©2019-2021 Michael Raven
“If you value both your eyes,” said the old hag with her cataract-clouded gaze, “I would not seek the wisdom of ash, oak, and thorn. I would go back to your woman and give her a life of lust, children and laughter. The path you walk leads only to despair, for that is the gift this knowledge brings.”
He smartly rapped the head of the staff on the table, causing the soils cast for the geomancy to jitter-dance on the surface.
“Damn your caution, spell-singer,” he said, voice gruff with the journey’s fatigue. “I’ll give both of my eyes if it gives my people the means to battle the Rime. Now tell me how to find the answers I seek, or I’ll beat them out of you.”
She shook her head. So young. So stupid. The answers he sought were not the answers, but he had already decided she was clueless, though he’d sought her guidance.
Sighing. “You must die before you get answers, and it will be an eye you shall surrender.”
She showed him a map of the place he needed to visit and watched him leave without so much as thanks or by-your-leave.
Another social flashfict from this day in 2019. Minor revisions and additions. Mostly cleanup. More in the fantasy vein than the new weird, but elements of both. I had plotted out a portion of a longer novel involving some of these concepts — namely the threat of “The Rime”, which is not explained here and not really needing an explanation. Maybe I’ll get back to that novel, however unlikely.