Essi walks through the outskirts of Smithtown with his head down and his hands shoved deep into his pockets, trying to be as invisible as possible and look bigger and older than his thirteen-and-a-half years both at the same time.
It's not that he wanted to run away. It's just that - well, Hardorn doesn't like mages much these days. Not since the war. Essi lives with his uncle since his pa died, and his uncle is Superstitious, and thinks mages are Nothing But Trouble and probably possessed by demons, and unfortunately, Essi is one. (A mage, he's pretty sure he isn't possessed by demons.) He tried to hide it for a while but one too many weird things happened in Uncle's sight, and he thought it better to run off before he got a beating for it.
Essi reaches the outskirts of town, shivering, because it's a cold late-autumn day, already past Harvestfest. At least it's not raining, but it'll probably frost tonight. He finds a tree that offers some minimal shelter, and starts gathering wood together.
...He doesn't have a flint and steel with him. And he doesn't at all know how to use his magic, yet. But he'll give it a try.