CHAPTER NINE

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     Avos left with his uncle the very next morning, they both felt there was no need to prolong their departure. There were still tears and smiles and lots of hugs between he and his parents before they left and it didn't really feel like he was leaving home, more like going on a vacation. He'd see them again, he promised them both he would.

        The pair travelled on horseback. Avos's parents had given him Chariot, though Marcus had left his parents with enough coin to purchase a new horse. He rode his black mare, named Dot.

  Their journey began by making their way North up Squire's Road. Part of him was thrilled; he was finally on the open road like he always wanted to be with his dad, but now the thought of his father only brought him pain. He didn't let on before he left, but he still felt hurt by the secrets his parents kept from him. More so his father, for never letting him go anywhere. Even though he now realized it wasn't because his dad wanted him to take care of the farm, it was because he feared what would happen if Avos was discovered. Would leaving now put him at risk?

     He looked at Chancellor Marcus Thane for a hint of comfort, though saw only a stranger.  He wondered if this Chancellor felt the same way about him and why he was never told he had an uncle. This stranger had said some crazy things about what he thought Avos was born to do and who he was going to become.

     Avos didn't really believe they were related, or at least he believed his father and mother had no brothers, so who was this man to him?

     It still felt a bit like a dream. The sun shone down from a clear blue sky and as far as he could see was the green of the meadows and the violet glens far off in the distance. He wasn't sure he wanted to wake up. He'd never been this far away from his home.

     "We'll make camp here tonight." Marcus surveyed the area he had chosen with a quick look around and then got off his horse. He led his mare off the dirt path and up into a clearing tucked away behind a small hill that must have caught his eye. Avos had missed it completely, but the earth was scorched  and damp. Other travellers must have stopped and had a fire here not too many days ago.

        This was already the third night they had stopped and made camp. There hadn't been much conversation between the two of them yet. Avos didn't really know where to begin. He wanted to tell Marcus about the vision he had on the morning of his arrival, but every time he tried to bring it up, his words failed him. 

     Marcus had been closed lipped, for the most part.  Avos thought it was wise of him to give him his space and let him have time to digest his new fate. Though on the road, he pointed out some landmarks he must have assumed Avos had never seen before. He was right of course, on most counts Avos had never even heard of them.

     They had passed the Sampson's Quarry on their first day together.  What an odd sight that was to him; a crystal blue lake surrounded by mountainous stone staircases. It was hard for Avos to imagine the manpower and time it must have took to excavate such a large piece of land. Limestone, Marcus had explained, was well in demand in the cities and could be used to construct great buildings and monuments to the Light. 

    They travelled by large forests and small towns. They never ventured into either, they always passed by the outskirts and stayed off of the main roads. Most of the time, Avos worried that this Chancellor didn't know where he was going at all. It didn't seem to him that they were following any one direction, so he was glad to now have a rest and get his bearing. He hoped to get more of a chance to speak with his chaperon.

     As soon as they were settled, Avos worked up the courage to open up to the Chancellor.

     "I wasn't as surprised as I should have been," he began. Marcus looked at him and raised an eyebrow. He smiled and nodded.

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