The Tale of the Crone
For a year and a day45
Caine labored in service
to a Crone, who with blood-wisdom.
bound him as surety
as any prisoner.
She would visit him at night
force him to give up his blood
for her secret elixirs
and potent formulas
She would take his Childer's Childer,
and they would never be heard from again.
But Caine was wise. He did not drink
from her ever again.
And she did not ask him to, thinking
that he was ever in her Thrall.
One night. Caine went to the Crone in the forest.
and told her of terrible dreams
that he had during his sleep.
"I fear for my life, Crone.
I fear the prophecy of Auriel,
and my Children's lust for my blood.
Tell me secret knowledge, that I might
be powerful against my own."
And the Crone went to a tree
made of gopher wood,46
and broke off a limb.
She took a sharp knife
and sharpened the limb.
"Take this piece of living wood, sharp, strong,
pierce the heart of your wayward childe.
It will render him still, and yours to command.
Instead of feasting on your heart's blood,
he will feel the weight of your justice."
Caine said. "Thank you, Mother," and
With that, moving in quick movements,
Caine took the stake of gopher wood,
seized it and drove it deep within the Crone's heart.
Because Caine, wise Caine
had fed not upon her for a year and a day
and because he forced his Will through
his hands, he broke the Bond she held
on him, and turned his fortune.
She laughed again, as blood welled up
and poured out of her mouth.
Her eyes poured out hate.
Caine kissed her
once, kissed her
cold, withred lips,
and left her there
to Raphael’s gentle smile:
the sun that rises.