dancing pattern of the flames is soothing as I search for
a thread to begin the weaving of the skein which is my life.
It has also begun to rain and the sound of the droplets
striking the huge windows of the study is a counterpoint
to the crackling of the fire. It has been a gray day and
I'm not surprised that the rain has finally come; the farmers
will be glad of but it will delay Theila's return. As I
sip my wine and stare at the fire I can recall another gray
It's a hazy gray day here in the city of Britain, the "Flower of Britannia". The sun made a half-hearted attempt to break through the overcast early this morning but gave up in despair. A chill breeze is blowing off the bay and despite wrapping my cloak more tightly around my shoulders I'm shivering. The view from my vantage point is not encouraging either. The usually deep azure of the sea has been replaced by a dull slate gray. And the sodden slopping of the waves at the foot of the cliff has a sullen ring to it. Even the clank of the guards metal shod feet striking the stones as he paces back and forth has a melancholy quality.
Squinting my eyes I cannot penetrate the haze obscuring the horizon. On a clear day it is possible to see the opposite shore across the bay but not today. Even the seagulls, normally wheeling about the sky and filling the air with their squabbling cries have decided to stay home. A solitary gull is skimming the waves below me but his wing action seems almost dulsatory as if he's doing it only for forms sake.
The wharfside, normally bustling with activity is quiet except for a stray cat pawing at a scrap of fish on the dock. There are usually gangs of cats, platoons of cats, armies of cats prowling the docks and getting under foot. In fact Britain is the capitol of cats. But not today. Nothing is stirring. Today all is quiet.
I don't really know why I'm here; why I came down to the outpost on such a day. In fact I'm not sure why I even come on good days, on sunny days, but I come here often of late. I gaze out over the mist shrouded docks of the port of Britain looking for … what? Direction perhaps? Solitude? it is been a confusing few weeks and mine mind is troubled.
It's getting colder up here and I resolve to remove myself to shelter. As I turn and start down the staircase to the street below I find myself thinking about home. By now the leaves will have changed and the smell of the coming winter will be upon the land. Today here in Britain wouldst be considered balmy back home but still I shiver. I am hungry and hunger seems to accentuate the cold. I spent my last gold piece yesterday morning. Fortunately the innkeepers wife is a kindly soul and had provided me with a hearty supper of stew and bread. Bless her! I hope she found the stack of kindling I left for her in the kitchen.
I turn my back upon the sea and plod up the hill is a very gloomy day and my head is filled with gloomy thoughts as I retrace my steps back to The Sweet Dreams. I pass the Salty Dog and the sound of laughter from the place clutches at my heart. I haven't laughed it seems for ages. As I pass the tavern, the door opens and a figure staggers out singing lustily. He is followed by a waft of warm air bringing with it the sound of more singing, the smell of tobacco, ale and cooking. I am almost overcome by the aroma of roasted beef and freshly baked bread. My mouth waters and I'm tempted to turn aside but I remember that I have no money so I hunch my shoulders and continue on.
I spot something on the mist clouded cobbles ahead. A backpack! Discarded by some traveler! I lunge for it but even as I do a laughing figure muffled in a gray robe dashes by and snatches it up, disappearing down a side street. I shake my fist at his back in impotent fury and continue on my way. I recognize him. Flint. The same thieving scoundrel who tried to cut my purse a day or so ago. There is no point in getting angry it is futile and I release my grip on my sword hilt. Besides, anger causes people to make mistakes, to strike out, and to do so is to invite death. Death sure and swift at the hands of our Lord's ever vigilant guard force. For our Lord British hath decreed that attacks upon the citizenry is forbidden. It is a crime; a crime punishable by death without trial. It is also a crime to steal and to be sure thieves meet a swift end if they are seen doing it or caught in the act. But that doesn't stop them from trying. Nor does it stop them from harassing the constant flow of visitors that crowd the city day and night. They are quite brazen about it. They'll walk right up to thee, crowd thee, looking for an opportunity to snatch something or perhaps provoke thee into attacking them is unsettling. Coupled with the feeling that there are other problems rampant in this land makes me shiver even more as I think about how I came to be here ...
A loud popping sound from a burning log disturbs my reverie and brings me back to the present. Malcolm scurries forward from where he's been hiding I suppose and stirs the fire. He gives me an apologetic glance. I nod; the distraction was insignificant. Why did I remember that one particular somber moment that happened so many years ago? It was only a month or so after I had arrived in Britain. Perhaps it is because that episode encapsulates much of what troubles the land today despite some recent changes. Perhaps. But it does serve to project me back to a fresher feeling of what it was like then and makes it easier to begin. I pick up a quill and begin to write again ...