The next morning dawned grey and stormy, enough so that when Fest first awoke he was fairly certain that he’d somehow managed to wake himself up several hours before dawn. It was only when he overheard the sound of clattering crockery and footsteps on the floor below that he realised that it must be at least seven or eight in the morning, and that the complete lack of light was less to do with the time of year (though that was definitely a factor) and more to do with the thick blanket of clouds covering the sky from one tree-lined horizon to the other.
Judging by the noises he could hear coming from the next room, he wasn’t the only one to have slept in a little later than intended: from Avebury’s side of the wall, he could hear the kind of thuds and clatters that tended to result from someone trying to get dressed in a tearing hurry and managing to put half their gear on upside down and backwards as a result, accompanied by a litany of swearing which would have been impressive if it hadn’t been Avebury saying it (and therefore, by definition, incapable of being impressive in any way shape or form).
Ha! Not so bloody poised and proper when you think there’s nobody listening, are you?
He’d left his own clothes and boots relatively neatly folded by the bedroom door after his adventure last night and, by comparison to Avebury’s apparent struggles, his own attempt at getting dressed as fast as possible went about as smoothly as he could’ve wanted (barring a brief moment of confusion when he wound up trying to put his left boot on his right foot and wondering why it wasn’t going on properly).
See? I can play you at your own game, too. Now who’s the model student, huh?
Admittedly, he was having a silent argument with someone who almost certainly wasn’t even thinking about him at all, which wasn’t exactly a stunning testament to his ability to stay focused on his studies, but apprentices were allowed a little rivalry, and he was still going to beat Avebury downstairs to breakfast.(more…)