He rolled up the sleeves of his brown robes as a bead of sweat rolled down his temple. Putting down his knee on the winter rushes, he tightened the string around one end of the bunch and tied it off as his lips moved, reciting the proper incantations as he prepared the wicker effigy.
“People might think you’re crazy if you keep talking to yourself like that.”, a strong voice made him look up and he gave the young woman a kind smile.
“A touch of madness is oft-times the key to wisdom, my dear.”, the old man stood up with a grunt, taking the proffered hand to help him.
“These are the last of roof rushes of the stables, Emrys, will that be enough?”, Kessle threw down the dried straw and as she wiped off her brow her eyes wandered up to the parapet where Ivan was instructing some of her former troops. She quickly returned her gaze to the old man when he spoke to her.
“I believe that will be enough, I have enough here to make the effigy of Old Deadeye and still have some to spare for the pyre.”, his eyes gleamed with mischief as he rested his hand on her shoulder.
“There is one more thing, however, I need two branches for his antlers, and I would like it very much if you brought them to me. I would, however, rest easier if I knew you didn’t venture into the woods all by yourself. Perhaps you should take an escort.”
Emrys grinned as he looked up and waved at Ivan.
“Our captain of the guards perhaps?”