"Stars steam away as a pale sun rises, hot coal
dropped in a watery sky. Light seeps across the
forest as the reedy shrieks of wood fowl echo
in the trees.
The valley where our village of Duns rests is
surrounded by forested hills. The path from
our village to the King’s Highway is no road
at all; it is a crooked line of mud rutted with
cart tracks, a rough trough where the dirty
snow is stabbed through by the hooves of
feral sheep. To the east, that faint track leads
up through the forest until it reaches, finally,
the open country and paths that lead to other places.
The flock of villagers around the cart thins now. Hob is taking us beyond
the bounds of the known world."
-- from the novel SINFUL FOLK