The Woman Who Breathes Death (Part One)

Able to see clearly, I continued the conversation. “Crows are a sign of death, eh? Are these old, mythic tales from ancient times or are there survivors who fought off death firsthand?”

The driver chuckled at my question, taking a moment to glance back at me. At the moment I managed to glimpse at his face. Wrinkles covered much of his forehead. His beard was losing its vibrant colors, gray hairs from chin to end. A scar in the shape of an “X” marked his left cheek, showing signs of healing over the years. His eyes were a dull gray, matching the pale complexity of his skin.

These were details I’ve seen quite too often on some people.

He happily answered my question, “All be none but legends and fables. All except for one.”

“Pray tell its origins, should you know it.”

“Aye, that I can do. Haegard the Rotten.”

That name sounded familiar to my ears. I pressed on for more information. “That sounds like a name of a man who has been ridiculed. Perhaps he is a man known for telling fables and lies?”

“He be known for his tales and lies. However, his tale spreads quick though his mark.”

“His mark?”

“Along his chest on the left be a scar left behind by the reaper’s scythe. Story goes the reaper came at night to claim Haegard’s life. Haegard did not submit and fought off death himself, earning that scar during the heat of battle. To this day death has yet returned to claim a long overdue life from this plane of existence.”

“Do people believe such fable from a ‘dead man?’”

“Children look in awe at his scar and adults are here and there with believing a man with no reputation.”

“And you?”


“Do you believe Haegard the Rotten’s fight with death himself?”

The driver fell silent for a moment after I asked for his personal take on the tale. After a minute in a silent carriage ride, I noticed the driver took his hands and parted the back of his hair. I leaned in to get a better look, quickly taking notice of the large scar that covered the entirety of his neck. It was one clean slice straight across, precise and perfect. Instead of seeing his skin naturally leave behind a mark of it, there was a thin red line.

That’s a cut from Death’s Harbinger. I wonder how long ago this man lost his life and started wandering?

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