364. Hag of the desert


In a lonely cave set under the mountains skirt just outside Bergama, the ancient hag Viyaneh sits alone in the shade awaiting the departure of the sun. Like the desert fox, she emerges from her burrow at dusk to prey upon Bergama’s eastern roads.

An ornery smile plays over her dry, skinless lips as she watches my approach, using her gnarled, skull-crested staff she rises gingerly to her feet as I dismount a short distance away. There is no need for words, no challenge, no threat, no curse, for she knows why I am here; indeed, it is almost as if she has been expecting me.

Yet if she had, surely she would have chosen not to face me alone. The hags of the desert though are a little like alley cats, whilst they like to know where each other are, they don’t much care for one another’s company.


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