Prologue

Early March

In the dark of the night, with the stars as the only light, a mare, heavily burdened with foal, wanders away from the herd…

The old mare watches as her only daughter makes her way to a nearby thicket. This elderly mare has raised several healthy foals, all but one of them colts. This will be her first year where she has not carried a foal, having gone barren in her old age. So now she looks for motherhood in her daughter, hoping that her foal will grow to adulthood like last year's foal. The mare held a confidence that her daughter will bear a foal, come morning. Her wise, clear eyes were a sharp contrast to her gray and old body as she scanned for nearby predators. Satisfied, she bent her head to crop the spring grass.

Placidly, up on the knoll, the herd stallion watched the procession. He knew that the mare wouldn't stay too far for too long.

She walked quietly and with a purpose. Her heavy burden aided her feet to sink in deeply in the soft earth. She came upon the top of a hill and examined her surroundings, ears twitching here and there. Her sharp eyes scan the nearby brush. Turning her head to the herd, she watches the calm ears and heads of her friends and family. She sighs, cooling the nervous heat growing in her belly. She wasn't a first time mother, but even so, nervous excitement laced up her belly in prolonged twitches of her pelt. It's almost time… Spotting the stallion eyeing her, she notices his nostrils quiver as his nickering reaches her ears. She mentally smiles at his encouraging call, her lips unable to do so.

Silently she finishes her journey to the nearby thicket, which she noisily enters, continuing to the denser portion. Then, she settles down for the long night ahead.