Umber and the Snake

Umber was annoyed.
She was annoyed at the snake she was riding for taking such a circuitous route.
She was annoyed by the sound it made when it moved that kept her from hearing the chatter of the birds in the trees above.
She was annoyed it was almost dark and she didn’t know where was going to sleep.
But most of all, she was annoyed that she couldn’t just fly to the home of the fairy queen.
Umber pulled up on the reigns and said, “Shhhh.”  When the snake stopped, she looked around, brushing her thick blond hair out of her eyes.
They had been gliding across sand for a while now, and she could hear a stream trickling nearby. She took her feet out of the stirrups and dug her toes into the soft, brown powder.  She sighed. “We might as well stop here,” she told the snake, even though he couldn’t understand her. At least the sand would provide a soft place to sleep.
Pulling her pack off of her back, Umber found a spot under a fallen log that would provide some cover and protection from predators. The snake would keep watch as well.  At least that was what Tarn told her.
Umber dug out a spot in the sand to lay in and put her pack under her head. Tomorrow  I can fly again, she thought. When Tarn had first wrapped up the broken filament, that was how long he thought it would take to heal. I hope he was right.
Queen Imolene honored Umber by asking her there to share her knowledge of the pinsprites, but if she had to explain that she couldn’t fly to the entrance because she had broken her wing trying to corral a spiny thistle-maiden, her credibility would surely be put into question.
Umber closed her eyes and tried to quiet her mind. Nothing would be changed by worrying about it.
When the snake heard her breathing change, he curled up in front of her fallen branch and closed his eyes, too. He hoped it would be another uneventful night.

You can check out Leah's. Her snake's name is Josie.

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