After a harsh winter that left a subtle chill in the air, sunshine and a promise of warmer days was a welcome respite.
Eleonora napped under an ancient oak, its tender leaves beginning to spread along its stout limbs, a book opened face down in her lap.
A squirrel and a blue jay chased each other across the tree canopy, chattering threats and insults, quarreling over territory. The melodramatic chorus lulled the usually vigilant El into dropping her guard.
Fortunately for her, the alchemist’s lethal incense worked perfectly, its toxic fumes dispatching the marauding troll at a six-foot distance.