Winter Sleeping, Chasers’s Day 19, Year of the Lion number 427; January 16, 1739 Agathon; Linne 182
In the early morning hours after I arrived in Burmore, the snow came. And came. And came. It snowed continuously for a full day, covering everything deeper than my knees. The wind blew ice cold and no one. No one went outside unless they absolutely had to.
They came to each room and put blankets over the windows to help keep the chill out. The air became musty and thick with the smoke from the big fireplace in the main room, but at least it was warm and comforting. Fortunately, our hosts were gracious and pleasant, even with the few patrons who couldn’t afford their room and board.
I spent time gathered in the main room with everyone else as we shared stories of our adventures and sipped hot cider. At first I was uncomfortable as a couple children snuggled against me, but I allowed it. My soft fur was like a blanket to them. Just because, I left my dragon card in my room.
Despite the cold and the wind, the sun shone outside. I was amazed how the snow reflected the light where it clung to the trees and roofs.
On the third day, the weather warmed just a bit to where the snow began to melt. Hanging from the eaves were these great spears they called icicles. I broke one off from outside my window and felt its chill. Despite its rough appearance, it was smooth. In my room, it started to melt quickly so I tossed it out. It broke into several pieces when it landed in the snow below.
Vinoth announced to those gathered that the roads have been cleared enough to resume travel. At some point, someone had used a shovel to clear a path from the inn’s door to the road and stable. I gathered my things and prepared to leave.
It was midday when I left Wagonhouse of the Prudent Winsome. No guards challenged me when I crossed the bridge into Avensaria. There was a single inn on the north side of the river. Two men wearing thick furs were out front shoveling. I waved to them and they waved back.
When they said, “the roads were clear,” they only meant the roads in Burmore. As soon as I started along the main road along the river toward Hiltmar, I realized that I was the only one foolish enough to be out here. I could make out the path to follow because the snow seemed to be melting faster where the ground was more solid beneath. However, I was still stomping through snow that deeper than my ankles.
It seemed like I traveled for many hours when I heard a noise nearby. The sun was still up and I could still see the bridge, but the noise I heard came from some children. At the top of a hill, these kids had fashioned a set of boards with one end curved upward. They laid flat on the board and pushed off, riding it, on top of the snow, to the bottom of the hill. The whole time they laughed and screamed in delight. I stood and watched as they climbed back up the hill and did it again. Several times.
One of the children saw me standing there and called out, “You wanna try? It’s fun!” I was tired, cold, and a bit frustrated. I almost said, “no,” thinking I needed to stay on my journey. “Sure.” I climbed up the hill and they told me how to hold on to the sled (which is what they called the board) and how to turn. My first time down the hill didn’t go so well. Halfway down I rolled off the side of the sled and tumbled down the rest of the way. I wasn’t hurt, but everyone was laughing. I got up, grabbed the sled and tried again. I got it right – it was a lot of fun for sure! It didn’t look like we were going very fast, but while riding, I could feel the wind rushing through my fur.
I was dripping wet from melted snow, as were the children, when an adult called them in to the nearby farmhouse. They welcomed me in and offered me a drink called “Hot Chocolate.” I almost took a sip then remembered what I learned before, so I graciously declined. The man of the house offered me coffee instead. They gave me a room for the night, expecting nothing in return for their hospitality. I even offered coin, but they refused.
Tomorrow, I’ll resume my journey to Hiltmar. They tell me that in normal weather, on horseback, the trip would take about ten days. On foot, in the snow? Who knows.
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