To Death or Glory
The stately frame of Old Gran is a common enough sight along the decrepit streets of Firewander, and she can be found out walking most of the morning and into the afternoon, her travails interrupted only by her customary midday nap. She is stern and given to snapping admonishments at any children who might be considering something stupid. Indeed, she has a kind of precognition in regard to the juvenile and adolescent mind, able to call out quick warnings against whatever foolish course her pupil, more like victim, from the child’s perspective, was about to undertake. She is well-loved though, for her wisdom but also for the stability which she represents. “If Old Gran can make it here,” murmur the adults as she passes, “we certainly can.”
As day turns to evening, the elderly matron retires to the humble, but spacious, shack she calls home. She putters about, making tea and drying thyme or basil, chatting with “Smith,” the gigantic Wyld barbarian that has decided to guard her with his life, as he churns the butter, or simply sitting in front of her door, smoking a pipe and watching the sunset through the grime and grit of Nexus. She claims to prefer it that way, saying that country sunsets are dull and lack the range and nuance of colors that Nexian sunsets have in abundance.
Once night has fallen, she opens her home for “the conversations,” as she calls them. In all truth, they are more like audiences with a noble than simple conversations. Anyone with a problem may take it to Old Gran, although “Smith” expels any supplicants with frivolous inquiries or who become too rowdy, and Old Gran will offer advice. She has lived a long time and is quite knowledgeable. She has a very pragmatic, some would say cynical, outlook however, and the young, idealistic lovers who flock to her door occasionally leave with downcast eyes and dulled spirits.
At the stroke of midnight, Old Gran retires to bed, every night, without fail. In accordance with Firewander superstitions, some of which she started herself, she keeps a candle, scented with lemon verbena and wolfsbane, burning in a green, glass jar above her bed.
Cha’trek, stays up, guarding her door. He needs to sleep for only a few hours each day, due to his Wyld-changed metabolism. Whenever the old woman cries out in her sleep, he dutifully plugs his ears. “She has ghosts,” he whispers to anyone he finds trustworthy enough to confide in, “old, old ghosts.”