In the previous episode, Felix and Celia arrive at the mountain village just as a storm is brewing. Readers voted that they find a man there who can see their future.
By the time Celia and Felix entered the circular town center the next day, the storm had passed and cold, clear air had settled in from the surrounding mountains. The town was small with houses made of stone and wood. There was a fire going in the center and Celia and Felix stopped to warm their hands, nodding to two men dressed in long woolen robes. Their eyes were black beads and they turned their weathered faces toward the pair of travelers for a moment before turning back to the flames, speaking softly in an unknown language. Celia, who was still wearing only the pale yellow gown, shivered in the morning light.
“Be careful,” their host, whose name was Orion, had warned as he served them bowls of hot soup. “To stay in the village you must first meet this man. He is ancient and wise and he can tell you many things, but you may not like what he says.”
Orion’s home had been warm and comfortable, with colorful woolen blankets and a delicious stew prepared by his wife. She told them it was made of goat and lamb, as they ate ravenously, and spiced with the soul of the mountain. They drank a spiced wine as well and Orion told them stories. He told them that travelers were rare and that he himself had never been beyond the mountains. He told them myths about the wild wolves in the hills; that their souls were the villager’s ancestors and that they fiercely guarded against intruders. He told stories long into the night, and when they finally went to bed, Celia slept more soundly than she could ever remember.
As they approached their destination the next day, they heard a strange howl coming from the surrounding mountains. Was it the wind? Felix wondered nervously, because it kind of sounded like wild wolves. Celia urged him forward and together they knocked on the sturdy wooden door.
They were led to a wide room at the top of the house with windows overlooking a deep valley. Atop a cushion on the floor was the oldest man either of them had ever seen. He was wearing the standard hooded robe of dark wool, and his face looked as though it had been carved from an ancient tree. Thin, gnarled hands gestured for them to sit on the cushions facing his, and thin, almost nonexistent lips issued a welcome. His face was not harsh as Celia had been expecting, but filled with calm serenity. Celia and Felix sat down on their cushions.
The man poured them each a glass of tea and they drank deeply; the drink tasted sweet and spicy and warmed them from the core. A sliver of the same contentment on the old man’s face stole onto those of Felix and Celia.
“Felix. Celia.” The old man addressed them by name. “I have been expecting you both.”
The man’s dark eyes met each of their own.
“You will both find what you seek,” he said slowly, “but in different ways. For you have very separate destinies.”
Felix and Celia exchanged a quick look. As they had walked through the mountains Felix had spoken eagerly about all the places they would visit together, but somehow Celia had the feeling that they would part sooner rather than later. She didn’t know why, and she hadn’t said anything to Felix. Now, she turned back to look at the ancient man sitting before them.
“Could you be a little clearer?” Felix was frowning slightly. Celia wanted to tell him to be quiet.
The man looked intently at Felix for a moment. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.