It had been almost a year. He had found it in a pouch - the same one he cradles in his hands now. With careful fingers he pulls the tattered cylinder from the scored leather and shelters it from the elements with his cloak. Cautiously he examines it and nods to himself. The construction was still holding and none of the tube's contents had spilled out.
Drawing the frayed hood of his cloak up over his head, he shrugs deeper into the moth-eaten fabric. Seeping drizzle falls persistently between the buildings and the water slowly pools here and there. An oiled leather coat would have protected better but from his "home" in the alleyway a proper coat, like so many other things, would forever only be a dream. Replacing his treasure he looks at himself and sighs. A war rages on in his mind, every negative thought driving him away from a dream he'd held since boyhood. As the rain slowly turns from a drizzle to a downpour he finally whispers aloud, 'I've nothing left to lose.'
The storm raged for days before clearing. Everything in sight seemed to grow a layer of mold as a result. An Illuminator's assistant mutters about it all, but mostly about lost wages due to the weather. He turns, and a man stands before him, a battered and dented firework gingerly clutched in the beggar's outstretched hands. The disheveled man looks down, ashamed, then summons enough inner strength to meet the Illuminator's eyes. In a determined voice the broken man says aloud 'Teach me what you know of your craft. I want to join the Guild of Illuminators.'