“Can you do it?” Raven asked the question pleadingly. “We have travelled so far and I owe him so much.”
The old hag they had travelled so far to see just stood there and let Raven plead her case. Long moments passed and Grayne felt he could actually hear her dying. The sound he heard may have only been the creaking sound that emitted from her withered form. Aside from that, the room was silent.
The woman finished contemplating and her words seemed to creak out of her. “Raven, I can do it, that’s not the question. The question is; can he survive the process?” She breathed the words and they hung in the air like swamp air- toxic and heavy.
Though the woman’s eyes had lost their luster perhaps decades ago, Raven looked into them with the seriousness of stone. She said, “If there is any man alive who can, it is this one.”
Grayne stepped forward and also met the ancient woman’s stern gaze. His eye narrowed as he examined the hag. With sudden forcefulness he pulled Raven out of the grass thatched hut. He leaned over and in hushed but forceful tones said, “This…”, he struggled for the word, “…woman is veritably ancient!” In response to the look that came upon Raven’s pristine face, he said, “I know you said she is a miracle worker, but I don’t know…”
From the hut, the crone breathed, “I may be old, but my ears are as keen as any bird of prey.”
“It’s her eyes I’m worried about,” Grayne mumbled.
“Grayne, please! I know it sounds hard to believe, but I have seen her handiwork before. She can save your jaw!”
Grayne looked skeptical. “You’ve seen her replace teeth in someone’s jaw before?”
Raven lowered her head and spoke at the ground, a response Grayne had become accustomed to in the months since they had escaped the torture chamber of Farzan. “Well, no; only the reverse.”
Grayne was about to grab her and run as fast and as far as possible away from this place when suddenly the hag was beside him. She made no creaking as she sneaked up beside Grayne, but her putrid breath hit him like a fist of rotting foods. He wondered how this woman whose mouth smelled like dead things could perform a procedure on his own mouth.
“Grayne, though I have never done the procedure before, I have seen it done. Not with actual teeth, mind you, but with Dragoncalc, a stone that has the same hardness and structure as real teeth,” the hag spoke at Grayne.
He looked down at the woman, who was more than a foot shorter than her and shook his head in silent acceptance. After all, he could not present himself to Summer, the woman he loved, in his current condition. After a deep breath, he asked, “What can I offer you in payment? We have a few gold Stags, but perhaps I can…” Grayne looked at the hut for chores he could perform, but it seemed in good working order. The roof, though made of grass and sticks seemed strong and the wooden walls seemed in good repair.
She looked at him and with a smile that had two more teeth than Grayne’s said, “I am an old woman, and it has been years since I have known the tender touch of a man. Though I am old, I do have needs.” The words lingered in the air with fetidness.
Grayne staggered back from the impact of her statement. Though he had faced many terrors over the years that had hardened his mind making him effectively fearless, terror struck him in the gut and his stomach flipped.
The old hag began to cackle! “You should see your face. Don’t worry, Grayne. I wouldn’t fuck you for all the crowns in all of the Lannisters’ vaults.” She turned and walked back into her hut breathing a final cloud over her shoulder, “You’re too ugly!”