Paskflaur tucked the hem of her smock into her belt and stepped quietly through the cattails and into the pond's shallows. Around her, dragonflies whizzed by and bees tumbled from flower to flower. The water was cool and the fish were hungry after last night's rain. She adjusted the weight of her woven basket where a fine pond fish rested on a bed of loosestrife and nettles. It would cook nicely with a pair of duck eggs, and the vixen licked her whiskers in anticipation of the meal. The ducks themselves were vacant from their nest hidden in the cattails, leaving the six eggs unprotected while the parents foraged for their own dinners and preened. Pask could see them in the middle of the pond, unaware of her paw slipping into the feather-down nest. She set one egg in her basket and reached for the other. Two was all she would need. Besides, she enjoyed a young duck almost better than the eggs –
The blood-curdling scream sent the egg leaping from Pask's paw as she startled. Her fur stood on end and her heart caught in her throat, empty paw rising to her muzzle. The egg rolled into mud at her feet, unnoticed, as a flurry of birds winged overhead.
"Hell's teeth," the vixen panted. Her ears swiveled, hunting for the source of the scream but there wasn't another and she couldn't scent blood from here. She reached down, not dropping her eyes from the forest, and felt around for the lost egg. Finding it, she dropped it to into her basket and slunk back through the cattails, her path wavering with indecision. Track the source of the scream in case someone needed fixing, or flee home? It could have been a dibbun at play, or the hawk she had seen earlier, or a murderer.
She hesitated at the edge of the pond, whiskers flaring and an ear turning at the sound of -- a whistle? Not a very good one, off-key and rasping, but coming from the same direction as the scream. Pask looked down the path, then up it, and stepped out into the open. It had probably been some creature fooling around. Just then, the whistler came into the open and Pask's gaze narrowed on the mouse.
"Was that you?" she called.