Another extract from my WIP. Thanks, Sue for the illustration.
When the first cold winds bit bringing the sting of rain, Evienne is not at their trysting place, and he knows he would not see her again until the year turns again. He broods through the winter months when snow drapes the hills and the sedge in the lake shallows is crisp with frost. He scours the lakeside, taking his hounds to find a sign of her dwelling place. He finds nothing. No track, no house, not even a cot.
He has in mind to hunt water birds if Evienne refuses to show her face, but the dogs draw no game. He cannot find it in his heart to beat them, though he sees mallards, coots, grebes and herons aplenty. The hounds sniff the wind and whine but refuse to enter the water, and refuse to follow the animal tracks through the thinning undergrowth beneath the trees. His arrows all fly astray, caught in winds he never feels on his face, and are lost among the reeds. It is Evienne’s doing, he thinks, though how and why, he cannot conceive.
Richard tried to exchange one longing for another. His marriage to Alice of Lisieux is set for the spring solstice. The abbot argues for choosing Lady Day on the 25th of the month, a much more appropriate and auspicious day, or the feast of Saint Joseph on the 19th, but Richard sticks to his own idea though he has no real reason other than that it irritates the abbot. He waits, watching the wild sky, the hares boxing in the meadows at the forest’s edge, watching for the waterfowl to return, life to begin again. His longing, he knows deep down is for Evienne and the awakening of the wild things, the rising of sap, greening of the trees and the grass, not for an unknown girl from across the sea.