She was older than anyone in the world, they swore. Seeing her there, sitting alone in her tiny hut, it was easy to believe. Although her eyes were bright and sharp, her face was a landscape of wrinkles, her crease of a mouth camouflaged among the folds. Her walls were lined with books, some brightly colored and bound in cardboard, others so old that worms had eaten away the glue holding the pages to their spines.
For miles in every direction she was known as the wise woman, the one who knew the best way to heal a dog bite and which day was best to sow certain seeds. She dispensed freely of her advice, her voice remarkably firm for one who appeared so feeble. In return, her friends brought her food and the occasional new book, secured from a trader of old esoterica or found in the dusty corner of an old cellar.
For all the respect she earned as a sage crone, few guessed how old she really was. Far from the reconstituted cities of the new order, she lived in peace, remembering days before the world was burned.

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