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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Turgis prodded Keita’s still form where it lie on the bed.  The girl jumped up from a dead sleep, staring at the soldier as she scrambled to find a weapon.

“You’re a jumpy little thing in the mornings, aren’t ye?”  Turgis said with a laugh, standing beside the bed fully dressed.  “I wouldn’t have guessed a barbarian would sleep so late.”  Keita stared at him hatefully, her multi-coloured braid coming loose and fraying.

“The Ora wake with the sun every morning.  This is not morning.”  She said as she began to remember where she was.  Turgis nodded knowingly, as he opened the curtains over the window, letting the bright morning sun filter into the room.

“Whatever you say, darling.  I’m going to get some breakfast downstairs.”

Keita came down to the kitchen table a short time later.  Her hair was neatly braided as she stared through blurry eyes.  The only person at the big table was Turgis, though as she entered the room he pushed a plate of eggs and hash towards her.

“Not much of a morning person, I guess.”  Turgis sipped a dark tea, oblivious to Keita glaring dagger at him over the plate of food.  “I’ve been doing some thinking while you were getting your beauty sleep.  I seem to recall you mentioning some else you wanted to talk to here in Cetrius.  Seems like it might be a place to start.”  Keita swallowed a mouthful of potato.

“Don’t you have a job you’re supposed to do instead of helping me look for Elders?”  She asked suspiciously.  Turgis shrugged.

“That is my business, but I trust no one will notice my absence.”  Keita snorted.

“Really?  You’ll tell me that you think your King is insane but not that?”

“Everyone has the little truths they’d like to run away from.”  He replied casually.  Keita  lightly blushed behind her scars.

“Yes, well, it doesn’t matter much, I’m not sure where the Elder is.  This is my first time outside of the plains.  It was by luck that I found the city.”  Turgis laughed.

“Well then, perhaps it’s lucky that you found a patron as easily as you did.  So tell me, what did the Elder tell you?”  He asked.

“To find the Elder within the borders of Cetrius.  She mentioned it would be a place of great spirituality, near the Oak of Ages.”

“Hmm.”  Turgis stroked his stubbled chin.  “I’m as lost as you are.  But I know someone who would know.  Luckily, she sleeps in almost as late as you do.”

Gwendolyn  stumbled down the stairs to the common room of the Warden’s headquarters.  The small flowers in her hair had all closed their blossoms overnight, and were just beginning to reopen.  Suppressing a yawn, she grabbed a black kettle out of the hearth and poured the water over a cup of tea leaves.  She watched the tea seep out of half opened eyes quietly.  When it was cooled enough to drink, she raised it to her lips, her eyes drifting towards the window that looked out to the Warden’s Garden.

Outside the window, she saw Turgis’s smiling face, waving enthusiastically at her.

Gwen sputtered in shock, sending hot tea spraying all over the table before her.