Night Scene

The house stood on a slope, the wide stone balcony commanding a wide view of the surrounding lands, now shadowed and silvered under the full moon.

Near the house, the white gravel paths of the formal gardens glowed in the moonlight, surrounding dark flowerbeds, forming strange patterns. Runes perhaps, surrounding the house in a protective ring.

Beyond the circle, a wide swathe of moonwashed grass led to shadowed groves and the start of the great forest on the facing hill.

Between the two, cutting through the grass like a knife of Damascus steel, a stream flowed. A poor name perhaps, it was too large for a stream, but too small, yet, for a river. It created yet another barrier between the house and the wild woods creeping down the opposing slope.

It was crossed in two places, a wide stone bridge leading to the main gates, the road and the world beyond, and a narrow, whimsical wooden construction arching over the swirling waters, joining the two halves of a path leading from the edge of the runes to the dancing leaves of the forest’s edge.

Across the grass, deer moved, slowly and calmly, sure of their path despite the unusual hour. They picked their way from wood to water, and bent their heads to drink, seeming to bring pure, liquid silver into themselves.

Another movement in the shadows on the hill, light glinting off white or silver fur. It was large, moving furtively, avoiding all but the most determined rays of the moon.

It was watching, but whether its focus was the deer, the house or something else entirely was a mystery.

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