Though the lantern she carried revealed some wrinkles in the woman's face, her footsteps were still light and agile as she made her way through the dark forest. They were also as silent as those of the large wolf that softly padded along by her side. As she came to a large tree she stopped, nodded to the owl sitting in the tree, then held up her arm with elbow bent and wrist turned down to form a perch. The owl swooped down, then landed upon her arm. Malva whispered soft words in a language so ancient, most did not know it had ever existed, much less that it still did. The owl nodded its wise old head, and took flight.
After watching that messenger take flight, she reached down and stroked the wolf's ears, once more softly whispering ancient words. She stopped chanting after a moment, gave the wolf's head a gentle pat, and sent him on his way. It was best if he was delivering his message, while she contacted other messengers.
The full moon was high in the sky by the time she returned to the cottage she called home. The large wolf arrived just as she put the kettle on to boil. He curled up in front of the fire, and snoozed as the woman tossed a mixture of herbs and flowers into a small teapot. Once the kettle had boiled, and the tea had steeped, she took a cup of it to a rocking chair by the fire. She let the tea, the gentle motion of the rocker, and the warmth of the fire sooth her. She knew that soon, moments like this would be rare indeed. The message was now spreading far and wide through the forest. The troops were rallying, and the battle to save their world would begin.
What she was doing had once been forbidden. But that was in a time when people lived as one with the earth, and did not seem intent on completely destroying it. Some of course still lived as one with it. And she had to admit, many other humans were also rallying and trying to save it. Money talked though, and it's voice had doomed their world. So she was doing what had once been forbidden, and weaving a spell that many would say could never be woven. She finished off her pot of tea, then went to bed. Tomorrow would be a busy a day. With any luck, the faeries would be arriving by evening tea time.
Sunrise that morning found her on the small front porch, sipping her morning brew. She enjoyed this quiet peaceful moment as long as possible, then after rinsing out the teapot, went through the little cottage gathering together all the things she needed from it. She wrapped those things in a large black silk scarf, and placed them in a hemp bag, she then slung over her shoulder. She would gather some of the other things she needed on her way to the crystal cave. The narrow winding labyrinth of a trail that led to the Crystal Cave made for a long, and sometimes treacherous journey. Along the way, she gathered a few other things she would need. Snaring just the right this, from beneath a gnarly old tree root that resembled an octopus, And just the right that, from a flower filled meadow. She was very grateful when as she sat taking a break beneath a small group of young saplings, a bird who had lit on a branch in another nearby tree offered one of it's feathers to her while preening itself. She of course waited until the little bird had left, then collected the feather and put it in her hemp bag. She still wasn't exactly sure what she was going to do with the things in the hemp bag. She just hoped they would be of help in the coming battle.
Because of the spell that Gaia had placed on most of the faeries and other such creatures to protect them, only a few faeries lived in the forest full time. The rest were confined to their pretty prisons, and could not not escape until nightfall. But the message she had sent out last night had reached many of daytime prisoners as they had fluttered and played in the moonlight. As soon as the sun set, all that could headed to the forest. By the time the moon rose, the crystal cave deep within the forest was filled with faeries, and other creatures.
Tonight would mark the true beginning of that battle. The troops were rallying, and once they had a battle plan, it would be implemented. Losing the battle was not an option because to lose it, would be to lose everything. The loggers would come in, and soon afterwards, this place would be destroyed. She had watched people doing a variety of things to try and save the forest, including chaining themselves to the trees. If it would work, she would gladly chain herself to a tree. But she knew that in the end, that was nothing more that a futile gesture. Nothing so far that anyone had tried to do had worked. Things, she hoped, were about to change though.
Mother Nature, herself One who could be utterly ruthless at times, was fed up with the way humans were treating the earth, and so many of the living things upon it. Her Magick was about to be fully unleashed as it had not been in many ages. Those who had long used that power for healing and good things, were now to be given free rein, and full powers. High Priestesses, like Malva were rallying the troops, and other powerful leaders were being called upon to lay battle plans, and lead the troops into those battles if necessary. Though the gloves would come off if necessary, those plans which managed to achieve their goals with the least amount of bloodshed and violence, would be the the ones most implemented.
Malva, had hopes of implementing a plan that would entail no bloodshed or violence. She did foresee some Gremlin like activity by faeries and other creatures. But no outright bloodshed or violence. But to do what she had in mind would take enormous power and skills. As the faeries and other creatures began to gather in the cave Malva carefully placed the items from her bag on the clear crystal center stone. There were feathers, strands of hair, bits of bones, some leaves, and even a little sack of dirt among those items. When everyone had gathered, and those who wished to sit, where comfortably seated, she cleared her throat, and began to speak.
“We are here tonight because we are being given the chance to do all we are capable of to save our forest here. We could retaliate fiercely, and lethally against the loggers if we so choose. However, there are many dangers to us all in doing that.” She paused for a moment, gratefully sipped the cool clear water a faerie had left on the stone, then continued. “But, if we could stop the loggers without resorting to such violent and lethal tactics, in a way that did not expose our full powers, that would be even better.”
Most of the faeries nodded their heads in agreement. A few more radical ones had no problem with the lethal means. A few of the elves nodded in agreement. And the rest of the elves advocated for the more violent and lethal means. Fortunately, Malva had a plan that would help make a little more peaceful solution, more palatable. Not exactly a spoonful of sugar, but it would make it go down better. She took another sip of water, then continued again. “We need to mount some sort of a two pronged attack. At first, we are going to have to rely simply on finding a way to shut down the logging equipment. Now that we’ve been given the ability to use our full powers, we can keep the machinery, or at least most of it shut down. But, in the end, that would finally produce an open confrontation that could cause us much harm. However, if it only stalled things long enough for a more permanent solution, that would be a different story.”
She let the crowd mull over her words as she took another sip of water. Then she spoke again. “Several more permanent solutions have been considered. What is thought best, is that we use something that has already worked elsewhere.” As puzzlement began to cloud the faces of her listeners, she smiled, then continued again. “We need an endangered species of some kind, or one that was thought extinct..”
One of the faeries spoke up and said, “But we have searched for that already! Turned the forest upside down looking a creature that would fit that bill.”
That’s when Malva smiled even more widely and replied, “Yes, but that was when we were confined to finding one already here. But now, we don’t necessarily have to have find one already living and established here now.”
More confusion ran riot in the room until suddenly a faerie snapped her fingers, then looked in awed amazement at her. “You mean, we can make one?”
Malva smiled and said, “Or borrow one if we can.”
This news sent the room into a tailspin, and for a few moments pandemonium reigned. Her calm voice once more brought things under control. “There are no living creatures in this forest who fit the bill for what we want. We have some rare things, wonderful things, but none that would halt the logging in it’s tracks. We might however find something in a neighboring region if we have time to look. We might also, if we can’t find what we need, make what we need. With powers and abilities fully granted, we can perform Magick such as not been seen for many many ages. But, I suggest doing that Magick as quietly as possible, rather than opening flaunting it. For right now anyway.”
One of the elves grumbled something about, “Caution be damned. Let’s just Magickally nuke them and be done with it.”
Malva grew serious and replied, “Because although we might win open warfare with them, casualties on both sides would be huge. And there are so few of some of us already.”
Many nodded in sad agreement on that point. The war might be won. But victory would come at a terrible price. Malva continued again, “Until we can borrow, or “produce” one of our own endangered, or thought to be extinct species, we will rely on halting the logging by shutting the machinery down, and making it as unpleasant as possible for the loggers here.” She looked at a few of the elves, and said, “Without killing, or seriously harming them.”
By the time evening tea was served, the crystal cave was abuzz with plans to sabotage machinery, and create potions and spells that would deter, but cause no serious long term harm. Some faeries were figuring out how to spread their wings, broaden their horizons, and search other regions for a living creature they could borrow that was so rare it would halt all thoughts of logging in their forest in its tracks. Others were discussing darker powers that might be needed if they had to produce their salvation from scratch so to speak. At teatime’s end, battalions had formed. Each with a dedicated cause and plan.
Over the next few weeks the loggers found that hardly any of their machinery ran like it should. Chain saws would not start at all, or if they did, promptly threw the chain off. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment either wouldn’t start at all, or if they did, suddenly started spewing oil, or transmissions fluid, or gas, or all three. The loggers themselves suffered bouts of vomiting, and paranoia after entering the forest. No medical reason could be found for the illness sweeping through the workers. But it didn’t take long for fear to also start sweeping through the workers. Especially when the mechanics also began getting nasty shocks, and having accidents while trying to work on the machinery.
Gaia and others watched with delight as plans to strip the forest of its trees, then turn it into country manors for the rich came to a halt. And in other forests and places where progress was demanding the destruction of nature, the same thing began to happen to machinery and men. In some places the illness and accidents were fatal to those attempting that destruction. Gaia was saddened on one hand to see this happening. On the other hand, she understood the anger behind the deaths. For centuries mankind had destroyed those places, and with it, destroyed what was home to many creatures.
As progress was brought to a halt in many places, people scrabbled to find out what was causing it to. But there was nothing to find, for Magick such as what was being used, left no trace. Well unless you saw a faerie, elf, or other such creature. But those kind of creatures were being ultra careful not to be seen. And if they were spotted and knew it, promptly addled the wits of the spotter to the point he or she couldn’t remember what the heck they actually saw.
In her search for some kind of endangered, or thought to be extinct animal or plant, Malva had been appalled at the actual number of plants and animals there now were, whose endangerment, or extinction was the direct result of man’s harsh hand upon an eco system. There was no nearby living plant or animal that fit the bill though, so it was decided to produce one of their own. Two if possible. One plant species, and one animal species that was now extinct in their forest. If their plan worked, those species would save their home. In return, that species would be given a chance to re-establish itself in the home it had once flourished in. Gaia looked so favorably upon this plan, she helped all she could to see to it that it came to fruition.
A fresh carcass of a thought to be extinct species of bat was discovered. The spell to resurrect a live bat had only worked for 24 hours. But, even that was enough for legal papers to began to fly. All work was temporarily halted as the courtroom battles began. The work to resurrect the species also continued in a secluded dark cave. More such courtroom battles began when a thought to be extinct fern leaf was found floating by on a busy breeze one day by those searching for signs of the bats. Then a week later, another bat body was found. Resurrecting even something as small as bat was not an easy task. But the courtroom battles heated up even more with the discovery of that second bat body. Their brief life, along with the fern leaf, had insured that no logging would be going on anytime soon in their forest. And hopefully, never.
Others saw the success of what Malva and her battalion had achieved, and began to follow their example. The fresh carcasses of more thought to be extinct animals began showing up in different places. As well as leaves and flowers from plants thought to be extinct. The scientific community was in an uproar, and courtrooms were ringing with the sound of battle. Suddenly the balance was shifting. Greed, and progress at the expense of nature were losing ground. Politicians were being heavily pressured by their constituents to enact new environment laws that would protect the places the new species of animals and plants were being found.
Not all were following the more peaceful route though. News of some workers, scientists and others dying in places where natural habitat was being destroyed by man’s harsh hand, begin to give people reading that news pause. They realized instinctively during that pause that if things did not change, whatever was going on in those areas would get much worse. Then they read the news that some people living in the surrounding areas of those places were falling ill, and demanding the land where the illnesses, and now deaths first began be left alone. The masses knew then that instinctive feeling had been right. This began to cause a change in the way people viewed what they had once considered their world. Caused them understand that it wasn’t just their world. It was nature’s world as well, and the time had come when humanity as a whole needed to understand that once more. This further shifted the balance of power.
That shift in power, along with the satisfaction of seeing the destruction of many of her most beautiful places temporarily halted, appeased Mother Nature. Which was a good thing because She had been considering tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters concentrated in large cities and heavily populated areas as a means of retaliation. If humans would just learn from what was happening, stop the destruction, and once more live in some kind harmony with the earth, disasters that would be the death of so many humans could be averted. The troops had done their jobs, stopped a lot of the destruction, and caused a shift in balance that would allow those humans who truly wanted to save the earth, and themselves along with it, a fighting chance, without yet having to resort to all out warfare between Nature and Mankind. That was a war that no matter which side won, would cause great losses to all.