Prolog- Duchess of Dark Mercies Revamped

In the middle of the Wyrd Mountains was a small mining town. It was completely unremarkable, even the dwellers knew that they had no hope of being remembered. The only source of entertainment was a rickety old building that boasted the best ale for one hundred miles.
One stormy night during the second month of The Dark two old hags sat in a shadowed booth in the very back of the tavern. One cackled to the other as they cast lots. The one with more warts sucked in a breath and met the eyes of the other. Something flickered in their pale, milky eyes and they recast the lots. The result was the same.
“It cannot be, no it is!” The warted one said to the other.
“Yes- I” Silence snapped through the room when the heavy oak door banged open. The wind howled and the fire snaked away from the hearth. It quieted a moment later. A dark figure strode into the tavern and with a flick of her wrist the door slammed shut.
“So, they have been born. The lots do not say where.” The smooth faced hag said to a mug of tea.
“Shhhh… She is here. Do not let her know.” The warted one said as she swept the di into a small velvet bag. She tucked the bag into a fold of her cloak. They watched as the dark figure walked to the long serving counter. A babe cried out from behind the bar. The bar maid’s face drained of color as the cloaked figure dropped her hood. The figure had long ebony hair and creamy skin. Her face was devoid of age marks, yet her eyes held the wisdom of someone who’d seen many centuries pass.
“Your greatness, I’m so sorry.” The blonde haired bar maid said. She was skinny and her hands fluttered like birds trapped in a cage as she reached for a rag to wipe the wood in front of the dark haired woman.
“Your son, how old is he?” The Great Witch of the Wyrd said as she caught a glass that jumped to her hand. An amber bottle tipped its contents into the glass and then returned to the shelf behind the bar.
“He’s but a year. Please, please he’s all I have.” The maid leaned on the counter but looked down at the chipped wood. The rest of the patrons looked at each other and when the Great Witch looked at them chatter once again filled the room.
“The darkness is getting stronger. The times are changing.” An old miner said to a young lad. They tipped back their mugs draining the contents. Both stood up, then pulled on heavy wool coats with more than a few patches. They left the tavern and were followed by everyone except for the two old hags.
“Do you think you can offer him everything he needs? I can sense the magic in him. You cannot teach him how to control it. Look here, if he stays with you he will be dead before his fifth birthday. Your father will kill him. Sell him to me and I will make sure he becomes everything he is supposed to be. Here, this is more than you will ever make.” A large bag of coin thumped onto the wooden surface. The bar maid’s eyes widened and she reach down. In her arms was a bundled baby who gurgled happily. The Great Witch reached for him and the maid gave him up.
The warted hag felt the di in her bag jump and jiggle and she looked at the other. Tonight, more than one thing happened that changed the mind of fate. They watched as the Great Witch looked down at the squirming babe. “Lucas, I love you!” The maid said then gasped and clawed at her throat. The bag of coin disappeared and the maid dropped to the ground.
“You are Lucilius now, a name that suits your rank. Hags, you have been warned. Do not interfere with my plans.” The Great Witch stared through them all but her violet eyes disappeared as a black puff of smoke flared around her. A moment later the eyes were gone. The room was eerily quiet.
“We must go and consult with the other hags.” The smooth faced one said.
“What of the Millie, she is your niece.” The warted one said.
“She’s dead. There is no use helping her. She made her choice. Now, we must make ours. To ignore the signs or to do what must be done?” They shivered as the wind howled. The shadows crept along the edges of the room.
“We must consult.” They stood as one and left the tavern. As the door closed behind them a shadow monster appeared, licked its lips, and devoured the maid.


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