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Song of the Sea Witch

Posted on Wed Dec 7th, 2016 @ 5:41am by Mikhael Stormdanovich

Chapter: The Hornbook
Location: Maridunum, Harkania March, Cymeria
Timeline: May 3533

He would come. Thus she had seen it, thus it would be. Morgelyn Tregarth moved about her modest abode, removing the covers from various byd golau that hung on fine chains from hooks in the high ceiling, allowing a soft light to fill the room. She folded the covers neatly, storing them and the hooked stick she used for placing and removing them into the built-in cupboard next to the fireplace. From the bottom of the cabinet, she took several sticks of firewood and added them to the blaze, watching with pleasure as it flared, relieving even more of the day's gloomy shadows. Although it was not long after midday, the approaching storm had darkened the skies and sunlight was never a premium in her small home.

Morgelyn had been born on Ynys Manaw, the Isle of Man, a large island that lay just off the southern coast of Coedwig March. She had spent her early years clambering over the rocky coasts and contentedly living amongst the small population of a fairly profitable fishing village. It had been a good life and, often, Morgelyn found herself regretting having left it. In time, however, she had been offered for by a merchant from far distant Illyricum, the core province of what would become the empire of Aquilonia. What Geraint saw in her bony frame and plain features, Morgelyn could never say, but he was kind and generous as well as being older and looking more for companionship than a true wife. Morgelyn tried to be both although they were never blessed with children. Illyricum, however, had not taken to the island born girl no more how she tried to fit in. It did not help that with her marriage, came dreams and visions of the like that had never troubled her in her youth.

Upon Geraint's death, his eldest son from a previous marriage took charge of all his father's property and wealth. He and his wife made it clear there was no room for his stepmother and her odd ways. Turned out with little more than what she wore on her back, Morgelyn found herself having to provide her own living. In time, she happened to hear of Aquitaine and its Cult Luminaris and Morgelyn began making her way out of Aquilonia. For a long while, things were good. In Aquitaine, she found work in one of the high houses that encouraged her studying and converting to the Circle of Light. Enraptured by the religion, its tenets and how it bound the people together, Morgelyn thought she had found a true sanctuary. It did not last, however, as her visions and dreams returned and she became one of those hunted for carrying magic in her soul. Fortune favored Morgelyn and she was able to flee to the Dwarrow and, over time, attach herself to various caravans in an attempt to return to the land of her birth.

It was by chance that Morgelyn met her second husband during her travels. She paid for travel passage with a small caravan heading west, planning to take ship from the village of Maridunum. The man was one of the caravan's outriders and Morgelyn had taken his eye. Bereft after the recent loss of his family, Cadil was also seeking the sea. They were wed during the journey and, in due course, settled in the village of Maridunum in the house she now occupied alone since Cadil's loss at sea. For a time, Morgelyn considered making her way back to Ynys Manaw, but she loved her small home and she had come to love the people of the town who accepted her and her strange visions with an equanimity she had never felt before.

Over all the years behind her, Morgelyn finally learned, from an old woman who lived in a cottage near the sea, how to accept and use her gift of vision and true dreams. It had not been easy. Some of the dreams were truly terrifying, some were so vague she would never decipher their truths. Worse yet, they came on the storm, with lightning and with fire leaving her sometimes drained to a husk after their passing, even clutching handfuls of her own hair where she had torn it out as she thrashed and convulsed in the hold of her visions. For all the terror while the visions held her, she had saved lives by listening to them.

Now, Morgelyn lived quietly. She made a good wage by distilling and selling unguents, lotions, oils and remedies. For the telling of fortunes, she would not charge. If the Great Maker or Gaia willed the Four Winds to give her vision then it was only right that she pass them on. Often, she was paid in fish, eggs, or even the odd chicken and bolt of cloth. The how did not matter to Morgelyn, only that she offered a service worth payment.

There! Morgelyn tensed as she stood by the flames. He approached. She could see his form in the leaping of the flames. Why this traveler mattered, she did not yet know, but matter he did. She tilted her head as if listening, which, in a way, she was. He was hesitant. Morgelyn smiled. It was time to soothe his wariness and bring him closer. She turned and walked to the loom…

~*~*~*~*~*~

The weather during the spring months in the Highlands of Cymeria tended to be chancy and unpredictable with the occasional snowstorm occurring as long as two cycles after the official end of winter. Fortunately for Mikhael, the weather had mostly settled before he left Stormholm Caer after being requested to leave his father’s sight. He had had to break his journey for a protracted period once when a gale had blown in making one of the higher passes too dangerous to negotiate for about three days. At last he had made it through the high passes of Borderau and through the gently sloping forests and plains to the sea. At the coast, he had turned his horse south and followed one of Cymeria’s better roads to the border of Harkania and Coedwig where the seafaring village of Maridunum lay along the shores of a massively deep natural harbor.

Maridunum was a lively town with one main feature for the traveler. Being a seaport, it was accustomed to the influx of strangers. One man, even one of Mikhael’s breadth and height would not be remarked as strange. It was the ideal place for the self-exiled Heir of Cymeria to rest and find his bearings. He also needed to determine his next course of action. Mikhael had brought few belongings out of Stormholm Caer with him, his sense of honor refused to take what he no longer felt he had a right too. His riding horse, a few changes of clean tunics and breeches, a toiletry kit and his sword, Gwerth, which nothing would induce him to part with, was all he brought out of the mountains. He also carried a small cache of gold and coins, the pay he had earned and saved during his two years of service, would have to provide him with food and shelter until he found work. Maridunum seemed a good place to start.

Besides being historically friendly to strangers and travelers passing through, Maridunum was also known for offering a large number of seagoing ships that took on working passengers. Many of the vessels routinely sailed with passengers for hire rather than permanent sailors. In most cases, the core crew and ship’s officers tended to be professional seaman, warriors and merchant marines who made the sea their entire life. Mikhael had always been fascinated by the sea and enjoyed the few times he had sailed its waters. As a boy in Harkania, he had often plied the treacherous river waters between Stormholm Caer and the Stormdanovich’s summer palace on Lake Gwynedd. The vast lake, almost an inland sea, could be as treacherous as any ocean. It also attracted many people who enjoyed making a living off its pristine waters. Mikhael had learned the basics of sailing there along with fishing and shellfishing his homeland’s many rivers and streams. So, he had arrived in Maridunum with half a mind to seeking working passage on one of the many ships resting in her harbor. It seemed a perfect solution for his restless spirit.

It was by chance that Mikhael happened on the Ceffyl Dŵr Tavern and Inn. In the Old Tongue, the name of the place translated to Water Horse, an ancient legend of the Highlands. He had given his big blue roan gelding his head, letting the horse pick and choose its way around the cobbled streets of the village. Coincidentally, the horse’s name was Ceffyl. Mikhael had a tendency to name all his horses Horse. It made life simpler. Eventually, as if bored with the wandering, Ceffyl had turned in through an archway and stopped in front of a quietly bustling livery. The place was clean and lacked the offensive odors of many public houses along the docks had emitted so Mikhael handed Ceffyl’s reins and a few coins over to one of the hostlers. Pulling his sword and pack off his horse, he headed toward the inn.

After engaging a room at the inn attached to the tavern, further inquiries told him that the inn received regular courier drops and pick-ups. For a small fee, Mikhael was able to purchase parchment and borrow a stylus and inkwell in order to pen a message to Hawke and Gero. In the notes, he told them he was preparing to take ship and work his passage to wherever it was headed, likely Coedwig. After sealing the notes and returning the borrowed writing implement, Mikhael headed to the tavern where he was able to find a captain willing to take him on as a working passenger. The Stalwart would leave for the port city of Dinas Afon within three days.

The next day, Mika received word from the Captain of the Stalwart that a huge gale was blowing in and they would not chance leaving port before it passed. He expected the delay to keep them in port for the next five days rather than the anticipated three. After securing his room for a few more nights, Mikhael found he was too restless to stay inside despite the lowering sky and increasing winds. Leaving the inn, Mikhael did much as he had upon arriving in Maridunum, only it was his own feet he let guide him rather than his horse’s. As he walked, he glanced in shop windows and nibbled on slices of an apple and some cheese he carried from the inn with him. Even as inexperienced in seafaring as he was, Mikhael could tell the weather predictors were correct in their soothsaying...for once. After awhile, although feeling he had not found what he was searching for, Mikhael returned to the Ceffyl Dŵr and spent the remainder of that day and the following helping the owners prepare for the storm that was coming.

The following morning, wary of the lowering skies but still restless, Mikhael headed for the stable so he could ask that a good home be found for his horse and the tack sold. After agreeing on a price, the owner of the livery purchased both Ceffyl and the horse’s accouterments leaving Mikhael to feel a little more at ease over his finances as he would not receive his pay from the Captain of the Stalwart until they made landfall in Dinas Afon.

The wind was fierce and carried the metallic smell of the impending gale on its breath. The storm called to Mikhael and despite his hosts’ warnings, he set out to wander the village again. As he walked, he mulled over his tempestuous parting with his father. Part of him wanted to return home and make amends but his stubborn pride refused to allow it. Long term anger was not in his nature but neither could he simply accede to the High Lord’s demands and put aside something that was as intrinsic to his nature as breathing. Even now, he could feel the rush of power within his body as the Four Winds brought the storm ever closer to land.

By the time he realized he was lost, the wind’s gusts nearly pushed him off his feet and the sky had darkened ominously, but an inner unrest kept Mikhael moving with no desire to return to the safety of the inn. Though the inn was comfortable and its offerings fair, they were not for him. Unbidden, Mikhael turned down a narrow alley, barely wider than a walkway, but it was lined with small residences and businesses. Like the hidden treasure that had been the Ceffyl Dŵr, so too was this small place outside the mainstream of Maridunum's bustling seaport.

As he wandered the alley, the sound of singing led him toward a building at the very end. Set at an odd angle, making the front rather narrow and widening to the rear in a wedge-shape, it seemed to be some sort of shop. The window was thrown open and light glimmered from within. From the way it danced and flickered, Mikhael assumed the light's source to be a combination of fireplace and moon globes. A welcoming banner hung above the door announcing the place as a business as well as a dwelling. Fortunes and Remedies, the banner read in cream embroidered lettering set on a dark green background. It was innocuous enough, but not the sort of shop Mikhael would normally visit.

There were as many definitions of what made someone a witch in Aereth as there were people. To some, the Cymry were considered witches. To the Cymry, the word witch was associated with those of Stygia that touted themselves as seers and prophets. Still, to others, it was the wandering gypsies who made their living by telling fortunes or providing herbal remedies to cure ailments or attain one’s heart's desire. At any rate, the word witch had many meanings to many people. Mikhael wondered which one should be applied to the modest dwelling that now intrigued him.

From within came the sound of a loom, rhythmically clicking and clacking as if keeping time for the song. The voice was strong with a bell-like quality that transcended the need for music to guide it. It was pure and perfectly on key. Mikhael stood listening, entranced...

Mellow the moonlight to shine is beginning,
Close by the window young Eileen is Spinning;
Bent o'er the fire her blind grandmother, sitting,
Is crooning, and moaning, and drowsily knitting:

Eileen, achara, I hear someone tapping.
Tis the ivy, dear mother, against the glass flapping.
Eily, I surely hear somebody sighing.
Tis the sound, mother dear, of the summer wind dying.

[Chorus]

Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot's stirring;
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.

What's that noise that I hear at the window, I wonder?
Tis the little birds chirping the holly bush under.
What makes you be shoving and moving your stool on,
And singing all wrong that old song of 'The Coolun?
There's a form at the casement - the form of her true love -
And he whispers, with face bent, "I'm waiting for you, love;
Get up on the stool, through the lattice step lightly,
We'll rove in the grove while the moon's shining brightly.

Merrily, cheerily, noiselessly whirring,
Swings the wheel, spins the wheel, while the foot's stirring;
Sprightly, and brightly, and airily ringing
Thrills the sweet voice of the young maiden singing.


It was the dying of the voice that broke the odd enchantment. Mikhael started back to reality and took a step back, undecided whether to enter or leave yet without being bidden, his hand raised to rap on the dark green painted door, the clacking of the loom subsided. The voice that had been singing bade him enter which he did by pushing the door open, stooping slightly under the frame and stepping inside. The room made the most of the building's odd wedge shape and occupied the front portion of it. Mikhael glimpsed a hall, screened off from the main room by a curtain of tiny bells on fine strands of silk or wire, he was not sure which. The wall that would be the one that backed up to the village's outer protective wall contained a massive stone fireplace with a fire blazing cheerily within. Around the other sides of the room were shelves with jars and vials of who knew what. Opposite the door and beside the room's only window was a large spinning wheel and she who had been singing as she worked.

The woman was not tall by most standards and her figure was not that which would normally attract Mikhael's gaze, being almost boyishly thin and lacking in the curves the he normally found appealing. Her hair, however, denoted her femininity as it hung in thick black waves and curls to her buttocks, with here and there strands of pure silver gray shining from the dark mass. Eyes the color of the sea's mist, neither green nor gray nor blue, were set at a provocative slant in a triangular face, marked by a wide brow, delicate cheekbones and a small pointed chin. She was clad much as a Gypsy or inland peasant would be although her clothing seemed to be of good quality and more finely wrought than her station would indicate. Her bodice was covered by a lace up blouse in soft gray with wide full sleeves and long, tight cuffs. Over that, she wore a vest of a deep metal gray in color with a border of blue and gilt. The many layered skirt fell to just above her ankles in colors of blue and gray. Her delicate feet were bare. Overall, the woman was not a great beauty at first glance, but intriguing for all that.

It was the woman who spoke first, her voice as pleasant in speech as it had been beautiful in song, "To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, warrior?" A delicate winged brow arched in inquiry as her eyes took in the sword Gwerth resting in its scabbard at his hip.

Mikhael regarded the woman, momentarily nonplussed. There was a strength and confidence to her that left him feeling a bit out of his depth. "I heard your song...saw your sign. I was curious," he finally answered feeling his reply to be rather lame. In truth, it also startled him that she named him warrior rather than seafarer. He would need to tread carefully.

"Then, welcome, to my hearth," she gestured at a chair next to the fire. "I would not turn the curious back out to the storm. I am Morgelyn."

"Bryn." Mikhael gave the name he had manufactured on his way to Maridunum. Gesturing at the neatly stocked shelves, he asked, "You trade in healing...or witchery?"

Morgelyn smiled. It was a secretive smile, a knowing smile. She looked to the shelves where he gestured. "Most of it is sea lore learned at the knee of my grandmother and of an old Sea Witch here as well. I am her heir...as it were." The woman moved with uncanny cat-like grace to lift a small cut glass jar from the shelf. "Kelp, ground shell, a few herbs. Sprinkled on food, it helps a seaman's digestion. This," she lifted a small vial hanging on a chain. Its contents glimmered a faint gold color. "This, is a luck potion to bring a seaman safe home to his family. Wives trade for it mainly. Whether it works or no, I cannot say. For most of this, the cure, the remedy, the charm is in the belief."

So, a wise woman? Mikhael knew most villages boasted at least one and not all were of Cymerian blood. There were Cymry that practiced the old arts. Nothing wrong in it...usually. This time he gave a curt nod toward the front of the curious shop. "And the fortune telling?"

"Fortunes come to me when they will regarding what they will. I cannot always speak to their accuracy." Morgelyn moved to stand by her fire. Her peculiar sea-mist colored eyes had grown dark and shadowed. "You were led to me, warrior. Likely I have a prophecy for you, but it has not come yet...though the storm has."

As she spoke, lightning lit the world outside and a peal of thunder split the late day gloom. The window panes rattled against their frames and one of the shutters slammed against the outside wall as wind and rain pelted the building. Mikhael and Morgelyn ran for the window but neither could get hold of the heavy wooden shutters and pull them closed against the violence of the wind. "Close the window," Mikhael ordered before heading out the door to wrestle the shutters closed and latched from outside. Soaked to the skin and with his hair dripping, he slipped back inside, this time grateful for the roaring fire and the warmth. The storm had the sting of the north in it.

Morgelyn waited inside with what appeared to be a dry bundle of clothes and toweling clothes. "These belonged to my late husband, they should fit, he was a brawny man too." She nodded toward the curtain of bells. "Through there. I will set tea to brew."

As the big warrior disappeared to the rear of the shop into the residence, Morgelyn followed, but turned in the opposite direction to the small kitchen. Her building was very old and lacked the convenience of an indoor water pump, but village boys helped keep her water barrel full of clear spring water for the odd copper penny or headache remedy for their mothers. She took a kettle from a cabinet and a jar of tea leaves. Instead of stoking the flames in the kitchen's cook fire, she carried it back to the shop and hung the kettle to heat in there. Near the fireplace were two chairs and a large round table. She returned to the kitchen to find mugs for the tea and finely crafted silver tea balls to strain the tea with. As Mikhael returned, now clad in her late husband's fine woolen homespun breeches and tunic, she added the tea leaves to the balls, set them in the mugs hooking their chains over the handles. Without being asked, the man took a thick mitt hanging over the fireplace and lifted the kettle to pour steaming water over the tea before taking a seat.

The storm seemed determined to tear the building at the end of the alley to shreds. And this, Mikhael thought, was only its first fury. While thunder and lightning ripped overhead, there was little danger. It was what would follow...wind, storm surge... Mikhael felt the pull of the storm. He could feel its fury in his soul, but, even if he could, he was forbidden to interfere with it. It was wholly natural, nothing sinister.

Mikhael angled his chair and stretched his long legs out toward the fire. It was an odd setting and even odder company, yet the Heir to Cymeria was at ease feeling an odd kinship with Morgelyn. Whatever had driven him to seek shelter from the storm with the woman would be revealed in good time. Once again, he found himself studying his hostess. Curiously, he felt none of the stirrings that being alone with an unattached female would normally engender. Soft laughter caused Mikhael to raise his eyes to her face only to find those odd ever-changing sea mist eyes brimming with amusement.

“Warrior, you were guided to my door, not my bed,” Morgelyn stated clearly as if reading his mind. She took a sip of her tea as she studied him in return. Morgelyn was not above taking a man to her bed on occasion and this was an attractive enough specimen, but if that was in the cards, it was yet to be revealed. Instead, she raised her winged black brows. “In many places, a woman who makes her way as I do, with certain gifts of magic and prophecy, is safe from losing her virtue as it is believed her gifts are lost once she lays with a man. Whether ‘tis true or not, I could not say as it does not seem to hold true for Cymerian witches of any ilk.”

A wolfish smile greeted her words but if they were an invitation, Mikhael chose to ignore it. Instead, he fastened on her first statement. “You said I was guided to your door. You knew…?”

Tucking her bare feet demurely beneath her skirts as she curled deeper into the big chair, Morgelyn thought about her answer. The big man wore power, both physical and arcane, like a cloak about his wide shoulders. Cymry, most likely, she thought. The Sidhe were distinctive from other races by their appearance. The Wyr, like the mighty Cymry, were human in form but their spirit scent always carried a hint of the wild...at least the few Morgelyn had encountered carried the essence of the wild things in their spirits.

“I knew one would come, a strong man...a warrior on a quest,” Morgelyn answered. As his eyes widened and a hand shifted toward the dagger at his belt, she laughed and shook her head. “Stay your hand. Who you really are and the nature of your journey is not given to me to know. I saw a figure in the flames being led to my door. It follows that you are he.”

Mikhael relaxed again and raised the fragrant tea to his lips, hesitating only a second as he considered she might have other reasons for offering the beverage. Why he felt his travels and current situation needed cloaked in secrecy, he could not say, but something kept him from revealing his true identity to anyone. His instincts had led him to the home of the sea witch - or had they? Was there more at play than simple chance? He did not sense danger in Morgelyn. Her arcane aura was clean, no sign of the Shadowed One. Besides, the woman’s answers held no guile. She had not been warned by an unseen enemy to seek him out to end his life.

A fury of wind and rain drove against the exterior of the building, briefly interrupting their sporadic conversation. Morgelyn shuddered instinctively. Something truly had the Four Winds enraged. “You will not be leaving anytime soon and I grow hungry. I put together a shellfish chowder earlier and have a round of fresh bread from the bakery around the corner. Share my dinner and perhaps a story or two of the world? By storm’s end I will be shown why you were led to me.”

Seeing no harm and knowing her words regarding going out into the storm to be the truth and not a device to keep him there, Mikhael agreed. Morgelyn proved an intelligent conversationalist and full of curiosity regarding the world outside Maridunum. She was also able to tell him of the ships and captains that frequented its harbor thus he learned that the ship he had signed on was known to have a good reputation and that it dealt well and fairly with its crews.

Conversation waxed and waned. As Mikhael shared recent news and information from Cymeria, Morgelyn gave him stories of her travels. At last the talk died down though the storm’s fury still lashed the coastal village. As the fire also died to a sullen glow, Morgelyn got up and padded to the rear of the dwelling to return with a couple of thick, well-made blankets. Morgelyn handed them to him, “Sleep by the fire. Your ship will sail with the evening tide on the morrow.”

Mikhael took the blankets, not questioning her prediction regarding the Stalwart’s departure time. The first fury of the storm had passed as they talked and now the storm’s rage carried its death in its screaming. Whatever had driven him to Morgelyn’s door remained unanswered, but he also sensed that that would come in its own time as well. Without a word, the woman turned and disappeared into the rear of the little building. Mikhael rolled himself into the double thickness of blankets and settled onto the scrubbed clean floor finding far more comfort than he expected.

It was at the night’s darkest, in the hour before dawn, when a soft sound awakened Mikhael, making him reach for the hilt of his great sword where it rested in its scabbard at his side. His eyes did not need much time to adjust as he had only covered the larger of the light emitting globes before he and the woman adjourned their discussion and retired for the evening. Now, he could see her standing at the edge of the raised hearth staring into the sullen coals of the dying fire. Her thin body was clearly revealed inside a thin shift of the kind women wore for sleeping. Her hair was wild and tangled from an apparently restless sleep and tumbled down her back and over her shoulders. Morgelyn’s eyes were open but wide and unblinking as she stared into the embers of the fire. The pupils were barely pinpricks and the color of the irises were so pale a gray as to appear white. Her lips moved but barely a sound whispered from between them.

Rolling to his feet, Mikhael moved cautiously closer to her. Taking hold of a long stick that leaned next to the fireplace that served as a poker to stir the flames, he prodded the coals, nearly jumping as they flared to brilliant, crackling life. Carefully, he added another log then moved to stand near Morgelyn who still seemed oblivious to his presence. She began swaying slightly, her eyes fixated on the dancing flames that, to Mikhael’s astonishment, seemed to sway in time to her movements.

Without warning, she cried out loudly and stopped swaying, going rigid. Briefly, Morgelyn’s face contorted in pain before she began speaking, yet the voice Mikhael heard was not the lilting bell-like voice she spoke with. Now, the sound of it was harsher, husky yet reedy, as if something beyond her body strained to speak through her.

Aieee, Aieee! Hear me Lord of the North!
Out of this night, your journey of spirit is born.
Danger from the depths of the great sea
will lead thee to the Chasm of Fear.

Beyond lies a Deep Dweller
who will be thy guide when ye need it most.
The Dark Tomb is the ending of thy journey of the body,
but the beginning of the journey of thy spirit.
Heed the texts from Those that Walked Before Time,
from the darkness shall there be light.
From your life shall a great new world be forged.


As Morgelyn uttered the last words, her rigid form relaxed and had Mikhael been a slower or a less graceful man, she would have collapsed to the floor, perhaps injuring herself on the stone hearth. Instead, he gathered her feather light form into his arms and carried her back to the small bedchamber where he had earlier changed into her husband’s clothing. Unsure what the proper care of a fainting seeress might be, Mikhael prowled about until he found the small kitchen and the water barrel. Dipping out a pitcher of cold water, he found a tall stein and carried both back to the bedchamber where Morgelyn lay unmoving. Raising her against his chest, he carefully dribbled a few drops of water onto her lips which seemed to rouse her. Though she did not open her eyes, she drank the water greedily and when the stein was empty, her hands cast about, seeming asking for more. Mikhael filled it from the pitcher and the woman drank more than half its contents before pushing it away and some semblance of awareness returned to her eyes.

Morgelyn blinked up at the visage of the man the Four Winds had guided to her doorstep. She remembered nothing of what had just occurred although she could tell by his slightly wary expression that something of importance had happened. For a moment it was as if the flames from the fireplace danced over the strong, handsome features. Inwardly, she smiled. This man would know a long life, pain, joy, and ultimately immortality as he walked into legend. That was not for him to know.

“Did I say something momentous?” Morgelyn asked shakily, her voice now its usual pleasantly pitched self.

“You spoke in rhymes and riddles,” Mikhael answered, yet within him he remembered her words. The geas that brought him to her was gone. Mikhael was free to leave when he chose, yet something in the great sea mist eyes and the still trembling waif-like thin body kept him where he was.

“It is how the visions come,” Morgelyn answered with a shrug although she shivered slightly.”The words will make themselves clear to you.”

“I hope it is as you say, Witch,” Mikhael replied gruffly, suddenly finding himself caught in the ever-changing pools of her large eyes. “What payment would you have of me?”

Morgelyn smiled, her mouth folded small. Reaching up, she undid the laces of his tunic before reaching to pull the laces loose from her shift. “Only the warmth of your body for what remains of the night, Warrior. By morning’s light, you will be gone.”

“I will see you again.” Mikhael’s voice was rough as he felt the stir of passion.

A distant rumble of thunder from the fleeing storm sounded as she drew him to her and met his lips with her own.

 

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