The words of the incantation whirled through the trees on the brisk wind. Branches creaked and groaned as they came to life, turning into limbs, shrinking down to size. Skin replacing bark, and feet replacing roots, when they freed themselves from the ground. The feeling of being able to move, to walk away from a spot the they had been rooted to since being planted. The feeling of the wind in their newly formed hair. Being able to touch their new skin, soft and smooth. Being able to touch anything, if the truth be told, was a wondrous, but daunting feeling – something that would take time to get used to.
In their human form, the tall fir trees of the Sarandorn forest, led by the only female among them, came to stand before the man who chanted the spell that woke them. The female had been blessed with the looks of an angel, and the others were built to cause damage. The man, dressed in black, his head concealed by an overhanging hood, stood silent as the female and her army stopped in front of him. His job was almost done. It only remained to issue them an instruction, as they were now his to command.
The female, who the man in black named Saphira, stepped forward on the wave of his hand. She didn’t need to be told, she knew the signal was hers as she felt the pull from the flick of his wrist. She watched him warily as he stepped into her eyeline and took down his hood, revealing the thickest head of black hair. His face bore scars so deep that you could see the cheek bone in some areas. Saphira gazed on the man who’d become her master with a sense of pity and wondered why he had used the incantation to wake them. She tried to find her voice, but only a whisper came from her newly formed lips.
“Your voice will come, my child, but first I need you to listen to me.”
His tone sounded soft, but there was a certain coldness about it.
Saphira stood and absorbed the man’s words and prepared for more words to fall from his lips.
“My name is Brum Inkle. I come from a long line of druids who have, over the years, tried to rid ourselves of the ones who are trying to kill our natural way of being. I have brought you to life for one reason, and one reason only – to avenge my people and your own brethren, your saplings and all that nature has given. For too long, I have watched you and your kind suffer at the hands of humans. it is now your time. Go forth into the night and gain your revenge.”
Saphira tilted her head in confusion. She didn’t know what he was saying. No one had harmed them. They were fine, and she knew of no harm coming to her brethren. She had only been in human form for a few brief moments.
“I see from your confusion that you have no idea what has been happening to the trees on this world, so let me enlighten you. For centuries now, humans have been chopping the forest trees down for their own use. You have thus far been lucky. It was only a matter of time before you felt the woodman’s axe, and now you can gain the upper hand. The incantation has given you and your army the power to turn anything you touch into wood, then revenge is yours for the taking.”
Saphira and her army accepted Brum’s words in their minds and headed toward the nearest village, where Brum had said that most of the occupants were woodsmen and that the whole place had to be destroyed before anymore of Mother nature’s majestic firs were lost to their axes. Screams began to ring out across the small valley where the village sat, and shadows of men lined the border. Each wielded an axe, and waited.
Observing from a distance, but never turning back, Saphira continued her charge, although her head was telling her that something was wrong. Even to her new mind, the villagers seemed a little too prepared for their arrival, but the opportunity to turn back was gone, they had been seen.
Saphira and her army found themselves surrounded. She knew then ithad been a set up from the start, as Brum ran to join the axe wielders for the impending battle of wills. The woodsmen surged forward, and others approached from behind, hemming in the transformed firs, who rooted themselves to the spot and waited for what fate had in store for them.
Brum approached Saphira, a twisted, evil smile dancing across his lips.
“You didn’t really think this was about you gaining revenge, did you?” His voice was colder than the night air. “It was all about us getting you closer to the village, hence the spell to set you free from your wooden prisons. Winter is drawing near, and the villagers need wood to burn on their fires. Why should they have to endure the deathly cold temperatures to venture to the forest, when they can have the source of their warmth here?”
Saphira gasped and a single tear ran down her cheek. Helpless and trapped, as her family turned back to the firs that they once were, by the touch of one finger on their skin. They had no chance to fight, as the touch came from behind. Brum looked on Saphira and brought his hand up to touch her face, pausing for a moment before breaking the spell by the touch of his fingers. The next screams she heard were her own as she began the painful transformation back to a tree, ready for death.
LN Denison is a writer of near-future dystopian sci-fi. You can catch up with her on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.