I have ventured far beyond the horizon. I have crossed vast oceans, and journeyed through many strange lands. I have seen indescribable sights, and witnessed unfathomable beauty. I have collected many tales along the way, and lived through many more of my own.
Winter approaches here in the Great Northern Land. Darkness envelopes us earlier each day, and the nights linger long beyond their welcome. Snow blankets the land in a thick, icy embrace, leaving the air heavy and crisp. A piercing numbness penetrates the chest with every breath drawn. Only a fool would venture out unprepared.
And yet, never in all my travels have I felt such homely warmth and contentment as now.
Fate has brought me to my current party of six, and no two of us are the same. Five brothers and one very silent sister, we who take shelter together make quite the peculiar troupe. We have all travelled far to settle here in pursuit of knowledge, but it was our leisure that truly brought us together.
We brothers are an often merry lot. We sample the strange and fanciful fare native to our different homelands and converse late into the night. We are patrons of the gaming taverns, spending hours on our merriment, and we’ve perused many a dim saloon to enjoy the spiced wings of the fowl by the dozen.
Of our sixth companion, we know but little.
We’ve all heard stories of our silent sister, but stories they remain. To make her acquaintance is an achievement indeed, for three moons have passed and only thrice have I crossed her path. She is away more often than not, but as elusive as she may be, she leaves an illuminating touch on our abode. One simply has to behold the bright drapes of tinsel and soft sparkling lights scattered throughout the parlour to feel the signs of her presence.
The story of how I have come to be here is as long and meandering as the journey itself, but it suffices to say this. All that I have seen and done in life, every success and every failure, has lead me to this point. I am here for a reason.
What I endeavour to accomplish is unique in nature, and of a magnitude beyond anything I have ever attempted. I am in preparation for a great test, a long and dubious trial that I cannot afford to fail. I have stumbled and broken under lighter tasks, and this ordeal may eclipse them all.
I fear what is forthcoming, and time is not on my side.
I push my body further and further each day, gaining speed, strength and skill. It is no less vital to arm the mind. It too must bear a rigorous preparation, as I strive to increase in knowledge and build a mental fortitude that can withstand the greatest of challenges. I train diligently in both body and mind, for they must mutually endure the length of my ordeal.
My time here has been one of diligent preparation, but also a time of discovery, joy and companionship. It has been a voyage of leisure, and a rekindling of my passions. It has made me stronger, wiser, and above all, a better man. It has been the greatest endeavour of my life.
But alas, my journey has reached it’s conclusion. Winter approaches, and I must leave. I yearn for my southern sunshine drenched home, where the sparkling sapphire of the seas are second only to the magnificently endless azure of the skies. It is time for me to return, but know that I shall never forget the companions that I leave behind.
I feel incredibly lucky to have lived with such amazing housemates. China, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Mauritius, Canada and Nigeria; six people, six different countries of birth, and one house that I was always happy to come home to. Despite their occasional struggles with kitchen cutlery, my housemates were always friendly and welcoming, and a lot of fun to be around. I was lucky to land a place with people that I genuinely became good friends with.
To my amazing housemates from 306 Somerset – thank you. You will be sorely missed.