Waking up from a dream where you hear yourself pleading, “choose the wolf? Choose the WOLF?” has always been a bad sign. Moon pulled his thinning wool blanket closer across his shoulders and watched the diffuse light of pre-dawn slowly illuminate the forest outside the hollow log he slept in.
He had slept in better places off and on for many years. Every time he walked past a family cart in a town and saw the makeshift mattress of blanket, canvas and straw wedged between barrels and the drivers seat, he knew exactly the feel it when it would be stretched out in the empty cart bed. And the magic of the sparkling sky overhead. His fellow players, all much older than him, running lines for the next days skits around their camp fire.
…the wolf! Why that? Patting himself down: no wounds. Rucksack? Yes, by his head. Torn? Gnawed…no, or not more than usual. Sword…to the left. Axes….on his rucksack. Torch…crusted with morning frost.
Branches crackling outside his log…not close…yards…many yards away. An animal is digging? Rabbits? Bobcats? The birds are still quiet, what is before the birds? Time to strap on your belt…socks still on: check! Pants at waist…check! shirt…ok, we can tuck than in a bit, vest….vest button…buttoning…sword belt…first smooth the cloak…cloak left, then right, belt around, fingers already rigidly stiff from everything icy…buckled! Next, drag the boots from behind your head down across your belly between your legs so you can pop out of the log and…
A huge leg slammed into the ground two yard in front of the opening of the log and was so large it left the briefest impression of white scales before shadow covered the glen. Scales? Shadow?
If this was a dragon, why get out of the log at all?
Heart pounding…obvious….but a log with a human inside? No, that was good cover. Breathe…another big breath. The shadow of the scaled leg….bends….and a spray of bark and pine needles make you squint as a mighty pop of air shakes the log and announces that the dragon flapped into the sky.
Silence for many breaths. Moon scoots with his boots between his legs and dangles his feet out of the end of the log and squeezes his head out. Toes are freezing! Get those boots on…look up, and spot some sparrows hopping in the snow. A ray of sun striking the branches above.
Well, time to head towards the lake and fish for breakfast. Moon Wag grabbed his heavy pack with his axes dangling from it and started looking for a good branch to help him catch some fish.