CHAPTER SEVEN

part III

Roe awoke early, her dreams shaking her from her slumber to the quiet stillness of dawn, no sound but the hushed rhythm of Ari’s steady breaths. She managed to slip out of the cramped tent and into the gentle breeze without waking the sorcerer. As she gazed into the bruised sunrise, she couldn’t help but feel lost.

Lost in the vastness of the desert. Lost in the world. Lost in her life.

The universe was large enough a week ago but now? With magic and prophecies and some unknown evil? And what lay beyond those things?

The ideas were too huge, too... frightening, to bear.

And, in the wake of these things, the unfathomable and the unknown, it was her constant companions of inadequacy and insignificance that seemed to burn brighter. Tug harder. Cut deeper.

But the sun cracked over the horizon, spilling light onto the seemingly endless plains before her. And she couldn’t help but think of her grandmother. Of W0RM. The sounds of the city. The smell of fresh solder. The feel of grease between her fingers.

And, for a moment, she found herself. Her center. Her heart.

But the moment passed.

By the time Ari emerged from the tent with the robotic roadrunner at her side, she found Roe sat between their packed gear, silently tinkering with her busted multi-tool, ready to leave their camp behind.


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