Excerpt from "The Stone of Immortality"
Inside, the cottage smelled of spices and woodsmoke. He felt folded into a pervasive sense of hominess laced with a faint, sharp tang that could only be the taste of magic. The sweet young girl stood by the hearth, stirring porridge. Near her sat a very old woman, whose loose white hair flowed about her like a shawl. She was unbent and bright of eye, but frail seeming and wrapped about with a heavy cloak decorated with bits of fur and much fanciful embroidery.
"Come here, young man." Her voice was thin, but strong. She did not invite him to sit. He approached, his knees like water. "I have a message for your father." She stretched out a scrawny white hand covered with blue veins. In the withered palm was a smooth gray stone.