The sun was shining and a cool breeze blew through the orchard. Drue was sitting on the floor of her living quarters cutting bits of papaya with her small knife. She placed the smallest of the pieces onto one leaf and the seeds onto another as she ate the larger chunks for her morning meal. When she’d finished she took the leaves and carefully folded them. The first would be used to feed the eclectus in hopes of befriending it. While the second she’d carry to the hot box and attempt to dry the seeds so that she could plant the fruit close to her new home.
The day’s task was to go in search of other foods. She had already collected some fruits very similar to grapes, apples, papaya, bananas, and plums. Pine nuts, acorns, violets, pansies and nasturtiums were also abundant. But until now she had never ventured more than a two hundred yards away from her dwelling and she was sure the orchard had more to offer her.
She emptied her canvas bag onto the floor; storing her clothes this way was becoming annoying. She needed the bag and would have to devise some type of dresser for her clothes or just keep them piled neatly in a corner. She placed her knife into the bag and went to the hot box where she unrolled the leaf and left it lying flat upon the floor to dry. Then she placed her hatchet, small hand rake and miniature garden trowel into her bag. Now that she had collected all the tools she thought necessary, it was time to depart.
Drue lowered the ladder and climbed her way down. While flying certainly would have taken less time, it was difficult to maneuver the branches that assaulted the feathers of her wings each time she dare use them. It was easier and much less painful to walk while she was in the orchard, so she rarely used her ability, preferring instead to only use it as a last line of defense.
She returned the ladder to the trees and tied the vine which held it. Then she followed her now well worn path through the wood that led to the spring. The rice she had planted only two weeks before was already starting to sprout past the surface of the water. She checked the piping system and smiled in satisfaction everything was going to plan.
She removed the hatchet from her bag and used it to cut away at the brush as she moved ever westward. The eclectus followed along, flying from branch to branch and never allowing her to leave his sight. All at once she cut her way out into the open. The sun was dazzling, bright, and warm upon her skin. Golden waist high grasses swayed in time with the winds choreographing a simple but beautiful dance of wheat.
Drue stood in silence taking in the scene. The addition of wheat to her food supply would be enough to keep her well nourished. She could venture back to the rocky expanse of land under the Cliff’s of Exile to gather some large rocks. Then she could use them to ground the wheat into flour. Drue was lost in thought and didn’t notice the snake slithering toward her.
The eclectus still hidden in the orchard grove called out its warning. “Hey! Snake! Snake! Don’t stand there looking stupid! Move!”
Druesilla was startled by the voice and her fear had not let her process the words being said. She turned searching for the sound just in time to see the thick brown snake spring and barely managed to avoid its fangs. Her hatchet still in hand she retaliated bringing the blade down hard on the tail end, and severed it. The cut piece flailed and flopped on the ground, but the head very much still alive turned on her viciously.
With half of its great length gone it could no longer spring but it carried its head high and advanced. Closing in on her, hissing and spitting, it’s tongue flicked around its mouth tasting the air and sensing her fear. Knowing that she could not hope to overpower the creature if she was bitten or squeezed she reached for her knife and began wildly slashing at the air.
The bird called out again “What are you doing you idiot! Fly! Fly Now!”
Fly? The concept seemed foreign to her, although it was as natural as breathing. Much to the snake’s chagrin Drue took to the air. She flew fast ducking and dodging all attempts to do her in while doling out deep gashes along the snakes body. Infuriated, the snake let its anger drive him causing a fatal mistake. It lounged at Drue and taking advantage of his overextended neck, she used every ounce of her remaining strength to drive the blade clean through its head. The head still poised to kill, separated from the now writhing body, crashed to the ground, and lay motionless.