"My thanks." They both knew it was not thanks Gilma was receiving. The Wise One knelt on the straw mat next to Gilma's, eyeing it cautiously.
Harkun, Gilma's husband, kept quiet. He knew what it meant to have the Wise One visit them-shame, that was what it meant. Shame and dishonor, for not visiting the Wise One themselves. His only excuse to her would be to attend his wife, and that would likely not pass muster. He knelt on the other side of the Wise One, eyes on the floor. Harkun was lean and tall, with dark brown skin and black hair.
The two women talked of everyday things, things any two women might talk of. Harkun kept his gaze fixed on the floor and waited. They had had the rumors as much as any had; they knew that if the Wise One visited your house, it was more than likely that she would have a vision concerning your future or that of your child. It was one of the many reasons that the majority of the villagers chose to instead go to her home to receive what she had to offer.
The Wise One stiffened, and Gilma stopped in the middle of an account of Larin's son's exploits. As one, husband and wife reached to take hold of the Wise One's arms. Her eyes roved about the cottage, and, in a high, keening, voice, she prophesied.
"A great warrior... on a... magnificent steed." The Wise One coughed, and blood spattered on her lips. "Two swords... a battle... leading armies." She took in a ragged breath, eyes staring a hole through the roof. "Beware of... beware... beware the golden one." She swayed, and if it were not for Gilma and Harkun's grip on her arms, she would have fallen. "Danger!" With a last, wheezing breath, she fell forwards, flat onto the dirt floor.
Harkun's eyes met Gilma's. In both sets were terror, fear, and most of all apprehension. Slowly, hesitatingly, Harkun felt for a pulse in the Wise One's neck.
There was none.