Ten cycles ago almost to the day, around a cycle before the great dust storms were to return, at the time when farmers rush to harvest their crops in time and a sense almost of impending doom falls on the southern bank of the great river Hau, a new musician arrived at the stage hall in the centre of town. No one knew who he was, where he came from or why he appeared at the stage hall. No one ever found out his name, or at the very least no one would ever speak it. He was a short, swarthy man with the stocky build typical of the upper valleys, and wherever he went he wore a large, cylindrical hat. He lived in one of the rooms at the tavern, and when he went outside he seldom ever talked to anyone. When he did speak, it was in a high-pitched tone that had a slightly off quality to it, and combined with his other mannerisms this meant that most people kept their distance for pretty much of the time.
Those who had been to the tavern when he was playing, which was usually late at night on F