The night was cold. Bitterly cold. The fires had been burning well into the night and he had dragged every inch of material over himself, so as to keep the warmth in his body. After some time and a few stiff drinks, he had fallen asleep though he proceeded to toss and turn for most of the slumber.

He awoke with nothing but the piercing light of the sun coming up over the rocky hills beyond and the illusion of a day that would appear far warmer than it felt. The rain had stopped and the remnants were all over the cobbled old street, puddles and flooding still visible outside.

He peered out the widow, his breath misting up the cracked old dirty pane and visible to him as he looked on; it would be a struggle to reach the fortress but the plight of the traveller was sealed, his fate consigned to history before he pulled on his old leather boots and made for the sword he would keep beside him, always.

If he should reach his destination, surviving the elements and braving the harsh Scottish winter, his problems would only just be starting. HE would be waiting, ready, one step ahead. With vast resources and wealth, HE had everything. HE would be ready for the traveller and every bone in his body ached at the thought of the matter in hand. Yet, he continued. Going back, was far less palatable than moving forward, however unpleasant the task ahead was.

He would move on, he would prevail. He would remain, steadfast and he would win. He pulled the heavy old oak door closed and made for the staircase, as the innkeeper lit the fires around the inn and beconed him an insincere farewell…