Setting off

Jam had encouraged him to accompany them. He was still young enough that the company of an old hand made him at ease both on the road and in the city. Francis seemed not so much interested in the John’s company as he was in his contacts. He clearly had some commercial endeavor in mind, but was being cagey with the details.

A trip to Dunhout for the winter festival was an unusual treat and John had originally suggested he accompany them. But when the weather began breaking cold and wet, he considered five days on the road, and begged off. He abandoned any fancies he might have had about fire-dancing, spiced meat pies, the Court of the Ice Princess, and fabric, nails and ax heads.

In the morning he wrote down the names of the few Dunhoutian factors with whom he still fell in with for Francis. He told them once again the story of how he met Janey at the winter festival many years ago as a lady-in-waiting in the Court of the Ice Princess. And then after a light lunch of cheese and apples, they set off.

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