Please enjoy this excerpt from The Legend of Jerrod, Chapter 8, page 134 (the unrevised edition):
They rode until they came to a small cottage made of river stones that had been rounded by years of water rushing over them, tumbling smooth with time. The cottage was quaint. A single window near the only wooden door had shutters to either side. The opaque glass closed out the sunlight as it obscured the view. The thatched roof came to a peak over the center of the round cottage like the top of an acorn. Around the door were all sorts of small plants with bulging roots, strange flowers, and vines that clung to the stone wall.
Before he entered Nathanial closed his eyes, subconsciously summoning Rok-lin to him. As the beast swooped down, Nathanial held up his staff. The dragon grabbed the wizard’s staff with both of its front talons then flew to perch high in a nearby tree. They stepped inside.
As their eyes adjusted they saw a wooden wall dividing the otherwise round room. In the middle of the wooden wall was a heavy curtain. The limited light from the opaque window did little to light the room. The only other light came from a small pile of embers in the fireplace and an oil lamp on a small round table near the doorway. A silver dagger lay in the middle of the table.
Shelves and tables filled with candles, vials, clay pots, and trinkets lined the walls. The candles varied in sizes from very short and thin, the kind that would only burn a few minutes, to those that were both long and thick, the type that might burn for weeks or, perhaps months. The candles came in assorted colors, including white, but none were black.
Near the fire several pillows lay on the floor around a short table. The round table was just tall enough to sit by on the floor. It was a reddish-brown wood polished to a shine. In the middle of the table was a clear crystal orb resting on a golden pedestal. A very large black cat lay sleeping on the pillow closest to the fire.
As Jerrod began to walk around the room, Nathanial gently grabbed his forearm. His grip was surprising strong.
Nathanial whispered, “Whatever happens, do not let her light a candle.”
Jerrod hadn’t quite heard his low whisper. “What?”
A very short, heavyset woman pushed the curtain aside. Her hands, deformed with age, leaned heavily on a cane as she attempted to walk. Her long, boney fingers bent inward toward the inside part of her arm. Her tangled hair partly covered her face. She looked down at the floor as she moved slowly, one step at a time toward the pillows.
Stealing a glimpse at Jerrod as she made her way to the pillows, the witch thought to herself, “Here he is, the boy of the forest. I watched you months ago, but where have you been? I have not been able to touch your mind since.” Looking at the sword she continued, “Ah, you have it with you I see. And it has changed. The Dragon’s Orb!”
Without looking at Nathanial she addressed him, “What can I do for you, lord?”
Nathanial glanced quickly at Jerrod to observe his reaction. Nothing was apparent. “I need to see the future,” he answered.
Struggling to sit on the floor, she directed them to join her. The woman focused on the globe. It turned opaque, and a creamy white mist swirled within the crystal, then it began to glow. After a moment the old women looked up, directly at Nathanial.
“They are coming for you. They are almost here, lord.”
“How many?” Nathanial asked.
“Six, lord, and one of some power. A power equal to yours I think,” she answered. “They ride from the south. They ride hard. They are intent on stopping you.”
Nathanial laid a large gem on the table and began to rise.
She waited for Nathanial to leave. “You will find what you seek, but it will be the end of you,” she continued.
Nathanial spun around. “Enough hag!”
The anger reflected in Nathanial’s face seemed evil. Jerrod stood back for a moment in disbelief. He thought immediately of Amanda. Nathanial had accused her of being a thief or worse. Whatever Amanda may have done, it seemed to him in that moment that the wizard might be more dangerous.
Nathanial started for the door. “Come!” he demanded of Jerrod.
The old woman’s attention turned on Jerrod. She thought to herself how much younger he had looked when she watched him in her globe upon the bluffs near Oakwood. He had been innocent then, easily persuaded. As her mind reached out silently to touch his, Jerrod felt the amulet around his neck grow warm.
The witch was frustrated that even in her lair she could not touch the boys mind; she could no longer control his destiny by persuasion. She immediately questioned whether she had done the right thing leading him to the Sword of Trisdale. Now the fates would decide the future of Torrence.
She whispered to herself, “Moirae! Hecate, mother of witchcraft, guide us.”
“What?” Jerrod turned toward her, not quite hearing what she had muttered.
“Nothing child, nothing.”
The old woman quickly took Jerrod’s hands in both of hers. Slipping a vial into his hand and closing it, she whispered, “Take this. Keep it secret. At the end, it will save you!”
Jerrod looked down at the old women. She did not rise or look up. As he turned to follow Nathanial he tucked the vial into his belt. Nathanial was mounting his horse, his staff already in his hand when Jerrod exited the cottage. Rok-lin circled impatiently overhead. Jerrod jumped onto his horse and they rode away without a word.
From the map on page 350. The cottage is south of Cipper.