Theodora woke to snow hush. Her bedroom felt as cold as mountain echoes. She burrowed deeper beneath her blankets, warm in the wool smells, and listened to the winter dawn. She’d always called that white silence ‘snow song’. Thinking of bare trees and bright fields, breath puffs and sinking steps, she heaved off the bed covers. She wanted her footprints to be the first on the snow. Chill floorboards stung her feet as she darted to the window. Pulling open the curtains, she peered through frost-patterned glass: white fields glittered like comet trails; low sun hazed the pale sky. The black shapes of distant trees seemed the letters of an unknown language. Stillness lit the air.
Folk called her Queen Frost; her voice glittered like frozen moons. In a kingdom of snowlit forests, she sat beside the king. The castle was warm with her laughter. She taught her children songs as bright as low stars and told them tales of lands which never were. In the winter, when the nights were as long as black winds, she trekked food parcels to old folk in the deep woods.
One day, she became ill. Wise women gave her herbs grown from icicles and owl song, but her eyes dimmed and her voice became as thin as frost light. Her children stayed at her bedside. Candles burned through the quiet night. When the sun rose over the snow lands, she didn’t wake. The silence in the castle was as vast as mountain skies.