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I'm trying to find a 4 book young adult fantasy series. I read it in the mid-80's and I found it in the juvenile/young adults section of my local library. In the first book, something terrible happens in a temple, and a young prince is sent on a quest to retrieve 4 sacred orbs or jewels. If he fails, some doom befalls the world or his kingdom; I can't remember exactly. The orbs/jewels are guarded by some sort of guardians. I think the series title had Guardian in the title, but I haven't been able to find a series with that title.

In the second book, one of his companions is offered the chance to look through a window that opens beyond the edge of the world. The companion is too afraid and decides not to look.

In the third book, the prince and his companions go to a kingdom of ghosts or of the dead. The nobles in this kingdom had cut off parts of or all of their fingers to indicate their status, the less fingers you had the higher your noble rank was. The prince defeats a villain in the 3rd book by holding up a glowing jewel, which damages his hand, making him unable to play a musical instrument (a harp or guitar, I think).

I think in the 4th book, the prince dies in the end, but the book ends with him in the afterlife with his gods and is checking on his former companions.

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Sounds like the Seven Citadels series by Geraldine Harris. Is the prince called Kerish-lo-Taan?

In The Seven Citadels the prince is on a quest to save his threatened kingdom by collecting 7 keys (not 4 jewels) from seven sorcerers. A prophecy says if he can do this, an imprisoned Saviour will come forth and the kingdom be saved. There are four books in the series: the episodes quoted above do occur as described: the resolution is that at the end he dies, and from the afterlife witnesses what happens in the kingdom.

The rather skeletal synopses offered by the Speculative Fiction database are as follows:

  • Prince of the Godborn: Kerish, third son of the Emperor, sets out to find the mythical savior, imprisoned behind seven gates by seven sorcerors, who alone can save the nation Galkis.
  • Children of the Wind: Kerish, prince of Galkis, travels through the deadly marshes of Lan-Pin-Fria to obtain the key he needs to continue his search for his nation's savior.
  • The Dead Kingdom: The impulsive Kerish and his three companions continue their quest for the seven keys needed to save the kingdom of Galkis, nearing the citadel of the fourth sorceror, Saroc.
  • The Seventh Gate: Nearing the conclusion of their search for the seven keys to the prison of the Saviour of Galkis, Kerish and his companions are captured by the ruthless Brigands of Fangmere while on their way to the Forbidden Jungle of Jenze.
  • I haven't read these in a long time, but I do recall an incident where they met people who had wooden carvings that showed their inner selves (life-sized statues). They would magically change as the person changes. To get away from them, the heroes dumped the statues in the ocean so that their pursuers would have to stop and pick them up. – eshier Jun 1 '17 at 17:24

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