Of course there were lots of things on the To Do List that I didn't get round to, like mopping the kitchen floor, but generally it's been a useful day.
Miffin (the hostel cat) has gone exploring and is observing some of the denizens of the mountain.
The hag muttered something under her breath that only a cat's ears could have caught. "Memory like a sieve."
"Speak up woman!"
"Don't you 'woman' me. I knew you when you couldn't even crawl. I've changed your nappies more'n once."
"Yes. Well. No doubt," the dark warrior-king said. His armour rattled and creaked as he pulled himself up to his full imposing height. "But that was a long time ago."
"Sweet little thing you were," the hag said, chuckling softly. "And you've no more sense now than you had then. It was here, by the grove of the mountain ash that we arranged to meet. The blasted oak was our last meeting place, but if you remember we couldn't have it for tonight because the klippes, the henkies and the howlaa had already booked it for their monthly tryst."
The warrior-king grunted. "There were a few... er... um... beings there."
There was a long moment of silence. Miffin sat down on the path and curled her tail around her front paws.
"So now we are here," the hag said, "have you learnt anything more?"
"No. Nothing that I can lay my finger on, that is. But my heart misgives me. There's an unease about the mountain. The creatures sense it. The nuggles have been leaving the riverbanks and grazing high on the mountain. And I can feel it in my bones, the foreboding of change shivers through me as I lie in my grave mound during the bright light of day."
The hag folded her arms and hunched her shoulders as little, as though she was cold; but the night was mild and the gentle breeze that blew across the mountain was warm. "I can usually read the future in the flight of birds and in the entrails of the prey my black cat brings home. But recently --" she glanced over her shoulder and then lowered her voice, "recently everything is cloudy."
The warrior-king nodded sagely. "You move amongst people," he said after a ruminative pause. "The living are usually the last to know anything, but have they said anything? Given any hints?"
The hag let the question hang for a moment. "The mountain is for sale, of course, but that's not it... Or only partly it. The cloudiness indicates a bifurcation of the ways."
The pause this time was the warrior-king waiting for the hag to continue. She didn't. "And that means?" he prompted.
The hag shrugged expressively, spreading her hands, palms outwards, and hunching her shoulders under the voluminous cloak, making the folds swing and flap. "Who knows?"
Total word count for the WIP now stands at 16,539 or 17% of predicted total.