The light sifted in through the closed curtains onto a room filled with rotting furniture and musty books. A fire crackled faintly in the grate warming a thickly coated cat that was contently licking her delicate paws. In the corner, furthest from the dim light, an old woman was shifting methodically back and forth in an antique rocking chair. Her gray hair was pressed into a tight bun at the back of her head, stressing the existence of wrinkles that crumpled her once beautiful face into an ill-used piece of lace. Her thin and perishing figure was draped in what used to be a fine silk frock with a dead rose placed daintily in her bosom.

"Mrs. Voden?" A strange young man had entered the stagnant room. His bright blue eyes were dulled at an instant and he searched frantically for the old woman with whom he wished to speak. His face was browned from the cus, contrasting sharply with his tousled blond hair and faint freckles. "I have a... a," He paused to swallow, "A message to convey to you, Mrs. Voden. It is from a messenger who has drained himself with a long ride from Incentbridge with no stops. You will look at it, Mrs. Voden?" The young man had picked out the gaunt figure in the corner and now entreated her outline with a hesitant and nervous manner, wringing his hand violently behind his back.

"What does the message pertain to?" Mrs. Voden's voice was miraculously strong and sure, with no more than a slight fold in it's tone to account for the many years it had been in use.

"He would not tell me the message, Ma'am, only that it was to be heard by you and you alone." This fidgety young man had moved back as he delivered this message as though it were a ghost who spoke to him. His notions could not have been far off, for the woman was frail and hollow with only her mind to entertain any thought of life. Upon reaching the door, the young man paused to await a response to his inquiry. He was disappointed and so he cowered out of the door, not daring to say one more word to this hint of a woman.


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