Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Seer

A lone woman strode down the center of the hall, her boots loud as she strode along the stones parallel to the long hearth, her long cloak, black and feathered, dragging against the floor behind her.  Warriors turned as she walked, watching her, silence falling over them; a cloud moved with her, one unseen but felt.  The Seer of the Wynterwyrm was a woman of myserious and uncanny power, and even the bold sea-wolves were wary of her in a foul mood; and the impending tempest that surrounded her now was as fierce as any squal they had faced on the night-dark sea.

King Snyrri, lounging lazily on the whale-bone throne, watched her; and while a smug smile played across his lips, uncertainty cowered in the corners of his blue-grey eyes.   A circlet of heavy gold sat on his brow, and his leanly-muscled chest and arms were bare save for the black, interlacing dragons and sea-serpents tattooed across him, and his long hair hung in lank, golden waves down below his shoulders.

"Sythi," he said, with a sardonic smile as he languidly moved to sit straight up.  "I have been waiting."

"I am not a thrall to be summoned," she replied, her eyes flashing, her voice full of menace like a coiled viper.

"No?"  He asked.  "Then what am I to do, when I need my seer's advice?"

"If I have advice for you," she replied.  "I will make it known.  I will not have your dogs come barking for me."

"A dog and a wolf may look the same," he answered sharply.  "Until a fool turns his back."

"A dog may think it's a wolf," she shot back.  "Yet it still begs for scraps."

The King's eyes narrowed, and his mouth opened to spit a curse, but when he met her violet-eyed gaze it died on its lips.  "You have been gone too long," he said.  "I thought perhaps the giants had eaten you."

"The jotun that tried would choke first," she answered.  "I have been busy."

"With what?"

"Reading the signs," she replied.  "Searching for your... lost wolf."

His glower returned, but he did not meet her gaze again.  "My cousin," he said.  "Is a thorn in my side.  He slipped my net in radaburg."

"If by slipped your net, you mean slaughtered one of your hired blades like a crippled lamb."

His eyes flashed again.  "Be wary, witch.  I will only tolerate your insolence so far.  Have you found him?"

She shook her head.  "No.  I have not.  Neither my far-seeing nor my spies have found any trace of him.  He is in the wind."

He swore.  "You're as useless as the rest of them."

"I have, however," she continued, cutting him off.  "Found more of his crew.  Perhaps they know more."

"Where? I'll send a score of warriors and drag them back here."

She shook her head.  "No," she replied.  "They are too near an elven fortress.  That could cause trouble you don't want."

"I don't fear the elves!"

"Then you're a fool.  Send me, instead, with a half-dozen I pick."

He studied her face.  She smiled back at him, her lips twisting into a bold, wolfish grin, and threw back her long dark hair that gleamed almost purple in the flickering light of the hearth.  The same flickering glow made her face seem more angular, more striking; an otherworldly being, enigmatic and perilous.  

"You can do such a thing?"  The king's voice was weak, awestruck.  He seemed very small before her; a lean and hungry thing with more spite than courage.

She nodded. "I can, oh king.  I can bring you the wolf's loyal crew and make them sing to you of where he hides.  Then your throne will finally be secure."

His own smile returned, full of venom and malice and dark anticpation.  "Good," he said.  "Then make it so."

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