The Five Wanderers

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Chapter 32

“An Oath? Like...a Blood Oath?” Luca asked with a small frown. “I mean, I understand that they’re nervous after what happened, but I don’t think we need to be bound to them for the rest of our lives.”

“It does seem drastic,” Minhee said softly. “Can’t they just trust our word? We’ll keep Jakob in check from now on.”

“But we couldn’t before,” Apinya said with a small shrug as she glanced at Jakob. “I’m sorry to talk about you like this, but it was a very strange situation.”

“No, it’s okay,” Jakob said as he looked down. “I know I made a mistake.”

Hector scratched his head before letting out a sigh. “I say we go along with it,” he said.

“Hector, are you serious-” Luca questioned, but Hector cut him off before he could continue.

“It’s not going to be too much of a bother to us. We want to continue to work with them, right? We want to keep our alliance strong. They are a powerful force and we are outnumbered by them, not to mention we do seem to get along pretty well,” Hector continued. “If they want an Oath, we should let them have that. Oaths can be broken if they become inconvenient.”

“It’s usually a high price to break a Blood Oath, Hector,” Minhee pointed out with a concerned expression. “And besides, why would we have to break it? I don’t think the Royals are going to turn on us. Well, they can’t even do that if they commit to an Oath with us.”

“I guess it really does protect both sides,” Jakob said with a small nod. “We should do it. I’m...I’m sorry that I caused all of this, though. If anything happens between us because of the Oath, I assure you that I’ll take responsibility.”

“I think it’ll be safe for us to do,” Dari said. “We might not have to do a Blood Oath, it might just be a normal spell. It’d be a difficult thing to break, but if it became necessary for whatever reason then we surely could. I don’t think it’ll be necessary, I think the Royals are good people and our alliance will remain strong with this oath. Whatever it might be.”

“I don’t like it,” Luca said with a soft huff. “But if you all want to, you know I’ll follow. I just don’t like being tied to another group. We’ve never done that before, we’ve always been on our own.”

“Well, times change and maybe it’s a good thing,” Minhee said with a small smile. “It’s good to have friends and allies.”

“Alright,” Dari said. “Then we’ve decided. Tomorrow night we’re going to the Oath ceremony.”

“That’s good,” Jakob said with a nod. “I want this nightmare to all be over.”

Dari looked at Jakob and put a hand lightly on his shoulder. “If you want to go and visit with Jeriah, you can. I’d advise you against telling him about the Oath, since he might not like it.”

Jakob hesitated, because of course he felt weird keeping secrets from his twin, but he just nodded and then got to his feet and walked out of the room.

“An Oath?” Elidi asked as she watched Cetas explain the idea to the rest of the group. “What does that entail exactly?”

“Runi found this book in their library about creating oaths with people,” Cetas said as he held up the book. “Most of them are spells that can cause different types of magical bonds between people.”

“Okay?” Elidi’s eyes narrowed a little. “But?”

“Should we really trust something Runi has brought to us?” Royse spoke up from the corner where he sat with his arms folded across his chest. His light brown eyes flicked over to where Runi was, and his stare was cold as ice. Very unusual for Royse, but not unusual given the recent situation.

“We have to do something, and this idea is not a bad one, alright? I don't agree with Runi either, but this isn't about him," Cetas said firmly before returning to his explanation. "There’s also something called a Blood Oath. If someone breaks a Blood Oath, it can cause big problems for that person and could even result in...death,” Cetas explained. “It’s a big risk, I guess, but it would ensure that the Monarchs could never turn on us again.”

“No, absolutely not,” Levant said quickly. “We’ve had enough violence around us. We don’t want to put our lives at risk like that! I mean, if the Oath is to ensure we work alongside the Monarchs and don’t hurt each other then I’m sure we’d be safe, but what...what if an accident happened? One of us could die because of an accident.”

“Levant makes a great point,” Royse agreed. “I don’t think we should do a Blood Oath at all.”

“I agree,” Elidi nodded. “I know it’s important for all of us to be safe, but I don’t think we need to go that far.”

“What are the other oaths like?” Tallis asked as he held up his hand to be noticed. “I think an oath isn’t a bad idea, honestly, but the Blood Oath does sound like something you’d do to an enemy instead of a friend.”

“Are we really friends with them after what happened?” Laguna asked. “I mean, I can remain peaceful with them, but there is a lot we don’t know about the Monarchs except for their legends that have simply been passed down by word of mouth.”

“I kinda agree, but I think they’ve proven that they aren’t the cruel overlords that the Descendants say they are,” Royse said with a small shrug. “There’s a lot we don’t know about them, and I think we should remain cautious, but they did help us save Oriana.”

“I suppose,” Cetas said with a small nod. “But whatever their feelings are towards us, I think we need to do an Oath. At least the spell type. That way we can have some security. They are very powerful, and even if we are powerful, too...they are supernatural creatures that were born in a much tougher age.”

“So, we agree? We’ll create an Oath with them so they can’t hurt us again?” Darya asked as she smiled at the others and looked on with curiosity.

“I think it might be troubling to bind ourselves to them like this,” Minda finally spoke up after silently taking in the situation. “If we’re bound by an Oath, it could hurt us, too. What if something happened and we had to break it? We’d have to go to all the trouble of figuring out how to do that.”

“But why would we have to break it?” Darya asked.

“Well, if they turned out to not be who we think they are. Laguna pointed out that we’ve only known them personally for a few months,” Minda said as she glanced at Darya. “We only know a little bit about them. I just wonder if it’s smart to be so...comfortable with them.”

Then another voice interrupted all their thoughts.

“A simple magical Oath isn’t hard to break, and it could bring some of us great comfort. But, I don’t think we all have to do the Oath. If you’re not comfortable with it, don’t do it.”

They all looked back to see Oriana standing in the doorway and leaning on a crutch. She had only gotten out of bed a couple times, so it was amazing to see her on her feet. Honestly, a rush of relief overwhelmed Cetas to see Oriana standing there. She really was going to be okay. Soon she wouldn’t need that crutch, either.

“You think only some of us should do the Oath?” Runi asked as he tilted his head. “Which ones?”

“I mean, I’d be happy to do an Oath with the Monarchs. An Oath to ensure that we can’t hurt each other, or something. I think it’ll just make things more peaceful between us, and I think it’ll comfort all of you,” Oriana said as she walked in. Laguna jumped off of her chair and gestured for Oriana to sit, which she gratefully did. “I know why you want to protect all of us, Cetas, and I’m grateful for that, but I think this matter can be resolved in a smaller way.”

“Runi? Do you sense anything about us doing this Oath?” Elidi asked as she looked at him. “Maybe he can give us a clue of what direction to take.”

Runi sighed. “You can’t rely on my senses all the time,” he said as he looked at Elidi. “I think what Oriana said is the key, anyway. Not all of us have to be bound by an Oath if we don’t want to. I don’t want to. My only oath is to all of you. I don’t need to have an oath to anyone else.”

“I’m with Runi,” Laguna said with a nod. Minda nodded as well.

Cetas held up his hand to stop all the talking. “Let’s make this simple: Which one of you wants to do the oath?” he asked. Tallis, Oriana, Darya, Royse, and Cetas all kept their hands up. It seemed that the rest deemed it was unnecessary, or just didn’t want to be too close to the Monarchs.

“I guess that’s settled,” Darya said as she looked around the room. “I think those who are choosing not to be bound by the oath should learn how to break an oath, then. Just in case we run into some trouble with it.”

“Which we won’t,” Tallis pointed out again. “They’ve helped us a lot in the past. I don’t think we need to worry so much. Being cautious is fine, but I think our view on them has distorted too much. Jakob is the one who was possessed by his Twin Soul nature, it wasn’t all of them. Apinya and Luca tried to stop him, remember?”

There were some nods and murmuring with agreement, but ultimately it was decided. Some of them were going to do the oath with the Monarchs, and the rest were just going to be supportive of their members.

It was going to be an interesting evening tomorrow.

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