Mike Singleton – The Lord of Midwinter

The Lord of Midwinter
Dawn approached stealthily, running swift fingers of light over the Lands of Midnight. Far to the east, it touched the grim Keep of Utarg with a brief golden haze: the Targ sentries yawned and looked around only to see if the next watch approached to relieve them. The dawn moved on, trembling over the Downs of Athoril, cloaking them in scarlet and saffron. The hills which had seemed hunched herds of vast menacing creatures in the absence of light, seemed now to draw apart and unfold.
The daylight spread further westwards, painting the Plains of Dawn first crimson, then amber, then a deep glowing yellow so that they looked, for a fleeting moment. as they did at any noon of the Long Summer, clad in wheaten gold. In lonely hamlets scattered across the broad plains, villagers stirred and smiled to see the warmth of daylight return, then bent themselves to their daily tasks.
Over the Forest of Thrall sped the hand of the Sun. shooting bright arrows of light into the sepulchral darkness of the trees, and then further west to caress the sheer walls and tall towers of the Citadel of Shimeril. As the first blaze of sunlight fell into the Courtyard of the Kings, the great horn sang out over the city. Twelve times the great horn bellowed its simple fanfare, a short, deep boom followed by a longer, more strident note. A-wake, a-wake, it sang and then fell silent. The city roused itself dreamily, with creakings of shutters, rattling of doors and the growing murmur of feet on its cobbled streets.
The dawn did not linger but hurried on its endless journey, ever westward, ever westward till the world ceased to spin. Across the Plains of Blood it shed its own, brighter blood. What men moved there shivered in reluctant remembrance and did not pause to gaze upon the colours of the sunrise. Then, at last, the light grazed the edges of the Forest of Shadows, rose up and flew over a sea of mist- wrapped trees to touch the high stones of the Tower of the Moon.  — Mike Singleton, The Lord of Midwinter, 1951 – 2012