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Sir Peregrin was always good-humored, and even dour mornings with grudging dawns made him cheery. It was very trying.

As always, much too shortly after daybreak he strode to the window, flung aside the draperies, threw wide the casement and leaned out beaming as he drew a deep breath, thoroughly satisfied. “Zounds, verily ‘tis caliginous this day. Right lowering. What think you, my heart’s divinity?”

Lady Calantha stifled a groan as she sat up in the great four-poster bed, blearily regarded the gray world outside the diamond-patterned panes, and replied curtly in the vernacular.

"For heaven’s sake, Grin, do close that.”

Her lord lapsed into the vernacular as well, but left the window open as he reveled in the view, blithely oblivious to his lady’s tone. “Dirtiest weather we’ve had for a while. Think I'll take a gallop around the north woods to check for griffins--they love this sort of murk. Wear that purple velvet thing of yours, won't you, m'dear?"

Calantha tried not to whimper as she huddled in the covers. “I’d really rather not ride all the way to the north woods on a day like this. And besides, my purple gown doesn't fit just now." It hadn't fit for ages, but she wasn't about to let her lord know.

Peregrin laughed in his tryingly hearty way. “Blame the sweet wine and suckling pig at everyone’s feasts, m'dear. A good stirring rescue will give you some exercise."

Calantha shuddered as much at the notion of yet another rescue as she did at the misty chill invading the chamber, and somehow managed not to give the Reply Querulous, which would have reminded her lord that his armor had very recently been altered with roomy gussets to accommodate his expanding paunch. Instead, she regarded the back of Peregrin’s head, remembering the golden mane that had fallen just past his broad shoulders in days gone by. Now the shoulders stooped, and what little hair he had left was becoming as gray as…well, as her own. “Suckling pig’s such a fad lately. And feasting’s getting as tiresome as…” She almost said ‘tournaments,’ but managed to stop herself in time.

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