"Father, I dont feel ready." A young girl fidgeted as she walked through the trees, the way lit by a torch her father carried. The glow of more torches carried by other parents snaked ahead and behind them. "That is for the Elders to decide, Amy." Her father patted her shoulder. "You have studied very well so I am not worried." "But what if I make a mistake!" Her father laughed. "Mistakes will probably be made and you will have to clean yours up if you do." Amy hugged herself. "I will be so ashamed." Her father hugged her shoulders with one arm. "Don't worry, Amy. I believe you will get your wand tonight."
Who Are The Peddlers?
The Peddlers are not a tribe, clan, or race of people. They are a collective of people who still deeply believe in magic. Most of them learn to cast some magic, even if its the very simple sort. Some become great practitioners capable of impressive feats. With the rise of science, those who believe in magic are more often shunned as fools or, worse, rather than being accepted. For this reason, the Peddlers work very hard to appear as humble and hard-working folk. They only sell or trade simple charms of underwhelming powers or the telling of fortunes, to appear to be offering mere folklore and traditions that are no threat to whichever religion others might believe in. Travelling in their wagons rather than living in some homeland, is far more peaceful and safer for them. With Peddlers coming from every race and nationality, their travelling ways give them the freedom to find each other. As they travel, they hire on as laborers wherever they stop. This not only provides them with even more modest incomes, but fulfills a need in the communities they visit, making them more acceptable. No matter where they travel, every peddler family has a wagon with at least one potted lemon tree growing inside. Over the generations, these lemon trees have adapted to growing far shorter and bushier so they provide the same amount of lemons despite being sized for indoors. Lemons, and the trees they grow on, are precious to peddlers. All their celebrations will have foods flavored with lemons. Though every celebration has its own proper name, the Peddlers tend to call them all Lemon Days.
Most peddlers travel in wagon trains with one family in each wagon. These magical wagons provide far more room on the inside than seems possible from the outside. When a peddler's child reaches the age of majority, eighteen for women or twenty-four for men, they are eligible to recieve a wagon of their own. Unless the parents are very well-off, the new adults rarely get one at that age. Wagons are expensive and often passed down to the child who has shown the most promise with magic. The new adult peddlers are the most eager to go forth and do more daring work in order to prove themselves or earn enough money to buy a wagon. It is this need for more wagons that soon led the Peddlers to making journeys to Mount Olympus. Each wagon is built to cross the threshold into Ourea. The wagons land on a road that leads through the foothills and up Mount Olympus to the Gritty Bazaar, where anything, including new wagons, can be purchased or traded for. The journey through the Ourea is rather dangerous, and children are kept inside the wagon during the crossing at all times as a wagon is able to endure all but the most dire of attacks. This protection extends to the horses hitched to it, which is why the animals are never unhitched.
Peddlers draw magic from nature through rituals, spells, and skills practiced for years. Most focus through a wand and learn from the grandparents or, less often, from a family Compendium. However they learn, when a peddler child reaches the age of thirteen, they await the Summer Solstice. At that time all the thirteen year old children are taken into deep into the woods. Tests of magic are given and, no matter how poorly or well a child performs their magic, they are instructed in the making of their very first wands. Some children cannot do magic until they get their wands and the making of their first wand is often the moment they feel the wonder of doing magic. Though such children are often teased for being so slow to learn magic, the sharing of that wonder is a treasure to witness and cherished.