“Silence!” An old woman with long white hair and a cane walked through the rings. She stood directly in front of Brieg, her deep-set eyes peering intently into his.
Brieg felt she was boring a hole through his head. Despite being frail and slightly bent over, she was as tall as he and stood nose to nose with him.
She cleared her throat. “You have seen war. Not only in this land, but in a land far away. The storms should have prevented your return, but you sailed through them.”
Brieg couldn’t stand being so exposed, so he tried to step back.
“Hold still,” she snapped. “That healer sent you. The old woman. She who was trained by the Gedichi centuries ago. Yet she still lives. She came through here on her way to other places. We do not let anyone live who comes through here, but she was different, so we let her pass. She brought hope. She brought you.”
Drops of sweat formed on his forehead. Brieg wanted so much to flee, to run away from those black eyes piercing his soul.
“You have brought war here, too. A good war if such exists. A war that ends all the others.”
Putting her hand on his shoulder, she leaned forward, as if to get into an unseen corner of his mind. “They will abandon you, those who you now call friends. They will learn who you really are and turn against you. They will not understand you have come to help them.”