At the end of seven hours of travelling you stand atop a tall hill, a chill wind buffeting you even more than the usual winter breeze. The landscape around you undulates, the forest stretching to and possibly beyond the horizon, like a white sea of leafless knotted trees. All is dressed in the snow that so often falls this time of year and lit by the early-setting winter sun. A small sinuous clearing left by a river snakes its way through this forest and parts the trees, gently curving around the base of this hill and continuing to beyond the horizon. Almost hidden within this natural landscape is an aspect of civilization. It looks to be some sort of stone structure, wide and sturdy, with a parapet lining the rooftop visible above the treetops. From this distance it appears motionless and unmanned; perhaps you’ll be able to reach it tomorrow.

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