The wind whipped the rain into his face; his hood offered no protection from the sharp needles of water, it was that it was keeping him warmer than he would be without it that gave him any comfort.
He had been on the road for twelve days, on the back roads, sleeping in ditches. When he had volunteered to be one of the Duke’s couriers he had forseen horses and diplomatic protections and heraldry, not traveling incognito on foot, jumping at every shadow. For the first six months he found it impossible to get used to carrying a sword whenever he left the manor, and even more troublesome to sleep with it by his side, slightly loosed from its scabbard.
He crested the hill and looked down at the valley through the rain and gloom; even though it was a hour before sunset it was almost as dark as a moonless night. He knew that it was important that he made it across the valley before night really fell, but the dark shapes moving along the treeline a hundred yards down the hill made him wonder at the chances of that.