It happened infrequently, but with a regularity that was easy to predict. A few days out of the month before or after forum, the smile disappeared and the man soon followed.
Sheafs of paper and books. Building plans, citizenship rolls and early drafts, a half written journal and an unfinished song. A rumpled shirt stained with sand from the fighting pit. A sword and shield lying askew under a perfectly good weapon rack. The clutter of the room was getting unmanageable.
The man lay in bed, occasionally taking pen to paper only to crumple it and toss it aside a few pen strokes in.
The gentry of the manor left him to his melancholy during these spells- he’d been there long enough for most to have seen them before and those who hadn’t were told. Water and tea were brought along with plain bread, and dishes were taken, but the man told them to touch nothing else with guilt in his eyes.
Hours before the forum began, he would finally rise, wash his face and stare at himself in the mirrored glass. Silently he’d clean his mess and put on a fresh shirt. And when he emerged his room was neat, his smile was back, and his stride was sure again.