The figure seemed to glide across the street, its thin cloak swaying in the breeze but betraying no motion beneath, as if to convince onlookers of the materiality of the cloak, with no regard for the appearance–or lack thereof–of a body within it. Onlookers–for there were many that day–were not eager to greet it. The people of the village were well familiar with the trappings of powerful magic, and this foreboding individual stunk of it.
It approached first a housewife. She was sweeping her doorstep, aware of the thing approaching her just as she dearly hoped it would pass her on. It did not. Instead it spoke, in saccharine, reverberating tones like song in a metal cavern: “I carry a message. Where is one with authority to hear it?”
The housewife was taken aback for a moment. The strangeness of its voice, its curiously still visage hidden behind its hood, everything about it was alien, of course, but what stayed her tongue was simply that the figure’s question, in its echoes and vibrations, was difficult to understand. There was a moment of silence before she pointed, suddenly, firmly, to a taller house at the end of the street.