When the child attained her seventh year, they brought her to the sacred stones. She was the seventh daughter of the seventh sage and possessed the sight.
“Tell us,” they urged. “We must know.”
She stared at the water as it glimmered in the early morning light. The ripples formed patterns that reshaped themselves into a fully formed picture in her mind.
“Fire.” She closed her eyes, her fair lashes fanning over her pale skin. “Brother against brother and fires across the hills until all the men are dead.”
They gasped at her prognostication. “All? Can we save anyone? Babies?”
The girl’s face betrayed no emotion as she resumed gazing into the pond. She stayed silent for several minutes. The sun rose higher and the elders grew nervous. But they waited, faces hidden under hooded robes.
Finally, she spoke again. “When the silver wolf comes out of the forest, send the child away.”
They didn’t question her warning; the probability that a seventh seventh would be wrong was too low to consider. Such a thing had never occurred here, to their knowledge. In fact, as they each thought of it, an insidious treachery had already begun to permeate their tribe. Low-level fighting occurred weekly, though of course the girl would not know of such things, living in her guarded forest glen.
With a nod, they moved toward her. It was time. The girl had served her purpose and done well; now her blood must be added to the sacred stones with others of her kind. Knives flashed out from their robes, sharp edges glittering.
One of the elders stood back and whistled. A silver shape sailed out of the trees and flung itself at the other robed figures, knocking them down and killing them instantly. The wolf looked up, its mouth red, and locked gazes with the girl, their eyes the same misty grey.
The sage held out his hand to his daughter. “We must go quickly. I packed bags for us and hid them under the wandering oak.”
She took his hand and the silver wolf trotted alongside them. When she picked up her bag, she looked back once and saw the hills had started to burn.
“A diversion,” the sage told her. “The longer it takes anyone to remember it was prophecy day, the further away we shall be. I have plenty of gold to buy us passage on a ship once we get over the mountains.”
She didn’t tell him she had foreseen his death while at sea.