Lives of the Saints

A Farseer Counsels Drai

The farseer’s yurt was far off from the Valley of the Ghost Snake, well tucked back from the House Dunmer’s road and the lesser known routes of the Ashlanders. Drai left his guar at the bottom of the farseer’s hill, for he remembered the old woman took an offense to the creature’s musky odor. He crept up the winding path, trying not to disturb the plants trying to reclaim it, and, gingerly, he lifted the flap of the farseer’s yurt. He squinted inside, but could see nothing.

“Drai?” came the creaky old voice out of the gloom. “It has been a long time since I’ve seen you here.”

“Farseer,” said Drai, and inclined his head politely. “I don’t expect I’ll stay long. I need your advice.”

A bent-over figure shuffled into view; an old Dunmer woman with stark white hair peered up at him. She studied his face, and then grinned a gap-toothed grin, wrinkles crinkling around her eyes. “Mmhmhm!” she laughed. “I know that look! Your face could be as weather-beaten as an old sack, but I know my old student’s angst anywhere. What is it, child? Come in, come in, don’t let the draft in!”

“Draft? Farseer, it is the hottest day we’ve had since–“

“I said don’t let the draft in!” the woman screeched louder, and obediently Drai shrugged and let the tent flap fall closed. The inside of the yurt plunged into darkness.

The farseer stirred the coals of the little fire at the center of the hut, and the flickering light gleamed on the undersides of her cheeks and eyebrows. She beckoned him sit and then moved to the back of the yurt, doing whatever it is old mabrigash do when they have visitors. “Yes, yes, now what can I do you for?”

Trying to keep his impatience in check, Drai took a seat by the fire, cross-legged. “The dreams are getting stronger again, Farseer.”

“Now, now, you know what they say about dreams and indigestion!” The wise women clucked at him, now closer by, picking herbs off of bundles hanging from the tent poles.

“I’m pretty sure it’s not indigestion,” said Drai evenly.

“Tosh!” said the wise woman, and returned to the little fire at the center of the yurt. She took a cup of hot water from its edge, that Drai had missed in the gloom. She pushed it into his hand, and he winced as the heat of the clay seared his palm. “You hold that, dear. No,no, don’t drink it! What are you, some kind of savage?” Snickering to herself, she returned to picking herbs.

“You know I’m not.”

“Half savage, hmm, yes. I remember! You certainly have the manners of one.”

Drai bit his tongue.

“Too polite!” The farseer unexpectedly loomed on Drai’s right, and jabbed him in the ribs. Drai startled and caught the cup before it fell off his knee. Cackling, the wise woman melted back into the gloom. “It’ll get you in trouble one day, my boy. That is why you came to see me, yes?”

“I came to see you because the dreams were getting stronger, Farseer.”

The farseer appeared on his left, and flicked bits of ground up herbs in the cup on his knee, without so much as asking for permission. “If you take my advice, you settle down with a nice fat woman from one of the tribes. That’ll solve all of your problems. And give you new ones, but that’s to be expected!”

“Muthsera, I’m sure I don’t want to–“

The wise woman smacked him upside the head with a bundle of herbs. “Don’t call me that! You come to my tent, you ask for my advice, then you are rude to me? Who do you think you are?!”

Drai was used to the farseer’s inexplicable bursts of temper, but this one was even more unexpected than usual. “I meant no disrespect.”

“Of course you don’t. And that is the problem!” Another smack with the herbs. “Know who you are, child! You must grow a fire in your belly and a steely edge. How else do you expect to get anywhere with your own people? Now drink your tea!”

Drai didn’t answer, but submitted meekly, curling his tongue at the bitter taste of the tea and the bite of the hot water. He swallowed painfully, and the liquid seared down his throat. Immediately the yurt began to tilt, and he carefully set the cup down on the ground so as not to spill it.

Like an apparition, the wise woman’s face appeared again, quite close to him. “Yes, my child, let the tincture sink in. Now you must tell me all you remember about these dreams. You never know when they might be important! But I still say you must not eat so much spicy stew before bedtime.”

Drai refrained from shaking his head clear, half-closing his eyes as the room began to spin in earnest. “The dreams are about the tribe–” he began, but he didn’t remember much else of what was said. The dream-speaking potion always left him a little woozy afterward, and the next thing he knew, he was bidding the wise woman farewell at the base of the hill. The sun had sunk below the southern mountains, bathing the valley beyond in a lavender glow.

“Thank you for the counsel,” he said to the farseer, shouldering his pack.

The farseer just looked at him, and for a moment the crazed look in her eye faded to one of sadness. “I meant what I said, dear.”

“I know. You always do.”

The wise woman snorted, and the sad look was gone. Angrily, she shook her finger in his face. “Who do you think you are! Answer that, and don’t come back to this tent until you have an apology for me!”

Head spinning, and not just from the potion, Drai turned and walked away.

The farseer snorted at him again for good measure, but subsided as soon as the feathers from the arrows on his back had disappeared below a patch of ferns. “It isn’t easy being one with the Sight,” she said, glancing back at her solitary yurt. “Oh, no. But I meant what I said, little wayward child of the House. Control the power, or it will control you!”

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