The screeching, explosive flight of her pheasant flock first alerted her to the travellers outside. From the depths of her cave, cosied with tapestries and fleece, shuffled Juthwara. Age had not yet bent her, merely greyed and wrinkled her. She subtly flicked a smoke pellet into her hearth and emerged before the nervous visitors from the thick cloud.
“Who comes calling on Juthwara, Sage of the Crooked Peak?” she asked, her best inscrutible expression in place.
The tallest traveller, in the livery of some unremarkable knightly order, knelt uneasily.
“We humbly seek your counsel, my lady. We hope you might tell us much through your arts of prophecy.”
“My… oh, not again,” Juthwara slumped, all grandeur dissolved in disappointment. “You’re thinking of Jethwilma, Crone of the Saggy Slope. She does prophecies. I do transformations into animals. Anyone fancy becoming a hare? Bird? Fish? Weasel? Reversals are a bit tricky, but it’s worth the risk.”
She sighed, as they declined and descended, as they always did.