John woke up to the pelting of the freezing rain that had begun the night before when he was banking the fire. He glanced out the window. It was difficult to gauge the hour; the weather hid the light from the predawn sky. John figured to get out of bed regardless. The air in the room was too cold and damp, and the bedclothes were too thin to keep him abed.
As he stoked the fire and lay dry wood on the embers, he considered the decision he had made yesterday not to go with Jam and Francis. They figured to make Fanmouth in three days, following the river road, and then up the coast a day or two at most, and be in Dunhout before the festival ended. John had chosen not go. He had no midwinter trading. He had no business before the courts. The entertainment of the Winter Festival while impressive, were really a younger man’s game. As he set a pot with some water, barley and salt pork to cook in the fire, he thought, right now I do not envy them where ever they are.