Hala struggled up the mountain step by painful step, hunching her shoulders against the cold, but she would not give up. The Cursed Wisewoman’s advice was her last hope; if she could not find her, she might as well die here.
Sharp edges cut her fingers when she had to climb a steep outcrop.. Icy wind spooled her breath from her lungs - but the sight when she crested the obstacle took it away entirely. An old oak tree, more trunk than branches, huddled in the lee of a boulder. An old, lined face formed of craggy bark was too clearly visible to be a trick of the light.
When Hala approached the Wisewoman of legend, a creak announced the opening of her eyes. Yellow-brown and baleful they regarded the human woman.
Hala swallowed and took a few deep breaths, gathering thin air in her lungs. “Honoured Wisdom, I request your help.”
“Yeeeers, of course you do. And what do you have for me?”
“I…” This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. And the Wisewoman shouldn’t sound so petulant.
“Oh, girl, even a tree needs to live. I’m sure what you’re going to ask about is important, but I’m not gonna tell you a thing if you don’t bring me at least a bucket of dung.”
“And lug it up here?” Indignation was burning away Hala’s confusion.
“You have limbs that move, so stop complaining. Not a word.” The slash in the bark that was her mouth closed and fused, as did her eyes. Her entire face seemed to retract deeper into the tree, turning from a marvel to a bit of chance.
Going numb inside, Hala turned around. Dung. So much for legends.This entry was also posted at http://anke.dreamwidth.org/206775.html. You can comment wherever you prefer.