Larah looped through the Ogamah Grove, running fingertips across the smooth, silvery bark. Warm, briny breezes rustled the shiny leaves. “Hello Lilibeth,” she murmured passing around the trunk of her friend.
Off to the east, the sun rose above the waters of the Gulf. Breathing in the warmth, she leaned back against the tree. On the edge of the horizon lay a green line, marking the Dunharraw coast. Staring hard, she tried to imagine what it looked like. From the other girls, came talk of exotic plants, animals, sounds and smells. Whole other communities of people lived there, though, as she understood it, not as harmoniously as the Druids did in Avalir. If the rumor was to be believed, that was mostly due to those ghosts of fear and violence: men.
A squawk and a chirp shifted her attention. Above her in the outstretched boughs, she saw a Thrush nest and in it, the fuzzy gray heads of chicks. After that, each morning she sat under Lilibeth, watching as the mother bird fed her brood and anticipating when the chicks would fledge and leave the nest.
But one morning flapping and squawking sound came from the base of a nearby tree. One of the chicks lay on the ground, panting, and at intervals flipped itself into the air, attempting to get airborne. For a time, the bird continued to fail. When it stopped moving, she walked over and scooped it up.
With wide eyes, the creature flapped one wing, but not the other. It must be broken. A mend spell would heal the creature. But should she?
She knew the answer. No one was to interfere with wild animals. Still, no rule said she could not return the animal to its home. Tucking the bird into the pocket of her robes, she climbed and placed it back into the nest.
Yet the next day, the bird lay on the ground again. Larah picked it up, caressed its head, and fed it seeds. The bird turned its face to her as if to say thanks. But clearly the wing would never heal on its own. She agonized over the decision, then with misgivings, placed it back into the nest.
All the next day, a storm raged over the island, keeping her indoors, but the morning after she raced into the grove. Her heart sank seeing the feathered form lying motionless on the ground. With care, she scooped it up, and buried the remains, but not the memory of what could have been done.