‘We need you not. Our mage will lead us.’
‘There is no mage. No shaman. No magical protector. This man would sooner save you than a warrior mage.’
‘But that is him! Our warrior. Undoer of wrong. Defender of good, vanquisher of evil. Brave protector of the true.’
‘Surely you jest. Call him by any name you wish, but this oaf will not be your saviour. He cannot be one of your prophesized heroes. He lives but the meanest existence.’
‘Our prophesized heroes. Not yours anymore, eh? But do you not see? He has suffered the wrath of him who he has never met. He has walked three times around the earth. He carries the world on his shoulders.’
‘He has done nothing of the sort. You are blinded by your faith in the Seer. You think him the wisest man on the earth. Your ‘saviour’ is a slave. Born to a slave. Owned, once and for his lifetime, by my master, your lord. And he has never set foot beyond those walls. The only thing he is worth is the churning of the water mill. He keeps the stream running. And the tattoo you speak of, that was given him by me. With this. Perhaps if you fear the cold metal at the end of the leather ripping out the skin on your back, you would cease this blasphemy and return to your own business.’
‘You have the upper hand today; perhaps the same will not be true tomorrow. Perhaps the day you will challenge the Hooded One to a game for your soul and lose will be the day you will remember me. After all, a beard and rags are all it takes to hide the Seer.
‘Try and catch me; I am no longer here. Your fingers slip through me as if I were a cloud. And there will be the Rain of the Shroud in your soul tonight. And when the blood will not wash of your hands after you raise your first-born in the honour of death, you will know all my words to be true. The clatter of your spear, the sound of your breath as you run in your futility to save him, I have seen them all. Do not think it possible. He is doomed. The blackness is over him already. It amuses me that while he dies, you have been talking to a wall. Or so it will appear to the messenger. Hark! He comes.’