The Five Wanderers

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Runi hefted a heavy backpack of supplies off of his shoulder as he finally came to the top of the mountain trail. He would need to rest here before carrying on, but he wanted to just breathe for a moment and take in the view.

The sky was bathed in orange and pink and the trail was leading downwards into a beautiful valley that was full of giant buildings. It was a glistening city and clearly a thriving metropolis.

It was his home.

Of course it was strange to be revisiting this place without his friends, but he knew they were better off without him right now. Elidi was going to have her baby in a few months, and Cetas wasn't a fan of his anymore, and neither was Royse for that matter.

It was sad to come here without them, but he knew it was for the best.

“Wow,” a voice said from behind him. “This is where you came from? How did you not feel lost in such a place?”

“Oh, I did,” Runi said as he glanced back at Hector. He had managed to persuade the guardian to join him, but only because he felt it was in his best interest to see if there was any lingering information from the Child of Prophecy. “It’s a large city and I was a poor kid. No one knew I existed there until I became a Royal.”

“That must have been shocking,” Hector smiled a bit. “But it must have also been encouraging to those in your community. Maybe they felt that they could be like you one day.”

“They’re lucky they’re not,” Runi said as he finally sat down.

Hector raised an eyebrow, but he just shrugged and sat down next to him. “Will we reach your city by tomorrow?”

“We should,” Runi nodded as he passed a sandwich that had been made by Apinya to him before taking one out for himself. “You’ll have to follow my lead once we get there.”

“What exactly are we going to do there? Do you think you can find information about an Oracle from a city you lived in?” Hector asked curiously as he removed the paper that protected the sandwich and began to eat.

“I never looked for information back then,” Runi said. “But our city has massive libraries and universities and museums that hold wells of information. It’s not a bad place to start.”

Hector nodded as he chewed on his food and considered what they might find. He felt that there might be other reasons why Runi wanted to come here, too, but he wasn’t sure if Runi was willing to admit that.

“Do you wish to see your family while you’re here?” he asked absently between bites.

Runi tensed up for a moment, and then he shrugged. “I don’t think they’ll want to see me.”

“A lot of time has passed,” Hector pointed out. “They must have heard stories about you saving yourselves by now.”

“If they have, those stories are likely to be associated with you. And, no offense, but most of humanity doesn’t like the Monarchs,” Runi said with a small smirk. “I’m not sure any stories of my recent renown is going to win me any gratitude.”

Hector nodded. He understood how it was to be an outsider. Well, he was still an outsider to humanity, really. Being a guardian was putting a target on you, because the Descendants of their enemies had spread information far and wide that the Monarchs were dangerous and all guardians were dangerous by association.

It was unfortunate, but that was the world they had woken up to.

“Well, at least we have a start here,” Hector said as he looked out at the landscape. “What is the patron Immortal of your city?”

“Arturious, the Immortal of Guidance or the Stars depending on what region you’re from,” Runi explained. “I don’t feel much attachment to him. He never did anything for me or my family. Fate is the only thing that has dictated my movements.”

“Maybe he was behind your Fate, if he’s the Immortal of Guidance,” Hector mused.

“The Immortals are subject to Fate, just as much as we are,” Runi rolled his eyes. “The One created Fate. The Immortals didn’t, so they can’t touch it. They might be able to use it to their advantage, but they can’t do anything about how it flows.”

“Fair enough,” Hector waved his hand. “You don’t need to educate me. I know the way of the world.”

Runi nodded and then crumpled up the paper that had once held his sandwich inside of it and he tossed it into his bag. He wasn’t sure what was going to be ahead of them, aside from mild glimpses through his visions.

The only thing he knew for certain was that they were going in the right direction to avoid the worst of the shadows, but he knew there were still shadows waiting for them ahead. He knew that meant there were going to be difficult decisions for both of them to make on this journey, but maybe, just maybe, he was going to attain some sort of enlightenment at the end of it.

He wanted to be a good friend and trustworthy clairvoyant, and he felt like this was the only thing left for him to do.

Retrace his steps to find new information in old places, and travel deep into the mountains where people did not go. That had to be where the Oracles were hiding.

And that had to be their destination.

(Continue to follow the story with the fourth book of the Guardian Chronicles, 'Awakening'.)
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