The Snow Ring
by Stacy Bennett
Mud sucked at my boots in the chilly solstice dark and I cursed the snowless winters of Havenfell. My tracks would lead them straight to the cabin, but it couldn’t be helped. It was Gran’s dying wish to see the ring again.
Mother always said it was old age talking when Gran grumbled about the “damn queen stealing her snow”, but I knew what she meant. She’d told me the story countless times. Arriving home, I slipped off the mud-laden mukluks before going in.
“Who’s there?” Her querulous voice echoed the door’s broken hinges.
“I brought you a gift, Gran.” From beneath my ratty cloak, I drew her prize. A silver band with an icy diamond, large as my thumbnail. It twinkled in the hearthlight, clear at the center edged with hoarfrost.
“The Snow!” Her lip quivered. She took the heirloom in quaking hands, eyes brighter than I’d seen in years. Holding it to her heart, she rocked, crooning a strange singsong rhyme. When her tune stopped, a sudden breeze lashed the window.
“I’ll be leaving now.” She announced in a steady voice, its finality bringing a lump to my throat.
A knock on the door frightened me. The Queen’s guard couldn’t have noticed the ring missing already.
“Open it,” Gran ordered. I tried to quell my inner fluttering as I opened the door to an otherworldly man, lithe and coolly alien. He entered like the winter wind, oblivious to me, and went directly to Gran.
“What took so long?” His voice held an aching.
“I’m sorry.” She stroked his slightly peaked ears with tender familiarity.
“All’s well, mierna.” He kissed Gran’s hands and her age fell away like the afghan from her lap. She rose, following him through the door where they disappeared into the swirling snowflakes.
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“The Snow Ring” was initially published on Christmas Day 2012 as part of my 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop (That was a fun hop, wasn’t it?) and I thought it appropriate for the snowy weather we’ve been having. Enjoy your weekend.