Summary: A Weaver, a trail, and some cows. This story gets more exciting by the minute!
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the story page to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
On the Road – Pre Cattle
The weather is getting better as winter winds down. There is less of a bite to the air and there is very little snow or wind. It’s another month or so before spring starts thawing things out, but it’s a nice change. Some of the late winter greenery is starting to fade back to its summer violets and the forest is littered with a combination of deep reds and purples.
The weaver stops to grab a handful of berries and munch on them. It’s odd being on the road again, after life in the cabin, but she finds its nice to be back out in the open .The cabin was more comfortable than the road, but also more limiting. She can’t figure out why anyone would stay in the towns instead of being out on the road.
She turns down the path towards the lower hills and heads for the next town. Its’ a good three week journey so she has plenty of time to think. There is nothing in the worldweb that needs her attention so she is simply heading towards the closest population center.
Weaver is simply traveling along, runs into caravan of cattle ranchers. Helps with cowboy who has been hurt, notices one of the cattle is infected. Sorts out the wasp carrying cows, cowboys are more annoyed than anything else. They turn the cattle loose, since there is no reason to kill them and offer her a ride. She accepts.
There is a long line of dust stretching down the valley, and she could see movement of large shapes. Most likely they were cows or sheep, led by ranchers who would be taking them in from range into the slaughterhouse. She was a little annoyed because it means that she would have to wait until they had passed. She couldn’t walk fast enough to keep ahead of them and didn’t really want to walk behind them. Cows were messy things and she had no desire to have to walk through her leftovers.
She makes camp and waits for the herd to pass.
They cowboys stop when they get up to her, although most of the herd keeps moving. They ask is she would be able to help them out with some sick cows. She agrees.
They wait until the end of the herd passes them, this is where the cows are. They have been segregated out into their own herd because they are worried about the other cows catching it.
The weaver asked little sister for a bite and the spider grudgingly agreed. The arachnid was displeased at having to be out in the cold, and retreated back to the comforting warmth of the wrap as soon as possible.
The world web faded into view and The weaver is easy to figure out that cows are wasp infected. There is a bundle of weblines in the chest area that signals an infection. Even though it was relatively recent, it’s too late to do anything with the truce in place. The ranchers have no way to remove the larvae so they have to get rid of the cattle. There is no point in killing the hosts, since it will only attack the attention of the wasps if they are nearby. There is no easy way to tell where or when they were infected other than a general idea.
The ranchers mark them as a warning to others then turn the cows loose and chase them into the woods. They hang around for a little to make sure the cows aren’t going to come back.
They mark the cows with a certain ear notch that means infected dangerous and have the weaver pull off the brands. She can’t remove the brands, but she can remove the scar tissue allowing them to regrow the fur if they survive that long. They then chase them into the forest in the opposite direction. They had passes a stream earlier the previous day and it was likely the cows would head that way once they were far enough away from the main herd.
Two cowboys went with the cattle to make sure they were far enough gone that they wouldn’t turn back and the last cowboy waited with the weaver for them to return.
They offer the weaver a chance to walk with them, thus shortening her path. They ride her up to the front of the herd and slow things down a bit. Not that big of a problem and worth the delay to have a weaver traveling with them.