All seven women — wives, mothers, daughters — huddled close to the huge clay put burning under piles and piles of logs and twigs. Silence, that dreaded silence which spoke of worry and weariness, enveloped the cold, damp room. The room itself smelled of herbs and heat, sweat and blood, and many other things best left unmentioned.
The concoction brewing inside the pot looked unremarkable — mud brown, thick and lumpy. Its scent was sickly sweet, though. Its undertones whispered of death and decay.
“We have one ingredient missing,” said one of them in an awed, hushed tone.
Another one nodded. “Aye. Missing something, indeed.”
“The blood of the Ancients,” whispered someone.
A ripple of excitement and apprehension went shuddering through the room. “The blood of the Ancients,” murmured all the others in agreement.
Outside, the wind howled and sheets of rain pelted their small but sturdy brick house, as if protesting to what they just said. And perhaps to what they were about to do to acquire the so-called blood of the Ancients.