Milky White Eyes and a Pitch Black Cloak
On the other side of the village, a little way off in a clearing, Myle and Petyr had found the priestess, a seer of the god of prophecy Lugh. She told the men that she would look for answers to their questions about the ravens, after a little while she said that she would need a feather of a raven to see more clearly. Saying that she could not help them further without a feather she suggested they hurry back home. Not missing the understated urgency in her words, the men almost ran from the clearing for the safety of the main hall, desperate not to be caught outside when the ravens attacked. Sure enough the trees were already well covered in black bodies. Petyr caught sight of one raven that was much larger than any of the others, and much larger than any raven had a right to be! Remembering his manners, he bid good day to the raven before hurrying on. He couldn’t be sure but the raven seemed to nod its greetings back to him…
It was a quiet evening. The men got back to the main hall before sunset, and while anyone else would be settled by how quiet the ravens were, Sir Brychan’s party was on tenterhooks. By sunset every house was swathed in sable and it sounded like more had joined them after darkness made it impossible to see. Nevertheless, the men tried to all sleep that night, aware that they would be better off resting rather than constantly looking out the window. They also could not set a watch without offending their host’s hospitality; it would seem as if they didn’t think Sir Caulas’s guard was trustworthy. Instead a restless few men joined the guard to lend an extra hand on this most ominous night.
For several hours there was nothing but the eerie silence of the crown and the crackling of the fire, until one of the local guardsmen saw a figure in the gloom. It seemed to be a person on foot, walking up the muddy road straight towards the main hall. Normally the men would have gone out to challenge her, but tonight nobody thought that was a good idea. The figure did not stop until right outside the door where she knocked three times. When the door was opened there was a mass of men all peeking out to see who this mysterious figure in the night was. She was definitely female, but aside from that most of her features were concealed by the hood drawn over her head. Before being addressed, she spoke in a understated and regal voice.
“We have come for the girl”
Shocked, there was no reply. She pointed a long nailed finger at Issa who was near the front of the men.
“You will give us the girl. Until then, the Ravens will mark you.”
With that she turned on her heel, her cloak snapping about her in a breeze that wasn’t blowing, and went in the direction from which she had come. Those with good night eyes noticed something about her silhouette just before she slipped into darkness, but quickly forgot it as all the ravens took to the wing at once in a cawing mass.
The men all grabbed their weapons, but it seemed that this time the birds were not after blood, and left peacefully. Petyr hurried outside to snatch up the closest feather before they returned. And, after a fretful night’s sleep, gave it to the priestess with Myle first thing in the morning.
It seemed that she had not moved overnight and the pond was as clear and still as ever, as if time and change was somehow irrelevant here. Without a word, the priestess took the feather proffered to her by Petyr and tossed it into the pool. Where it landed the water rippled and where the ripple passes over, the image of the bottom of the pool started to move and change. Eventually, after a minute or two, they were no longer looking at the bottom of the pool, but rather it seemed, out of another. They saw a scene of unmistakable ritual, with two priestesses initiating a young girl, the leader of the ritual raised her hand and from all sides, black shapes filled the sky in a perfect swirling pattern. From above one of the ravens gently landed on the leader’s hand and after a moment was passed to the initiate, who accepted it. As the raven hopped onto her hand the feather which was floating peacefully in the pool, bobbed down creating another ripple which altered the image until it changed back into the bottom of the pool. “I cannot tell you whether these images you see have happened, will happen, or are happening now. I also cannot tell you whether these are true or possibly true, or whether they are true to exist in someone’s mind. All I can tell you is that the girl you rescued is significant.”
“Wow, how helpful,” Myle sneered, impressed by the display but not by the priestesses words, “I’m going back to the hall.”
Petyr however was more graceful and thanked the Seer of Lugh for her time and for sharing the vision. He also asked her for a blessing in this dark time. After a pause long enough to cause offence to someone less patient, the seer lifted her eyes from the pool for the first time. She turned look at him. Her pupils were large and her eyes were clouded, she would soon be blind if she wasn’t already. Such is the price for true sight. She smiled at Petyr and managed to looked straight through him and straight into him at the same time. A shiver ran down his spine. “May Lugh bless you with protection and wisdom as you go through this trial, child. And may you be shielded from baleful powers.”
Back in the village, Myle spotted the remaining bandit they had brought with them tied up in an open barn. Spying an opportunity for some fun, he began singing a funeral dirge to the poor bandit, who would inevitably be executed soon after the party left. As the poorly sung dirge got louder and louder, one of the locals came over and shouted at Myle for bringing more bad luck, especially after last night! The dirge grew only louder in response, but a firm shove from the big man silenced Myle and he trotted off to saddle his horse with the others with a big grin on his face. The bandit was weeping into his hands.