Drip. Drip. Drip.
The ice at the entrance to the cave he sheltered in was melting.
Normally, that would have been a sign of winter's ending, and of warmth and colour returning. Now, with his leg still healing, it had only signified that he should drag himself above the cave's floodwater level or drown in the icy runoff.
Somehow, he had made it, but his wound had reopened, negating previous effort at stitching it up. Slowly. Don't faint. Just… slowly…
He grabbed his knife, prepared to defend himself.
A dark-haired head peeked in.
"Happy Birthday, Estel!"
Originally written for Cairistiona's 2013 birthday on LJ.