I looked up briefly and smiled at a cloaked and hooded figure, whose face was turned toward the fire and hidden. The person remained silent and still, a traveler just returned from the road and lost to their thoughts, I figured.

“Good morning,” I said and turned my attention back to my letters. After a few moments, I sensed the person shifting in their chair and a shadow passed over my letter. I looked up to see the person setting a small scroll upon the armrest of my chair. Whomever it was had turned toward me. I could tell it was a man, though much of his face was still hidden by cowl and shadow.

The man glanced down briefly at the scroll and nodded, and I set my hand over it, to keep it from falling to the floor. I sensed, more than I saw, a smile upon the man’s hidden face, and the sense of recognition washed over me, though no other detail came to me in that moment.

The man stood, swiftly taking his leave, and I sat before the fire alone once again.

I glanced down at the scroll under my hand, then looked around for a moment before making my way back to the privacy of my room.

Once inside, I closed the door behind me and lit the candle upon the writing table. I took a moment to settle myself and then opened the scroll.

I stood and set the scroll down on the table absently, my eyes and ears lost to visions and the words of days before.

When I came to, I quickly finished my letters and gathered my things for the journey ahead.

To Esteldin, then. But, first, one stop along the way…


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