It wasn’t any noise that roused Evervale from her slumber. It wasn’t any disturbance in her den or that anything seemed amiss. Instead, it was quite the opposite. Everything was unusually quiet and still. If one listened she was sure that they would be able to hear one of Whispersilk’s bone needles drop in the middle of the Holt. Straining to listen though, all she could hear was the rhythmic breathing of her two sleeping lovemates. Peeking to one side she could see Pathmark’s face in profile as he seemed to enjoy a pleasant dream. To her back, she could feel Longshot’s warmth as he lay cuddled against her.
For several moments she considered staying where she was. It felt so safe and warm that she was loathe to move at all. Then she remembered the snow that had just begun to fall before they had taken to their den. With a renewed sense of purpose she crept out from between her two loves and, after finding a fur to throw across her bare shoulders, tip-toed to the den flap. Towards the end of last night there had only been a light dusting of snow upon the ground. The weather-wise elders had studied the gathering clouds and seemed in agreement that a big snowstorm was brewing. True to their prediction, it had started to fall just before sunrise. It came down in huge, wet flakes and most of the elves had gone to their dens to rest and wait it out.
It was only with some cajoling that Pathmark and Longshot had gotten Evervale to their den. She was as excited as any young cub, indeed, as excited as her own hyperactive younger sister, to see how the storm would develop. She had many happy memories of the snow and, even though it would interfere with the night-to-night life of the Holt, she hoped for a heavy snowfall.
Once she had reached the den flap she pulled it back and peeked outside. What she saw made her eyes grow large in wonder. Though it was nearly mid-day, there was very little light out. Dark clouds, heavy with snow, blocked the light and seemed to dampen all sound. On the ground lay a deep, white blanket that surely would come to her knees or higher. By the time this was done, it might even come up to her waist as it had when she was a cub herself!
For long moments she sat still and quiet, studying the wonders in front of her. The Holt looked so new and clean with its new blanket of snow. There were no tracks to be seen and no sounds to be heard. Even the elves who normally would be up and about in the daylight were still snug in their dens. Neither the birds nor the wolves nor any other animal was out to be seen. To Evervale it seemed so wondrous and magical. It was almost like the snow had remade the Holt into a new place other than the home she had known all of her life.
Her mind wandered back, prompted by memories of snowstorms from the past. There she was riding on her father’s shoulders as her mother walked beside them. Another memory flitted by of her playing with Crackle, who would hide while she sought her in the snow-covered forest. Yet another, more distant memory, and she was running with her first wolf-friend and chasing rabbits into snow banks that were taller than she was. These and other memories made her smile as she regarded the scene outside. Crackle, she knew, would be totally thrilled. One night little Rill would be old enough to join in and play with them without sinking into the snow, she realized. Right now he was a baby, though, and this would his first big snowstorm. Imagining the expression of wonder he would have upon seeing it made her smile even brighter.
“What’s going on?”
Evervale nearly jumped in her surprise. So intent had she been on watching the snow that she hadn’t realized that Longshot had begun to awaken. Laying next to him Pathmark was also beginning to stir. They had missed her when she had wiggled out of the furs and now were looking to see where she had gone.
“Nothing. Everything is fine. I was just watching it snow.”
Longshot could see the happy expression on his lovemate’s face. Turning to look at Pathmark, who by now had opened his sleep-heavy eyes, he finally began to smile himself.
“The snow has fallen, and even the need to sleep won't keep her from wanting to play in it.”
Pathmark shook his head and grumbled a bit, pulling a fur up over him for warmth, before replying.
“That’s all well and good, but can’t we wait till the moons rise at least?
She laughed and let the flap fall closed again. Creeping back into the pile of furs with them she then wrapped an arm around each of them and pulled them both close.
“Yes, we can wait till the moons rise. Or till Crackle wakes up, whichever comes first. I’ll let you two sleepyheads get some rest and then you’ll come out and play with us. Fair enough?”
Apparently it was agreeable to them both since they merely cuddled up close and drifted back to sleep. Evervale kept an arm wrapped around each of them, holding them close as she tried to get back to sleep herself. Any moment, though, she expected to hear Crackle’s voice, or perhaps Rill’s squeals of delight. He got so excited when he saw something new. She felt content here with her new family and awaiting her younger siblings. Somewhere in the future she knew that she would look back and see this storm as one of her happy memories in the snow.