I had been running through the city for days when they finally caught up to us. I was set up as the rear-guard; my job was to keep eyes on both my ward and our pursuers, a task that required constant vigilance. A keen memory, attention to detail, healthy paranoia, excessive endurance, and the use of godhand were also necessary, but no one told me this at the start. My priest only told me “Take her to the holy city, there you will be safe.” She was so wrong. I prayed she would never be so wrong again. My partner and I met up with the woman a few miles outside the nearest town, at the edge of the desert (the edge of the world, most called it, the older ones in bitter, drunken voices) and we could tell she was young. She was much younger than we imagined. She was small and thin and ever so pregnant and we had to take her through the desert, through the nothing where no one went all the way to the holy city. All the way to the holy city no one had seen or heard from in years. All I could think about was how we were all too young for this, we weren’t ready for this, what if the city was empty? What if the holy men were gone or dead? What if we were being followed? What if I hurt someone? What if I had to hurt someone? I prayed I wouldn’t have to hurt anyone, and so I kept behind my partner and the woman, who was more of a girl than a woman. I stayed behind ten paces, sometimes more, but always ten. I glanced behind me from time to time, but it did not seem we were being followed. Once a large snake was behind me and I pushed it away without thinking, and a great gust of sand erupted out from me, ten paces in all directions. The girl stumbled a bit and coughed. I felt terrible and did not press my weak godhand to anything after that. It was lonely ten paces behind, but occasionally my partner would speak his godvoice at my mind a little, and his thoughts would bounce inside my head, the heat of the desert and the feel of the sand would be doubled like an echo, but his hope would ring through the link as well, and it pushed me on. At night between guard shifts we would talk a little. He always talked more than me, and I felt that maybe the reason he had such a clear godvoice was because he had too many thoughts. He agreed, I think. He told me that if he had to, he could knock a man down just by giving them all of his worst nightmares, all of his childhood fears and the voices he heard right before sleep. He had done it once, he told me. It was terrible. He told me that always from the girl he could feel a faint longing, and always inside the girl was something that pained him like an itch. The baby, he said, was indeed something more. I had never questioned whether that was the case, because the priest could not be wrong about such a prophecy, could she? I trusted her fully. If this baby had to be taken to the holy city, away from the bloodthirsty and the blasphemers, I would do it. We would do it, my partner and I. I slept easier after that. At nights while I guarded our small campsite, I would practice. I would push out my godhand with my thoughts, push it at one small rock, but it never worked. I pushed everything out to ten paces in all directions, every time. I was not as gifted as my young partner. I was not as lucky as the young girl. I was simply too feeble minded to wield the powers gifted to me by the gods. I cried, some nights. We traveled, ever closer to the center of the world, and the rings around the earth slowly thinned as we approached. On the ninth day, when the rings finally seemed little more than a silver line across the dusty sky, we saw it. Large and looming was a city in the distance. Large stone structures, worn smooth by the sand, and high walls encompassing it all, hiding away the world’s greatest wonders. My imagination ran wild with the thought of it, all the things I had heard about from the priests or read about in the history books. About the great green king, and the robed saints who build the city still, deep down beneath the ground. I imagined the city in its glory, the buildings adorned with carvings of the most beautiful life script, the halls echoing with the chants of the devout and the ringing of bells throughout the day. The beautiful colors of the banners, the paintings and tapestries. The miracles that were performed there. The gods that were born there. I thought of all these things and more as the sand blew softly all around me ten paces out, and from ten paces away my partner held my hand in his thoughts. We had arrived at the holy city, we had arrived at what was once the greatest city in the world. We were at the center of it all, the heart of the desert, and we thought we were safe. Outside, the city seemed quiet and asleep.