It was a cold and windy night in Ebonshire, the kind of night that makes one wish he had stocked up on wood for the stove. “There’s enough for tonight,” I thought as I placed another log on the fire, “but I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.” I returned to my writing table to review my notes and sipped from my cup of hot cocoa. I had a long night of rewrites before me and it crossed my mind that something stronger than cocoa would be necessary before it was over.

I had travelled to the Mainland in the morning and bumped into an old friend from New Babbage. He told me they already had snow there and that he had trudged through drifts up to his knees the night before. He asked about Winterfell and I replied with a smile and a shiver, “Not yet.” “Won’t be long,” he said. Couldn’t argue with that. So, I stocked up a bit in the shops to be ready before heading for home.

“Won’t be long” is right. As much as I still like to think of late November as fall, I have been here long enough to know how the seasons work in these parts. Last winter I was in Haven, living in a castle for the first time and learning just how cold and drafty such a place can be. Still, that was in the southern most part of Winterfell. Oh yes, it was still a Winterfell winter, no question, but not like up here. I have lived in Ebonshire in winter before. Winter in the north of Winterfell is harsh. It comes in early and it hits hard. They don’t call it Winterfell for nothing. The weather, earlier this week, had been almost spring-like but that wasn’t going to fool me.

I arrived home in the early evening to find winter had fallen while this Winterfallen had been out of town. It wasn’t snowing now but the ground was covered in white. As I unpacked my goods, I turned on the radio and learned that a second snow was falling in Babbage at that moment. I made some supper and had the cocoa as my dessert. Now, as the rewrites awaited me, I looked out the window and saw the nearly full moon through some breaks in the clouds and watched as a few flurries swirled around in the wind. It gave me a bit of a chill to think, “This is only the beginning.” I guess it’s just about time for that “something stronger.”

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