The winter had started very late this year,but then all of a sudden. Until the first days of hrivie there had been lots of days full of sun, much to warm for the season.
The plants had prospered kind of swelling buds, and it had looked like early spring, but then a cold snap happened, the temperatures dropping during one single day about 20 degrees, and the icy rain preserved all those near blossoms under a thick layer of glass clear ice.
After that a snow storm came up, and it lasted for several days. Even for elvish standards and stamina no one would have endured this weather without shelter for more than a little while without taking permanent scathe.
But now, two days before yule, the wind had calmed down during night, and this morning it was all deep blue, white, silver and glass, not even the gentlest brize disturbing the absolute silence.
Huan' s breath came up in thick white puffs, and Celegorm's fur mittened hands, his muffled face and the fur cap on his head were meant to fend off the ice cold crisp air.
His bow was tucked away under his upper coat, to prevent the sinew from getting too cold and therefore brittle, his quiver of arrows, too, to keep the feathers working, though the idea of hunting some fresh game for yule was only some kind of flimsy excuse for getting out of the ( to his opinion) overcrowded caves of Nargothrond.
The ice-cold air burned inside his nose, even filtered through his scarf, but he enjoyed the sensation, it made him feeling absolutely alive. His big hound sniffed and gave a single bark, and a covey of black crows, that sat crowded on the bare branches of an oak tree, flow away cawing.
The twigs and branches of conifer woods were nearly breaking under the weight of the covering ice and snow, bending low to the ground. When Celegorm touched them accidentally, a load of pulvery snow came down, and they would twitch back like a whip.
Huan went stiff, and the elves keen eyes discovered a snow hare cowering under the root of a large pine. He shook his head lightly, to show his hound this wasn’t the prey he was hunting for.
Some time later he came to a clearing, where only some birches grew. He saw a small herd of red deer, females with nearly grown up calves, trying to peel the bark and feed on it, unable to get through the thigh deep snow to the underlying grass. Even under the dense wood it was more than knee deep, and pawing it away would cost more energy than the meager grass would spent.
Somehow Celegorm couldn’t bring himself to kill one of them; it wouldn’t be a fair play. Whereas he was walking lightfooted over the snow blanket, the deers were working hard to pull their relatively massive bodies through the heavy snow.
He passed them by, heading for the distant hills, to have a better overview. He crossed a frozen creek, where a pair of otters was frolicking, gliding down the slope and chasing one another. On the open field a fox was preying on what certainly a mouse was; waiting, adjusting his large ears to the small sound, and suddenly jumping, head over heels, nearly vanishing in the white covering.
As they came near the hills, Huan gave a small bark, and ran high speed into the thicket to the right. After a while a sounder of boars came crashing through the wood, some sows with young boar, followed by a huge male.
In an instant, Celegorm put off his mittens and produced his bow and arrow from under his coat, but it took him too much time, so that the game was out of shooting distance before he finished. But Huan, who had guessed his masters intentions, was on the boar, hindering him from further flight.
The massive boar gave him a good fight, its strong jaw and fangs making deadly weapons. But it wasn’t a real match to the large hound of Orome, who had it soon at the back of its neck. All Celegorm was left to do was finishing it with his sharp, long knife.
“What would I do without you, my friend?” Celegorm patted his hounds head with praise. “ Now we have to get this boar ready to fetch it home, it’s getting late, days are short this time of year. But I am lucky to have had your help, or there wouldn’t be any quarry to fetch.”
He sliced the boars belly and extracted first bladder and gut, then got loung and heart and fed it to Huan. He then shouldered the boar and headed for home, pleased with the day and his hunt, and the comradeship with Huan.
He whistled a happy tune under his breath and walked a little faster, already feeling the taste of mulled wine on his tongue, which was awaiting him for sure.