16. A Dawn in Winter
A double-drabble inspired by heavy snowfall one December day in southern England. Dark places can be made very light by a fall of snow, and one Wood-Elf intends to enjoy it.
A Dawn in Winter
He knows it before he is fully awake, from the pale clarity of the light across the ceiling of his chamber. Slipping from beneath the warm covers he dresses quickly, pulls on cloak and fur-lined boots. Moving quietly through his father's halls, exchanging wordless grins with the guards on the gate, he takes a deep breath of the bitingly cold air, watching the steaming cloud as he exhales, and steps out into the dawn.
The forest is a world turned suddenly white; every branch, every blade of grass weighted and sparkling with winter's blessing. He walks soundlessly on top of the snow, feeling it compacting beneath his boots. At the edge of a clearing he comes face to face with a fallow doe; they regard each other gravely, her huge long-lashed brown eyes meeting his grey-blue fearlessly. At last she blinks at him and steps delicately away into the trees. The rising sun washes the glistening drifts rosy-gold; the forest is utterly quiet, and when a bird landing on a branch dislodges a fall of snow, even that soft thud sounds unreasonably loud.
For this one morning Mirkwood's gloom is gone, buried beneath pure white snow, and Legolas' heart sings.