The days were getting longer.
They always did. He couldn’t really remember it, not in the same way a person would, but he appreciated it nonetheless. Longer days meant more food, more warmth. The winter was easier than it was for many of his kind; his territory was unnaturally plentiful, trout and pigeon and squirrel and rabbit. It was cold, so cold it was hard to remember warmth, but there wasn’t any more danger than there was in the summer. He might not’ve known it by name, but he understood, at some level, that Decorah was a bountiful land.
She was with him, of course. They had been together for as long as he could remember, for just over a decade now, and any thoughts or even concepts of his previous mate were long gone. She had been a good mother, a good provider, but she had disappeared in that fateful storm, and his new partner had found him not long after. The territory was impressive, the nest as sturdy as it was massive; he’d been a terribly eligible bachelor. She was younger, not quite as experienced, but she was powerful enough to defend the nest and skilled enough to keep her children full.
They had never known scarcity, not since he’d come to this territory; not since she’d followed. The stream below provided a bevy of trout, a constant source of food. Beyond that, further from the nest, was a still stranger place, made of smooth gray stone; more trout than they could ever eat swam there, packed to the gills in tiny little ponds, but the strange foliage that covered them was impenetrable even to her powerful talons, and certainly too strong for his. In his dreams, it would give way, allowing him access to infinite food; in his dreams, his feet would become tangled in it, and a predator would strike him down.
He stayed away, just in case. There was no telling what was dangerous.
They had mated many times this year; she had laid her eggs not long ago. He lacked a human sense of time, but he didn’t need one: he would care for his eggs until they hatched, and then care for the young, keeping their bellies full until they grew large enough to care for themselves. It wasn’t quite joy, wasn’t quite satisfaction, wasn’t even exactly contentment that he felt when they were strong enough to care for themselves; the emotion was distinctly positive and distinctly eagle, but it had elements of all three, and more beyond that. He didn’t understand in quite so many words that they were his legacy, all that would be left of him when he passed on, his only chance to really make a mark in the gene pool of his species, but the feeling was a feeling of rightness all the same.
For now, though, there were only eggs. He sat low in the nest, ensuring no wind could blow him away, and awaited the coming of the long days.