Somehow or other he had managed to spend the entire day alone. Well, the entire morning, anyway. It was only a few hours after most people would have their noon meal . . . he still hadn't eaten, but it didn't matter; he wasn't hungry anyway.
Somehow the sky had remained overcast since dawn but he felt at ease with the wind in the trees and something about the way the clouds were brooding over the hills. Every couple of hours it drizzled and spat rain to blur the lines of road and tree and hill. The high road was empty for as far as the eye could see--had been for hours--and the blurred line of it wound off into the green most satisfactorily.
Around the next bend there was a single arch over the road. It had been part of an old, unused aqueduct that descended from a snowy mountain. There was a dark patch right underneath the arch where the water line stopped and the walker stopped under it too, throwing back the hood of his cloak. The air smelled like wet soil and leaves and stone. He exhaled slowly to watch his breath turn to steam in the air.
Leaning against the inner wall of the arch, he cleared his throat and thought how odd it was to finally hear his own voice in the long silence of the day. He found himself oddly uncomfortable now that he had paused. His arms seemed too long, and his feet looked weird in their creased, worn boots.
Funny, he thought; I feel rather much the same way. Surprised at thinking this, he tried to explain how he felt to himself: it felt as if his mind was a pool and his thoughts things that surfaced slowly; it was a peaceful feeling. Well, not exactly peaceful; more contented. Not even contented!
There was something calm about his state of mind, but not exactly happy. He tried smiling, just in case, but it all came to nothing; he wasn't happy. He frowned, but that wasn't right either. Oh, well.
In the end he had to give it up, shrug his shoulders back into the familiar folds of his cloak, reposition his hood, and continue his trek into the hills.
It was five or seven miles later when he arrived at the fortress.