“Do not be alarmed. I am just resting.”
Her voice dances across the little pool, soft and motherly. I relax, folding my wings back against my body. Her warm eyes flick across me quickly as she takes me in, but I, a young female only a year from my birthnest, am of no concern to a great queen such as she.
I bow onto my forelimbs, my claws sinking into the mossy ground. “Is this your woodland, Great One?”
She chuckles softly, venting steam from her snout. “Mine?” She blinked, her eyes drifting into the reflections of the pool. “It was, once, but perhaps it will need a new queen soon.”
Though I understood what she implied, it did not make sense – would not her eldest daughter take over her nest? I let my own eyes wander to the water, and there our gazes met again. As if she could read my mind questioning mind she added, “My clutches all failed. My mate passed two winters ago. I am the last here.” She blinked, closed her eyes, and settled herself back down for another nap. “Stay, if you desire. I will be happy to see the forest protected.”
Then she left me with only my chattering thoughts and the distant talk of birds.