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Virgil is, he thinks, the last Sage still in a physical form. So many have given up now. The need isn’t the same.

Here’s the thing. Kings of old and their subjects sought out Virgil and his brethren to hear their destiny, what they were meant to do. But Virgil couldn’t see the future, full stop. He saw possibilities. Every woodcutter’s son or precocious prince who sought him out wanted to have a higher purpose or great destiny. Virgil gave them the potential. In a riddle.

The riddle was the most important part, and the most frustrating. Did he wish that he could give a straight and direct answer that explained exactly what they should do? Of course, yes. But nothing about him was straight, and his power could not be direct. There was no one capital-f Fate that each seeker would have lived out anyway, aware or unaware. There were just… possibilities. The indirectness allowed choice, allowed free will. And only those who sought a destiny and took it to heart were at all bound to it.

Which led Virgil to the modern problem. It was the twenty-first century. Who wanted some young-looking man to tell them their cryptic fate? He certainly couldn’t sit in a distant mountain cave the way he’d used to, waiting for determined quest-goers. And honestly, the solitude had really gotten to him. Just because he could be alone for years straight without needing food or companionship didn’t mean he didn’t want both.

Reforming had been his real mistake. He’d watched and heard of the other Sages finally dying of their bodies’ old ages or quest seekers angry at their vagueness. They’d all stayed incorporeal, searching the world for determined individuals who could make a difference if only a small voice in the back of their head urged them to act. Virgil sighed and wished he’d followed their example. But he’d panicked and worried about losing a form forever. So here he was, in the shape of a twenty-five-year-old man who had been on this world for over three thousand. How would he ever work this to get anyone to listen to him? Likely impossible. So he was trying something new- living as a regular human. Exploring life without fates and quests and kings and dragons. The latter had all been killed off anyway. Maybe he’d find some joy or entertainment out of this life as a non-Sage. And if not, he’d wait in this body until it withered, and finally rejoin the others.

Now he just needed to figure out what exactly humans without a destiny did.