There was still ice in the icehouse, thankfully. She found a nice, solid chunk of the right size and wrapped it in her shawl to take it back into her hut. She set the ice down on the table, then sat herself down. The herbs she’d left steeping in a leather mug were ready, so she drank the liquid and then tossed what was left, leather and all, onto the fire.
Wouldn’t do for anyone to find that. Would do even less for some curious soul to taste the dregs.
She gave it a few moments before she arranged herself, propping an arm up on the ice block and pointing one long finger towards the door. She had quicker herbs, but she was getting near the end of her life anyway and she had wanted to be certain her strength would not fail her while she still needed it.
And that she wouldn’t suffer. That was important.
The day was middling warm and they wouldn’t come to her hut until nightfall, she was sure of that. No matter how righteous they thought their deeds might be, there would be an instinctive understanding that some deeds are too dark for the day to witness.
They would come at night, when the ice had long since melted and her body had long since frozen, and she was sure they would have a few bad moments when they brought a light into her hovel and found her sightless eyes staring at them, her finger pointing accusingly at them.
Maybe they’d learn something about trusting a book over their own senses… or trusting what a vain man with fire in his eyes says about the book. She read the church tongue as well as many and better than most and she was sure it said “poisoner” and not “witch”. She had substances that could be called poisons, certainly, but most medicines were toxic. She only dispensed a fatal dose upon studied request, when it was needful for relief. She had never slain, never poisoned a body while it was still vital.
Until now. But witch or poisoner, the book said “suffer not”… and she would not suffer the indignity and pain of what they had in mind for her.