The gale whipped at the branches of a large oak tree. Acorns thrashed out into open air smashing into the vast picket fence that surrounded a house and a small field. The gate sputtered and creaked, brass hinges weakened after years of weathering. Fences were common in these parts. They separated the kindly commoners that lived within from dangerous creatures that stalked the land. Ever since the militia of Melteria was sent west to combat invading giants, minor beasts had multiplied and become a major problem. Most Melterians had always had a fence for protection, but poor farmers such as the owner of this small property could not improve it to account for the current conditions.
A sudden massive gust pried the latch away on the gate, forcing it open to slam against the inside of the fence. The farmer, a slight, feeble man, heard the impact. He ran for his spare sickle that was kept in his bedroom trunk. Sickle in hand, the farmer unbolted his front door, wife aghast, and peered outside. In the front yard slithered a thick green serpent with dual-tiered fangs. It advanced toward the farmer’s dwelling, piercing red eyes ripping at the farmer’s morale. Despite this, the farmer threw open the door and stumbled out, sickle raised. It took most of his strength to simply keep the weapon in his grasp.
The serpent lashed out at the man, teeth imbedding into soft calf. The farmer stepped backward and kicked. The creature dislodged and reared his head slightly. With a great amount of difficulty, the farmer swung his sickle down at the serpent with a hack and a sweeping motion. The serpent recoiled and narrowly avoided his stroke. It moved out and to the right in a slight arc.
The farmer, wind blurring his vision as it pulled at his eyelids, didn’t see the motion and stood still for a moment, free hand grasping his injured leg. The beast took another strike at the man’s opposite leg, forcing a virtually inaudible exclamation. The farmer lifted his boot, shook off the serpent, and brought his foot down hard upon its head. He sighed in joy for only a moment, then rushed to his gate and closed the door. The farmer and his wife were safe, at least for today.