest of four brothers in the New Forest near True Eyeworth, he apprentices to Master Burleigh down in Little Beaulieu in 1912. (The beginning of his apprenticeship is the tale of The Size of the Bog). Unfortunately, his apprentice master was sent to lend his talents to the War in 1915, before Rufus had gotten more than a bare grasp on his magical abilities. By the end of the War, all three of Rufus' brothers had died, as had Master Burleigh and his parents. By the beginning of Outcrossing, he is down on his luck, still dealing with the effects of the trauma of the war (and losing his parents to illness), and not sure how to go on.
In the course of Outcrossing, Rufus meets Ferry Wright and is immediately attracted. He is also approached by a smuggler, Johnny Alder, who needs Rufus and his powerful magic for a particular smuggling job. Rufus and Ferry make it through, and Rufus is offered a position as the head of the stables for Geoffrey Carillon, and both he and Ferry get some additional magical training that better suits their interests.
(Click on the title above to learn more about Rufus's role in that book.)