The smell of cooked fish filled our encampment and the sound of munching, snapping fishbones and scraping of scales was a welcome silence compared to the giggling Lyra and the oblivious love of Des and Trin.
"Hmm, this trout is very good Cal. But I'm still quite hungry, have we got any fruit or grains of any kind?" Felixia was hunting through the saddle bags without avail as we'd exhausted our food too quickly, but being the resourceful bunch we are, we were coping well.
"How about for lunch I go into the forest and look for plants with edible parts - and we'll gather some things?" Shaddy rubbed my back with is warm hand and kissed my cheek. "Breakfast was lovely."
"Well if I join you I'll grow the plants a bit and we'll get some more a bit quicker?"
"Good idea, and we'll know where to get more too."
I get up from the fireside and remove the pan from the top. "Lyra, when everyone's finished can you wash up the plates and everything... and, Athelstan I want you to watch the fire. Trin, you and Des are on wood collection duty, we need warmth."
"What about me?" Near says as Shadrach passes me a burlap sack bag to sling over my shoulder.
"Hmm, well you and Felixia could tidy up the mess." Shadrach butts in, patting his head and turning him around back to the camp.
"I don't have to much patience, you might have been able to see."
"I'll be the patient one then." And I push up onto my toes to his him quickly. "Come on then and we'll see if we find anything." Shaddy slings his own bag over his shoulder and grabs a few flasks of water for us.
The woods seem to be full of life this morning, the dew on the ground feels cool against my bare feet and having Shadrach by my side knowing how much love we share already fills me with a glow.
"Hey look over there by that felled tree. Mushrooms. Are they edible?" Shadrach follows my pointing finger and sees the soft browny caps in the moss and dirt.
"Definitely, and they're one of the tastier ones too." he kisses my cheek and runs over, delicately plucking them and shaking off the damp soil from the base.
"You can be quite calm, when you try."
"Well yeah, but certain people just grate against me, I can't just be pleasant or even civil sometimes like you."
"Inside I'm killing every single person that looks at me funny."
"Liar." He pulls me into a hug with hugs hands on my waist.
"Maybe, but you're not and ogre." He smirks back at me and pulls a very passable ogre style face. "Or do you want to be my big scary ogre?"
"Always." and he plants a soft kiss on my lips and pulls away slightly. We hesitate for a few seconds just relishing in the proximity. He comes back to my lips again, with an urgency and passion. My fiery man burning in my arms. Eventually we need to catch our breath and we're close.
"What is it?"
"Behind you is a huge boar. I'm going to go after it. I'll be back soon honey." At which point Shadrach leaps from my embrace and takes after the boar in hot pursuit, delicate yet with anger and meaning in his steps.
I carry on in the woods alone and suddenly my mind wanders to the night I found out about my fate. How little did I think my life would twist this way and I would have found my new friends, and Shadrach. The smell of the ceremony came flooding back and I thought of the twisting vines. The fruit! I can grow fruits!
I walk over to a tree stump on my right and set a handful of soil on the top. I place a rock on the top and a few leaves. I know I don't need to but the ritual helps prepare me. I concentrate on the mound and an assortment of vines and branches shoot from the place. I close my eyes and think of the twisting and the blossoming of food from my plant.
The cold wind stirs me from my task and I see how fruitful I have been. I climb into my new plant and start a harvest. Forget climbs off of my pendant.
"Hello, stretching your legs?"
"Are you ok?"
"Going to come back with me?"
"Why?" she climbs onto my hand and all is apparent.
"Ok, but be careful and I wish you the best." She scuttles into the foliage. I carry on with fill the sack until I feel I have more than enough.
I start back to our camp and hear the melodic thud of running behind me.
Shadrach catches up to me looking flushed but triumphant with the trussed boar over his shoulders. "We're going to eat well tonight." He leans in for a kiss and we share a quick snog before getting back.
"So we have lots then?"
"Lots and lots, enough for thirds or fourths if you guys like it."
"Well I'm sure we will, you're a great little chef." He smiles and I watch the way the left side reaches up higher.
"Oh, Forget left us."
"She is dying, she's went off to lay her eggs and catch a last meal."
"Oh." the was a brief silence before Felixia runs up to us.
"Wow, no more fish!" She dashes off again to return to play with the younger boys.
The fire has gone out. Knew it. The was a neat pile of logs over a few yards away and we place our food down on the log bench. Des and Trin we slumped to the largest tree and half asleep still mutter talking. Lyra is still by the lake but the pots and plates were clean and stacked neatly.
"I'll be right back, need to, erm, hunt for the meaning of life." I giggle at the eupherism and busy myself preparing the boar.