Syzuk, United Empire the Kingdom of Humans.
The fortune of the fool
The fire in the hearth hissed softly as it fed on the wood turning it into charred remains.
Something got tossed into the fire, a handful of herbs and some other items which were impossible to identify. A heavy aroma filled the room as the herbs burned away it was a heady scent which could make one drowsy if not accustomed to it.
Iit by only a few candles and the fire in the hearth the small room and its contents were shrowded in shadows. All one could see was a young man waiting nervously at the dim lit table. He was dressed in very fine clothes indeed and carried a sword mostly for decoration.
He did not appear to have the ability to actually wield one.
The way he sat at the table wringing his hands together gave the impression he was about to do something he wasn´t supposed to be doing. Something frowned upon, something forbidden. He was waiting for the secrets of his life to be reveiled.
His friends had warned him not to go to her. They had told him stories about the Lescanzi, black hearted witches who stole away men and ravaged them in the dark of night. They had gone into particular detail about a young soothsayer a Lescanzi who had her eyes cut out as punishment for predicitng the death of a wealthy land owner. Enough to scare away any fool but yet here he was seemingly unfazed by these stories.
The woman near the hearth got up and walked over to the table slowly. Her walk was strange unbalanced probably because of her age. It was hard to make out her figure in the darkness of the room. A shawl covered her almost completely and her flowing skirts hid her legs. Her face was covered as well by a veil probably a good thing the young men mused.
He wouldn’t want to look at the old hag.
"Put your money on the table and we will begin" The sound of her voice struck him. It was pleasant but had a condescending tone to it. But most of all it didn’t sound like the voice he was expecting. He took out his purse and put a few gold pieces into a curiously shaped bowl. The precious metal made a resounding clank when it hit the bottom.
She leaned on the table before edging her way to the seat opposite of him. She took off her shawl and lifted her veil. He was astonished she was……..young. She looked to be around his age. He could see everything except her eyes they were covered with fabric. The story of the young soothsayer floated somewhere in the back of his mind but he did not care. He only noticed the way her dark curles framed her small face and flowed down her pale shoulders. The way her lips moved when she…..
“Now what do you wish of me?”
His heart stuck in his throat when he realized he had been staring at her which she must have sensed taken his silence.
“I want to know if I am soon to be married” The fire hissed and turned blue for a few seconds before returning to a warm orange. It remaind silent for a while as the young woman folded her hands on the table.
“Retrieve your items from the fire” The young man looked at her strangly and hesitated when he approached the hearth.
“But…..” he protested. If he went to take out the necklace and the bone he would surely burn his hand. Maybe if he was quick he could get out with just some blisters but he doubted it.
The iron poke offered itself as the sollution and he breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately his reflief was short lived as the women spoke yet again.
“If you wish to know the things of which you speak you must pay the price”
He reluctantly put his hand in the fire and retrieved both items as fast as he could. Once he was seated at the table she took his hand. Her fingers were soft and cool as she opened his hand and took the two items. Small blisters had formed on his palm and she placed his hand in a bowl of water which she had prepared before he came to see her.
The only sounds came from the crackling fire and his heavy breathing. It was uncomfortably silent and the women let the dainty necklace slide through her fingers first. The bone lay still on the table showing small cracks from its time in the hearth.
“She is very beautiful the woman you desire” an obvious guess but the man seemed to buy into it as he leaned in closer to listen to the words of the woman. The necklace showed her more but nothing the young man would want to know. People who came to her never wanted the truth they just wanted good news. The truth used to be clear like the surface of water but now she could only guess……..
Next to pass into her hands was the cracked bone and she took the time to feel how the fire had tempered the surface. It looked like a bone from a small animal but it was something else.
“You will marry…..” she fell silent for a moment as she heard the man breath a sigh of happiness. “But” she continued.
“Your wife will be unable to have children and you will never a family of your own” Suddenly the table flew across the room and candles rolled over the stone floor. The young man grabbed her by her arms yelling at her.
“You are lying you witch!” she remained calm placing her hands on his chest trying to push him away from her.
“That is what I have seen” she spoke calmy.
The door opened and a soldier who guarded her entrance entered the room making his way over to the pair. He only looked at the young noble.
“You need to leave……now” His voice had a hint of malice to it.
After he was gone she kneeled down to the floor trying to gather her things. The man who had entered kneeled down beside her and handed her the candles and other trinkets. “You are being foolish Lamia….” He placed a hand on her shoulder. She yanked his hand of her shoulder angrily.
“I don’t need your judgement fool!”
With effort she made it to the chair which was still standing and put on her veil again.
“Now leave me be”