The crone did not look at me, and she had a vacant expression, as if her eyes no longer granted sight. When she finally spoke, it was with a clear, persuasive voice like a field commander’s.
“Every child is marked upon birth, even before the life cord is severed, with a the brand of his region. It is a cruel practice, and many strong men are maimed before they’ve taken their first breath. Every child’s welcome to this world is fire and pain, and those who do not scream are dead already. Legend tells of one child who did not scream and yet lived. Even as I breathe and live and breathe and die, this child stands before me. Be gone, Master of Black. Be gone from my garden of fresh herbs and be gone from the gentle presence of my chickens and my goats. Be gone from me, Master of Black. The Master of Black is friendless, and brings only fire and pain where ever he goes. Be gone and trouble simple folk no more.”
I had no intention of leaving, but I turned a quarter step, as if my body was hers to command. Her words were simple, but they had power. It was with effort that I pulled myself straight and took two steps forward. This woman, who calls me Master of Black will explain herself first, and then, she will answer the questions I have come to ask.
This is an excerpt from a story that has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks. I wish that I had a knack for poetry so that I could have the crone speak her piece in a poem and work the poem into the legends and myths of the region. I welcome your thoughts and even a stab at the poetry if you’d like!