"Where's your master, gutterrat?" sneered a porkish lad, whose pink skin glowed from overfeeding at his mercantile father's table. "Finally realize you can't r-r-read?" He said, in cruel imitation of the halting way in which Galen had read aloud during the first few months of class. In response, the apprentice mage only gave him a hot glower from nut-brown eyes as he went to take his seat in the circle of chairs, beside Dante di Inverno. The chairs were drawn up in a circle, because the instructors insisted it enhanced learning. Galen thought it only made it easier for everyone to stare at him, like a misfit. Like he didn't belong. And maybe he did not. Telemachus had left him. Told him he was too useless to train. That he would be better off pursuing some other profession that "did not require reading as a primary prerequisite." The young man sighed, head bowed forward, long dark hair spilling across the front of his face to hide his eyes. Inwardly, he prepared himself for another derision filled day, still determined despite it all to prove that he belonged here.