I stumbled as I stepped through the door. Nothing can really prepare you for a sudden change in gravity. I took a deep breath of the cool, clean air and turned to look back. Nothing! No sign of a door, just a worn area on the ground that just stopped where the door should have been. In front of me a faint trail through the thick moonlit grass. I had been told they moved the door every day or two. That way it gave new arrivals a chance to avoid any ne'er-do-wells who might be laying in wait for them.
I may as well follow the trail ahead of me. The only map that was provided to emigrants only showed major features and a cross where the door was, or should that be, had been. Just to be sure I pulled a compass from my pocket. The trail headed north west. All the planets that had been chosen for settlement had a magnetic field, without one the radiation levels from space were too high. The map showed that in the direction of the trail the land fell away to a river valley that led to the nearest sea. That seemed to be a good choice.
It must have been a few hours later when the sun rose. In the west! That was going to be confusing and meant the sundial watch I had packed would be going backwards when I eventually stopped for long enough to work out my latitude. That of course assumed that this worlds magnetic field was locked to its rotational axis. That was a problem for later. Now I was beginning to feel hungry and I may as well have breakfast even though my stomach told me it was supper time. I looked around and spotted a small wooded copse to the east of the trail. I could make a fire and cook some porridge.
As I neared the copse I caught a faint scent of wood smoke. Perhaps someone else was cooking breakfast. Not wanting to startle anyone I called out. "Hullo the camp!" I got a reply, but not one I was expecting. A lion's roar chilled my blood and I froze mid step. The roar was followed by a sweet voice. "Stand still and you will be safe!" and the lady I had seen passing through the door and her lion emerged from between the trees. I assured the lady that moving was the last thing on my mind, which was a lie, my legs and the rest of me wanted to run.
Feeling the hot breath of a lion on your hand and smelling the carnivores mouth odour set my knees shaking. "Stand still, I told you." she said as she looked me up and down. "He looks harmless enough. Sit!" I made to sit down and she laughed. "Not you, silly! Hodari, the lion." She pointed at me, "You can join us for breakfast, rather than being Hodari's breakfast".
The three of us sat around the small fire. Hodari gnawing on the leg of something that looked like a deer, while two venison steaks broiled on a gridiron. It smelled better than my porridge would have.
As the meat cooked we talked. Well Hodari didn't, his mouth was full. The first problem was introducing myself. It seemed silly to use my name from Earth. This was a new life and it deserved a new name, but I had not thought of one yet. "I am called....", I paused, "Blondel, the troubadour.". Hardly original, but it was a good name. A smile crossed her face and she replied, " I am the Lady Imara, soothsayer, diviner of the future and oracle. You have chosen an apt name and I sense that you will bear it honourably."
Between bites of the tender venison we discussed our hopes and plans for this new life. Never did we mention out former lives, that seemed inappropriate. I expressed my hope that we could travel together, at least for a while. Imara thought for a while and finally asked Hodari for his opinion. I have to assume a lion's purr marked agreement as she smiled again and said, "It will be."