The Book of Fawla

Book 1

Chapter 6

Kate's back ached. She stood up and stretched. She looked around at their progress. Roughly three quarters of the perimeter of the village had been planted. There were trees were they could put them, but most of the circumference consisted of bushes and even a few flowers. 

"Okay, enough of a break," she thought. The sun reached to the trees in the west. They didn't have much time. The goblins could arrive any day now. She knelt back down and picked up her trowel. She stabbed at the hard clay and scratched a small hole in it. Without her power, none of the plants they were moving today would survive; their roots would never penetrate this soil. 

Once she had her hole, the plucked a lily from the pile and planted it. Only a thousand more to go. 

The sun set and torches were brought out. Kate worried about flame so close to her plants. The villagers laughed at her concerns. How else would they have enough light to finish the job? Kate left them to finish planting the wall. She picked a point as far from the gap as she could find and concentrated. 

She started with the tree. Despite the dark, the lower branches grew and expanded towards the smaller planets around it. She turned her focus on those, and they grew up and out. Soon, the branches touched those of its neighbors and intertwined. One of Kate's lilies shot up from the ground. 

She laughed. A ten foot tall lily looked ridiculous.  She guessed it was no more ridiculous than believing that she was also a thousands year old elven princess who could talk to plants. 

She worked her way to the east, urging the plants to grow as the continued. She continued until she neared the gap. It was much smaller than when she had started her current task, but quite a bit remained. 

After stopping to eat some of the food Kreelan had given her earlier, she made her way back to her starting point and worked her way in the opposite direction. By the time she reached the gap, it was only a few feet wide. The elves had been taking shifts but most of the original volunteers were long gone. Kreelan kneeled in the middle of the gap. He swung a pickaxe and created a small divot. He swung again and again. At last, his hole was large enough to plant the potted fern from the town hall. 

The wall was complete. She worked her magic and coaxed the plants to finish the wall. When the fronds reached out and connected to the now twenty foot sapling, Kate collapsed to the ground. Kreelan helped her to her feet and back to his home. 

Hours of physical and mental labor had met their reward. For the first time in its history, the village had a wall to repel invaders. Kate just hoped it would be enough. 

Kreelan let her sleep in the next morning. When she woke, the sun was already high in the sky. She could feel the happiness of the plants around her as they soaked up the sun's rays. 

Kate inspected her handiwork. The wall had a few holes and weak points and she worked to flesh those out. Kreelan came out with the noon meal but she waved him off until she finished. 

Convinced there was nothing more she could do to help, she sat down to eat. She was still chewing her first mouthful when she heard trumpets sound. Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned. The trumpets blew again. 

Kate forgot her food. She stood up and raced back to her wall. 

Of course she couldn't see anything but she stood near the now blocked path leading out of the village. The elves gathered around her. Soon, the entire village was clustered near the entrance. 

They heard faint marching. The trumpets continued to blare every few minutes. The sound got louder and louder until it stopped. This was it. The goblin army was here. 

The goblin captain shouted over the wall. Kate recognized her voice from their last encounter. This time, of course, she could understand his words. 

"You protect a woman who attacked us. Give her to us and we will spare some of you." 

"Never," shouted Kreelan and the rest of the town cheered. 

"This is your last chance," the goblin threatened. 

Kreelan opened his mouth but Kate held up her hand. "I am Kate, the woman you seek. You will not harm these people. From now on, this village is free from your tyranny." 

"You condemn everyone you claim to protect, do you think these trees will stop us?" His voice grew quieter as if he had turned away from them. "Cut down these trees and then kill everyone." 

The goblin army let out a sound like a cross between a cheer and a growl. The sound of dozens of blades being removed filled the air. The sound of dozens of swords going "thwack" against the leafy greens protecting them followed. 

Kate pushed healing energy into the wall. 

The captain hissed, "What sorcery is this? Try harder." 

The goblins continued to attack the wall. Kate just kept pushing energy into it. The wall not only withstood the attack but grew taller and greener. 

"Halt," the captain ordered. "Our blades do nothing. We need another plan." There was quiet for a moment and then Kate watched a single flaming arrow fly into the branches above her. 

"Not again," she breathed. She found the nearest branch and knocked the arrow out of the air. It fell to the earth by their feet and the nearest person kicked dirt on it to kill the flame. 

Another arrow flew. An entire volley followed it. Kate knocked a few away but more found their target. 

Why hadn't she realized that the invaders would try the same attack as they had on Regkor's house? 

"If only the plants were fireproof," she said to no one in particular.  But that was a preposterous idea. Whoever had heard of fireproof trees?  

But whoever had heard of trees that could move or grow in the blink of the eye? 

Kate raced to the wall. She ran her hands over the rough back of the nearest tree. "Don't burn," she whispered to it. "You can withstand the flame. It cannot hurt you." 

She held her breath as she watched another arrow land. A few of the arrows had lit their target but those flames seemed to be dying down. None of the newer arrows seemed to have any effect. 

"It worked," she shouted. "The wall is fireproof. They have no way to enter." A cheer erupted, even louder than the one from before. 

Kate turned back to the wall. "You are out of tricks. You cannot get in." 

There was silence from the other side. The goblin captain's voice was barely audible. "Then we will wait for you to come out." 


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