Silis Eiluned, born blind, was said to see farther than any other in her generation. While others could see what she could not, she would say that she could do likewise. Looking inward she would cast her senses out into the wide world, dancing along connections, flitting from one point of meaning to another. Out of this she was said to discern a pattern, and this pattern would guide her inner eye further and deeper. She would still as a standing stone, bathed in the soft light of the Balefire, and the world would move around her. Her open staring eyes which couldn’t see the food that was placed before her when mealtimes came and she was still in reverie would fill with visions of distant places and times, of turns of change and movements of fate.
She shudders, blinks, is still.
She motions to a squire who is always nearby. The young woman bends down near her and inclines her ear reverently. Silis says a few words quietly – the sound dies when it reaches the squire, but still she gets up hurriedly, her black and silver tabard flaring, and speeds away.
Silis waits, motionless. Her eyes close for a long moment, then open again.
Archduke Keiran Eiluned strides into the room, and his presense parts servants and courtiers who follow him like a boat’s prow through the sea. In his doman he rules effortlessly, commanding the very earth and sky, but still he slows when he approaches the blind seer.
She never summons him with good news.
“Silis” his rich melifluous voice fills the room like a sweet aroma. All other sounds cease. “You have requested my presence. What have you seen?”
A long moment passes, and then she turns her sightless eyes toward him. “I have seen an ending. Cormac is dead. The Stone of Tara is broken.”
The cold of winter, the emptiness of forgotten things, seeps through the room. There is a stifled wail. Somewhere, crockery is dropped noisily. The Archduke’s fist clenches, and his courtiers begin to quail despite themselves. They turn away from his face as his countenance darkens.
But not Silis. Perhaps her blindness spares her.
His fine jaw clenches. “The Shadow Court.”
Silis answers with a tiny shake of her head. “No. A traveler from the Autumn World.”
Through clenched teeth. The Archduke has gone pale. “Dauntain.”
Again, the smallest shake. “No. A curse.”
“This refuse from the Autumn World has cursed us? Cursed us? Deprived us of a High King? Killed the Oathbound? Broken the stone?” The Archduke is shaking, fists clenched, rigid, livid. “I shall teach this cur the meaning of accursed. ” He began the ancient words – “Where two stand, there shall be one. I swear emnity -“
“Your Grace.” Startled eyes move to Silis, still seated, seemingly unmoved, still turned toward the Archduke. His oath falters. “This is not the time. Everything is moving. Everything. A curse will not be turned aside by an oath. You know this. It is the way of things. And blood will not water the ground. A new stone will not come up to replace the old. What is broken is broken.”
Breathing hard, there is a moment where the Eiluned lord battles for control, but finally he masters himself. The tense silence surrounding him lifts the slightest bit.
“Everything is turning, everything is moving. What is to come is too full. We must face the present. What is broken…is broken.”
There is a long silence. Silis turns back toward the Balefire. The light reflects in her sighless eyes.
Archduke Keiren Eiluned bows his head, closes his eyes. Silis has never been wrong before, but something is missing. And now everything is changed. There will be no High King. Was it all an empty dream? Had the time already passed? Winter is coming, winter without end. What could be done.
He turns and walks away. One last thing.