If you would like to read this story from the beginning, click here.
Nomsa groaned. It has been several hours since the staff had been taken away by the children. South Meadow was bathed in the midday heat and every fairy, gnome or other creature living on the open land quivered. She turned her attention to the group of goblins rubbing their hands and chattering like monkeys before her.
“What will we do?” some cried.
Tiny teacup toadstools were a hive of activity. The elders had gathered on their blood red surfaces, seated on the white dots decorating the little domes. Fellig, the old grey fairy reached forward with open arms, comforting those close to him.
“Patience, my dear ones,” he cried. “Let me tell you a story.”
At once, those surrounding the mushrooms and others whispering behind the blackberry bushes stilled, awaiting the wise one’s words. They had listened to his stories since they were wee babes and this one, they knew, would be the best.
“Long ago, before the separation of the Great War that created the underworld and the sun dwellers, there was an ogre who held the Amoulean staff. The staff wielded immense power – the extent of which we weren’t to know until it was too late.”
Bright eyes watched as his hands wove images out of dandelion feathers.
“The ogre known as Orgrath the Brute reigned over both kingdoms with an iron hand, sensible and fair. The trouble began when his brother, Norllor, fell in love. His became mesmerised at the sight of a light fairy dancing above a Surlagh stream found further in the forests surrounding South Meadow. Theamona, queen of the forest and leader of the light fairies fell in love with him too. Norllor invited the queen to his underground castle where the trolls and ogres lived in harmony. Now imagine the beauty of the fairy queen’s light, lifting the darkness and gloom of the underworld.”
Those around Fellig sighed in delight as bright sparkles flew from his thin fingers. “All the darkness was cast out of the caves and tunnels, turning the underworld into beautiful shadows and shapes from the tree roots to the carefully carved out rocks. But alas! Orgrath was angry that Norllor had the audacity to change their world. It didn’t help that his heart was stolen by the beautiful queen too and the thought of his brother possessing her turned his heart to stone. He committed the greatest sin possible in our world…”
A field mouse wearing his soldier’s uniform of folded green leaves and tree bark put up his paw. “What did he do, wise one?”
Fellig shook his head, sending his long, grey beard into a frenzy. “My dear friend, he allowed his anger, jealousy and hatred to rule. He killed his brother using the Amoulean staff.”
The other elders nodded their heads in shame as those below them gasped. Fairies floated in the cool shadows beyond the red toadstools, taking in the story and the truth behind the staff’s power.
“But I don’t understand. What does that have to do with the staff’s power?” asked the same little field mouse.
Nomsa, the meadow fairy, fluttered forward, settling delicately on a tip of heather. “The staff’s power was to influence those around it to do good. Once the blood of Norllor was spilled onto its sacred wood, the power changed. Orgrath’s hunger for the light grew to such heights that he declared war on the sun dwellers. And the staff helped him. It raised armies of trolls, turning them green with envy and hate. Moles, foxes and badgers turned slyly turned against the sun, walking in the day but following the darkness, worshipping the moon. Soon, only shadows remained where the sun used to reach into our forests and glades. The Amoulean staff sucked the goodness out of those that refused to serve it, turning brother against brother, father against son.”
“My dear ones, do not fear for I have a feeling the staff is in good hands,” interrupted Fellig. “Once the war was over and we defeated the dark ones, the staff came into our possession and was hidden in the meadow for safe keeping. With this new threat upon us, the staff has shown itself to those who will wield its power.”
A dark faced gnome muttered, “How can we be sure. You saw those children traipsing through our meadow with such dislike for each other in their hearts. What if they side with the underworld?”
Cries of confusion broke out around them. Fellig and the other fairies tried to calm them but the fear had set in. The gnomes and frogs argued with the mice and squirrels, leaving the fairies scattered in the long grass, fearing the worst. As the afternoon sun shafted over the meadow, the old fairy gathered his most trusted companions under the hazel nut tree growing at the top of the copse and said, “I know we agreed to say nothing about the staff unless it appeared again, but we never expected this! I say we talk to the children and see if they will give the staff back to us.”
Greyed heads shook and mumbles could be heard for hours. At last, the old fairies dispersed leaving behind their most trusted friend. He stood there, staring out across the valley and wondered whether they would ever find peace. It all balanced on two children, their dog and cat and of course, the Amoulean staff.
For more stories, click here to see my childrens books, available from Amazon.