A wicked, wolfish grin spread across the face of the old woman across the table from him. He surrendered the offering of gold that had been asked of him and she turned over the first card that had been set out. His past was shown before him.
She spoke a cryptic revelation of where he'd been, explaining to him the meaning of the image upon the card. As she wove her twisted words, he could not help but feel exposed, unmasked, and vulnerable. This seer was right, after all. And the tale of who he had been in days past seemed almost like a condemnation to him. Unknown, unbloodied, and unremarkable in every way. Sarek Malfas had been born upon a very easy road indeed, and it had left him weak to the world around him. Perhaps that is why what happened now was inevitable.
The woman turned over another card, speaking words of his present.
Again she spoke, and again he felt the weight of her words. It was as if she was standing over him, his back upon the cold stone floor. Her words were an icy and damning torrent that kept him from rising. She spoke of how he'd found himself at his lowest. That in his moment of greatest defeat, betrayal, and pain, he'd ended up before her. The present. Where the emotion and feeling of it all was still so very crisp and raw. But what would come of it all? Perhaps a new beginning. It all depended on how tightly he clung to the rotting carcass of his old life. The last card was revealed and the woman seemed only more excited. A shrill cackle escaping her as his eyes met the grim artwork on the face.
Fate. This was what the future held -- a complicated path that led to a sudden end. Would this end be final, or simply a transformation into something new? That much could not be revealed. At least, not then. But in that moment, something shifted within him. Something deep within his very core. It was unknown to him at the time, but the image upon that macabre card would never fully leave his mind. An omen upon the horizon, ever looming. A reminder of something unyielding and inevitable that awaited all. And it was that omen that finally shook him from his stupor and set his feet to the path he'd longed for all his life.
Mere hours later he stood before the portal that led to elsewhere. But more importantly than the destination, it led away from his home in Suzail. He felt a hand upon his shoulder and looked back to meet his brother's eyes. He sensed something there that he hadn't before. Regret? Hesitation? Fear? Perhaps that was just a reflection of what he felt himself. He didn't rightly know. The man spoke to him, his voice low and unsteady. He asked him if he was certain that this is what he wanted to do. He wasn't, of course. But the time for doubt was long past. They embraced, bid each other farewell, and then Sarek stepped into the portal and shed the last vestiges of his old life.
If he had known what hardship awaited him on the other side, perhaps he wouldn't have. But at the time he felt no fear, for he believed his hour was already set.