The mare lowers her head. Her eye is on me. A good sign. I want to call her to me. A name! I hear Mr. Kendrick’s voice in my head. There’s power in a name. Authority to the one who bestows it. The mare looks behind her, watching something in the dark, beyond the reach of the light. She stands stock still, her breath in the cold air shooting from her nostrils like a dragon. Oh, God, I think there’s something out there. She may run off. Or worse.
I squint into the darkness beyond, expecting to spot a pair of shining eyes or the movement of deer. Something normal that would explain her frozen stance. The wind picks up and the cloud cover shifts. The mare’s back goes stiff, her tail up. Her neck strains ever higher to see into the dark. The edge of her eye glints white in the dim light.
Then it happens.
The moon breaks from behind clouds, shining so brightly that the frost on the grass sparkles like it’s been dusted with diamonds. Just above the ground, a glowing mist hovers. It swirls like cotton candy, twisting in the breeze, spinning in drifts. It rolls toward us from the edge of darkness like a wave coming ashore. The mare and I stand, watching. It makes me feel closer to her, that just the two of us can see this weird thing moving. Coming. The edge, tumbling over the ground, reaches the mare’s hooves. It swirls up her legs, almost to her belly, making it look like she’s swimming in whitecaps. Like Nuallan’s horse in the flood waters. She takes a step toward me and brings it with her. How is this possible? The air turns damp and smells like snow as the horse calmly stands inches away. The breath I’ve been holding escapes in one huff. Her eye is dark and calm. She lowers her head and blows on me, like a sigh.
A name pops in my head like someone murmured it in my ear.
“Roheryn.” I speak it out loud. It’s soft. A whisper. Its breathy sounds swirl in the frosted air. I lean toward her and lower my voice.
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