I’m not sure what it is that I expected when the queen waved her hand, conjuring ~ or at least trying to ~ once more. For the on-lookers, thrill-seekers, & Lick-spittles to appear out of thin air?
But I, the court jester, will continue to move in the shadows, weaving from pillar-to-post, dancing to my own inner songs.
Deep in the heart-wood that reaches upward to crown the sacred hill, Callieach’s white hart stamps the ground.
Antlered head cocks to one side as he listens to the birds speaking; sharing the best places to forage and the ones to avoid due to prowling cats and foxes seeking to put on winter fat. Once more the hart stamps the ground, steam rising from his nostrils to collect in clouds rising to crown his antlers. The conversation changes and he listens to wolves singing of winter winds and empty bellies; best to run and hunt lest winter stalk them later.
He nods in assent and his breath curls more around each point on his head. He bows his head to the ground under the growing weight. So he stands, waiting — impatiently — for the Queen of winter to gather his breath on her staff and spin out the snow-heavy clouds of winter.