My old friend Seamus Gumbo had not been up to Winterfell for quite a while.
“You are really moving up, partner. I can tell the world I remember you when you just had that little bit of mainland and that funky house with the door you could never close,” he said with a hearty laugh.
We were standing at the north gate of The Castle at Cape Whitfield in Winterfell Haven. “OooooWeeee, this is some digs you got here, Danko,” Seamus said with a whistle.
He was a little bit jealous but happy for me nonetheless. Ever since Seamus visited me in my first days in Laudanum he has talked of owning property in Winterfell. “Some day I’ll buy a big plot up north in those woods and live in a castle,” he used to say. Now he was here to stay in my castle for a few days, the first of my friends to use the new guest room in the north wing.
Seamus recently sold his Tanglewood property as his work has taken him away from this world for a while. But he has a few days this month to visit. He dropped his bags in the guest room and I gave him the grand tour. After supper we took our steins down to the dock and watched the water and took in the night air.
We talked of old times on the Mainland when I was Mayor and he was the proprietor of the local head shop. “We were livin’ high in those days,” he punned. I tried not to spit out my ale as I laughed. Seamus reached into his pocket and pulled out a pipe. “Time for an ‘attitude adjustment’,” he said with an illegal smile.
“What was the name of that town where we put up The Emerald Inn? ‘Hilltop’ or something?” he said as he puffed. “Onatopp,” I replied. “Yeah, that was it. On-a-topp of a hill” he said as he exhaled. Seamus handed me the pipe. It had been quite a while since I had imbibed but I must admit I had hoped he was bringing some of his “top shelf shit” when he had telegrammed to say he was coming to Winterfell for a visit.
“Man, you got it made in the shade up here, Mr. Ambassador,” Seamus said. “I knew when you first moved here that you had found your true home. I think I knew it before you did!” He was right, he had realized it on his very first visit to Winterfell and had told me so though I didn’t get it at the time. “A special, special place,” he mumbled as he lit the pipe again. He took a long, slow draw and handed it back to me.
When the contents of the pipe were exhausted, Seamus excused himself to go up to the guest room and sleep after his long journey, for he was exhausted too. It was very late but I stayed there on the dock, gazing at my ship, the water, the night sky. I thought about my own long journey as I sipped the last of my ale…from the Mainland to the Steamlands; from a house in town to a cottage in the woods to a castle by the sea.
Seamus knows me better than anyone. And he was right. What a lucky man I am.