Chapter One

Cyfaill blinked and looked out the entrance to the cave she shared with her grand dam. It was white outside, as white as the clouds and as white as her coat. The filly stepped outside. Oh, how she loved the winter! Playfully she blew into the snow; it flew into the air and sparkled like a thousand stars. "Cail!" shouted her shoulder friend Rea, a mare as brown as fresh earth "We have but the morning to run together. So make haste!" Cail nickered and came over to Rea at a lope. The two fillies fenced a little, and then they were racing about in the Hallow Hills. They were Fencing and running, playing hide-and-seek, and sometimes just looking for some fresh grass beneath the snow.

"Rea! Rea where are you?" the shout made both fillies jump in surprise. "Oh, so soon already?" sighted Rea. A dark brown mare appeared on top of a hill. She was a little lighter than her daughter. "Rea, make haste! Or don't you want to become a healer?" asked the mare. It was Marr, Rea's dam. Rea sighted again and mumbled: "Yes, but not if it takes all my playing time." Cail nickered amused and nudged her shoulder friend "Don't worry" she said "We'll continue our fencing in the evening. On Sunset Hill?" she asked. "On sunset Hill" Rea approved and then trotted to her dam, to be instructed into the arts of healing. Now it was Cail's turn to sight, she ran to her grand dams' cave at a steady, enduring canter.

"Cail, where in Alma's name have you been?" her grand dam asked with a scornful look after Cail returned from her morning play with Rea. "But…" Cail started. "No buts from you, young mare!" her grand dam cut her off "we have grass to find. Take heed where-"

"You step and watch for enemies." Cail finished. She knew her grand dams warning in and out. "Don't do that!" she scolded and nudged Cail outside again. Cail was the best in finding food beneath the snow. Her grand dam, Tara, always said she was born from the snow. Cail thought it actually fit. Her coat was as white as snow, and it had the bluish tint that snow always has, at least in winter. In summer it was a silvery gray, which enabled her to blend into the forest and even the plains covered with grass. But Rea, with her earthen color, was still best in that game.

"Cail, don't daydream. I've already satisfied my appetite!" Tara called. It was indeed so. Tara looked very satisfied, whereas Cail still searched in the snow. She had already overseen two rich patches of still green grass. Cail ate and watched Tara shoo away two newborn foals who were trying to get her to play with them.

When she returned she grumbled: "Can't they find someone else to harass?" Cail chuckled and swallowed the last bit off grass that she could eat. "Let's go home and rest" ordered Tara and walked toward their cave. Cail was eager to join her, for rest meant storytelling, and Cail loved stories!

Tara was lying down in the cave and watched as the snow fell lightly in the world outside the cave, when Cail came in. Tara sighted: "I expect you want to hear a story, don't you?" Cail grinned and lay down beside her "how did you guess?" she teased her. Tara didn't pay any notice and began: "today I will tell you of your mother, but not the usual stories. It was before you were born, and after she became a warrior...

The Equinox, your mother realized she was in foal, so did our prince. Your mother, always admiring him, made a bargain with him. If she was to bear a mare, she should be promised to the younger princeling, but if it was a stallion, the prince could –once the stallion was old enough- drive him into the plains. The prince accepted, for, the most firstborns are stallions. But, as you can see, she bore a filly, white as snow, although she never mentioned who your father was. But you know that from me. She never lost a word about that stallion of hers." Tara looked up; she hadn't watched Cail's reaction to her story. Cail was staring so intently at the ground, that she might have drilled a hole into it with her eyes. "So I'm promised to a princeling?" she asked with anger in her voice. "Yes my dear, I'm afraid so. Your horn is still growing a little, but soon you will join the warriors-to-be at the lake." Tara never mentioned the name of this lake, for she was afraid, that Cail would turn out to imagine things about it, like her mother had when she was about to become a warrior. Cail didn't seem to notice and stood up. She shook herself, to get rid of the pieces of dried grass that their allies, the pans, had carried in for them. She went out of the cave mumbling something that sounded like: "I'll be back by nightfall" and vanished into the snow-covered lands of the Hollow Hills.