- Nate Cornell
It came to be that the travellers discovered a calm pond, surrounded by strange new trees. Dipping in the water and drinking their fill was a welcome reprieve from the miles of desert and its desiccating winds.
The trees dampened the wind to a gentle breeze and shaded the harsh sun. The temperate air was matched by a carpet of soft grass. They laid and napped, lulled sweetly to slumber by the song of the wind through the branches and the swaying shadows of the leaves.
The sun had not yet completed it's diurnal arc when they awoke, but they felt well rested. They felt the growl of hunger, and began to forage for what nourishment might exist in the oasis.
Most trees offered a hearty nut that could be easily shelled. It's flavor was akin to raw oats, and it was both hearty and nourishing. A wild ground leaf with a bitter flavor was also abundant in the grove. A small number of trees bore a delightful fruit that was plump and golden, tasting of sweet grapes and nectarines. These trees were too smooth and slender to scale, however, and only one or two of these ambrosial nuggets might fall in a week.
Our heroic party relaxed in this comforting space, and took pleasure in the easily obtained necessities that surrounded them. They no longer felt driven to follow their quest, but still discussed it as though they all expected it was continuing on despite their lack of effort. Talk became all it was, anymore, and these discussions seemed to be a mutual denial of their newfound complacency.
So they bathed and ate and rested. They sang songs of their impending victory, and discussed their well-formed strategies. But they did not set foot outside the grove, and their quarry moved further from them every day.