Ziema let the visitors into her fortress, indicating that they follow her down the gloomy passage. The air was frigid, and the witch noticed with pleasure that the two were shivering visibly at the cold. She was, after all, the Winter Witch.
Shortly, they came into a small room lined with jars of preserved ingredients. Eyeballs stared down at them from a glass container on a shelf. Nearby sat a bottle of what seemed to be blood. At the center of the room was Ziema's cauldron, already boiling from her preparations for the butterfly-nose spell. Thanks to this, it was warmer here. She gestured for them to gather around.
"Now, human, I require a drop of your blood."
Engle held out his hand and Ziema pressed a needle to the man's index finger, puncturing the skin. He watched expressionlessly as his blood dripped into the cauldron, fizzling noisily as it was absorbed into the bubbling, greenish liquid. A strong, acidic smell wafted from the boiling contents, and Ziema began to chant softly in a strange language.
"Ilnoc eilva, paras nu'a, sependante ue rend'i," she intoned, stirring the potion with a spoon the size of a paddle. "Ilnoc eilva, iora ni'a."
The substance inside the cauldron turned a vivid blue and they were enveloped in thick, putrid steam. Slowly, the steam coalesced into the slightly transparent shape of a thin man with long blond hair who in the air above the cauldron.
"This, bounty hunter," said Ziema to Engle, "is the man you have been sent to kill."
Engle studied the image in front of him. "Who is he, and what do you know of him?"
"His name is Salleem Bradly. He is a thief, and he carries a curse."
"But where am I to find him?"
Ziema studied Engle through eyes as dark as a starless night. "The trees will guide your way."
"Go now. That is all the help I will give to you without compensation. I have company tonight, and I must prepare. Be gone."