“Scáthanna tú a chlúdach.”
A bundle of dark leaves, coiled branches and pale flowers walked on dark, willowy roots and waved thin vines in the air. From its heart rose the voice of a far-away woman, warbled and reedy as it passed through the ambulatory plant
“A whisperwood. Not as fair as your voice.”
His voice sounded like the scrape of the blades he polished.
“You love not the sound of my voice, but the news I bear.”
He shrugged. “I’ll treat with plants if they keep their promises.”
Its leaves rustled like chimes—a laugh?
“Never have I broken troth with iron-vines. I come to offer him a great gift and a greater prize.”
Ithkilathk stopped sharpening a curved blade and tilted his head. The iron needles in his plain dark armband stirred in his flesh. “When did you start bearing gifts?”
“When the scorpion sank its tail in the willow’s roots. When the sun cracked and treasure became poison. When the sepulcher star melted into mist.”
Eyes like the starless sky locked on to the whorled wooden heart of the whisperwood.
“The Bane of Luminias. So my long waiting ends, Caoineadh. What is the prize?”
Walk the broken stairs of the Starless Market to the third gallery above the silent fountain. Tread past the Shadar-Kai sharpening their bladed chains, lift your feet as you pass over the shadows of the curtain moss, and there you may find a curious plant. It walks on slender tendrils, like young roots. Leaves and waving vines serve as delicate arms, and at its heart a strange wooden bulb and trumpet shaped flowers. It speaks with the voice of one far away, breathing in air and forcing it out through reedy flowers. The words it offers come from a voice that slays mortals—The Banshee, Caoineadh.