Sometimes they’d tell him tales of magic and power, the toothless, dreamy-eyed old ones, as they hugged the hearths for warmth. All true, they assured him. All true, once, a long time ago…
He ran his hands over his face, up through his disheveled hair, picked what looked like a small snail out of it.
A voice out of nowhere filled his head, at once lilting and sinewy.
You found me once. You found me twice. The third time is the charm.