It began in the meadow of a farm, far off in the southern wilderness of Elvenstead. Something had stirred, awakened perhaps, that began to charge and shape the land with magical energy, empowering it so that it began to sparkle and glow. Next came the small folk, faeries and such, pixies of course and others all magical, all thriving in that glow, all striving to be their best selves, elves and witches and gnomes, all came to be here and all together they made a very fine glow.
The able witch Aggy, just up and stretching, gazed out her window with love and appreciation. Soon to the season of scary tales and cozy nights, she thought with satisfaction. She could see her sisters, the able witches Tenner and Gretta, already out in the garden puttering about. The able witch Nellie would be in the kitchen soon, maybe already, setting the hearth for breakfast. She hurried her morning ablutions, then down the steps to help. Tenner and Gretta will be along soon with a basket of fresh vegetables and herbs.
These four witches lived like nuns perhaps, each in their own devotional spaces, each reaching for the ineffable in their own way, like witches do and each joyfully thankful, in love with life and with each other. It was a miracle, something Aggy loved, that brought these four descendants of the four original witches who made the farm, together. The farm is flourishing again and magic is afoot.
Their home, Witchhaven, is in Shady Glen, about half a klick north of the Swamp of Doom and about a klick west of the meadow, the focal point of the farm, called Lillow's Farm after one of the founders. It was in the Swamp of Doom that the mad Doctor Snarkey set up his troll machine, making trolls to attack the farm, which they did, in cahoots with the evil Brad Puffup, CEO of Bradco Inc. and arch-criminal. Puffup and Snarkey were set to rule all the known world using Snarkey's troll armies and Puffup's orc armies, but they were foiled by the farm's magical forces and the magic wand Zingellawabix.
Aggy mused as she worked. Now the farm has Snarkey's troll machine which, when operated in reverse, can unmake trolls. Even trolls made in Joten by Grimn-leapers, even these can be unmade with Doctor Snarkey's machine. Spike and some of the elves who work in the meadow have figured out how to duplicate this machine and we're now able to supply various outposts in southern Elvenstead with their own machines, plus Spike and his elves are teaching others how to make them. Maybe someday they'll be in all of Elvenstead. Perhaps the troll menace might finally be coming to an end. Except there will still be Grimn-leapers.
After breakfast and cleanup Aggy went to their back yard. Like most yards in Elvenstead it was open so anyone could enter or pass through, although the street in front offered much easier passage. It was difficult to tell anyone's yard from anyone else's. Aggy sat in one of the chairs they had behind the manor and settled back with a pipe full of Tenner's excellent weed. Soon Gretta and Nellie joined her. Tenner, who was the best farmer in the coven and tended to be outdoors a lot, was out in the fields somewhere.
Soon Mistle from next door joined them along with a couple of faeries, Sparley and Jazzip. They sat in companionable silence for a while, smoking and enjoying the beautiful autumn morning.
“Aggy, they're sending us too many trolls and we can't process them fast enough,” Spike huffed, appearing out of nowhere.
“Huh? Wazzat? Too many trolls?” Aggy asked calmly.
“That's right,” Spike replied, nodding. “Too many and they're milling about, shoving and fighting each other in a pen we built but I don't think it'll hold much longer, especially with new trolls coming in all the time.”
“Dang,” Aggy said, sitting up. She looked at Spike, “So, what should we do?”
“I dunno. We're on the verge of being overrun by trolls and none of our spells can bind more than three trolls at a time.”
“Dang,” Aggy repeated. She looked at the group around her and told them, “We need Zingellawabix.”
They nodded agreement and began to zing, “Ziiinnnnngggg, ziiinnnnngggg, ziiinnnnngggg,” they zang, all zinging, they closed their eyes and zang, zang zing. Or something like that. Then they waited. Soon a flying saucer appeared, then it circled around and landed in the open area beyond the chairs and benches. The hatch opened and Captain Rivitir stuck her head out.
“Rover, I don't think this is Mish,” she said without looking around.
From inside the saucer Rover replied, “That's impossible, Ma'am. Just look at this map. It's clearly Mish and . . .”
Captain Rivitir saw us as we'd gotten up and were approaching. “No it's not,” she interrupted Rover, “this is Lillow's Farm and here is Aggy and Gretta and a bunch of others. Gosh, how are you guys?” Just then Nellie arrived carrying a basket of herbs. “Oh, and here's Nelly! It's great to see you! All of you!”
Rover stuck his head out, “Spike?” he asked, then he dashed out, his tail wagging so fast it wagged his entire behind.
Spike, his tail also wagging fast, yipped, “Hey buddy! How ya doing?” Then they leaped and dashed around each other the way dogs do, sniffing here and there, both wearing big smiles, laughing and barking.
Captain Rosy Rivitir of the AV Rivitir, which currently looked like a flying saucer, had a crew of three. Rover was already out and he was followed by the heroes Brak and Jant, who were the rest of the crew. They were now greeting old friends and being introduced to the others. Soon everyone settled in with tea in Witchhaven's beautiful backyard. In the distance were the fields all ready for winter.
Rosy was sitting by Rover and Spike listening to their seemingly endless reminiscences of the old days. She especially liked hearing the stories about Lillow and her adventures. During a loll she asked Rover, “I do love being here on this magical farm,” Rover nodded agreement, clearly happy to be here. “but I can't help but wonder what brought us here?”
He looked thoughtful. “Well, I thought we were going to Mish, so I dunno. I haven't seen or heard of anything that needs our help, so I dunno.”
Aggy, sitting nearby, overheard and spoke up, “Oh, yeah, I shoulda told you right off. We called you.”
“I didn't get the call,” Jant, the Rivitir's communications specialist, said.
“No, no, we didn't call that way,” Aggy said. “We called by zinging for Zingellawabix.”
“Oh? Well, how about that,” Rosy said with a smile, shaking her head. “So, you need Zingellawabix?”
“Yeah. We got a troll problem,” Spike answered.
“Howzat?” Rosy asked. “I mean, I thought we'd settled the troll problem here last summer.”
“Yeah, we did,” Aggy replied. “But now we got this troll machine that'll unmake trolls and, well, word got out. People are bringing trolls here to unmake and we're getting overwhelmed.”
“Yeah,” Rosy told her with a laugh, “Zingellawabix can handle that. He can handle any amount of trolls near as I can tell.”
And so, for the next week, Rosy and Zingellawabix bound and unbound trolls for processing while Spike and Rover, along with Brak and Jant and several village elves built new troll machines. Brak even devised a way to prevent the machines from being used to make trolls so that they can only unmake them, which set Aggy's mind at ease.
“That was my worry,” she affirmed, smiling her approval. The four witches kept the operation working smoothly and soon they were caught up in it again.
“With these new machines,” Spike told them, referring to the troll machines he and Rover and their crew had built, “we'll never have overflow again, no matter how many they bring.”
“Gee,” Rosy commented, “Sure was a lot of trolls. Is there always this many in Elvenstead?”
“I don't think so,” Aggy said, looking questioningly at the others.
“No,” Spike told them, “there's definitely more trolls now.”
“Yeah, that's what I thought,” Rosy said, nodding thoughtfully.
“I've sent a few technicians out to install the one-way device on the earlier machines they gave out,” Brak told her, “so none of them can be used to make trolls anymore.”
“Good thinking, Brak,” Rosy said with a smile. “So you know where they're all at?”
“Yep, Nelly kept a good record.”
“So I guess we just wait and see what happens,” Rosy told her crew.
They took the Rivitir over to the meadow at the farm's center and settled in. The next morning three dragons landed by them just as Rosy and Rover were coming out. The dragons introduced themselves as Brak and Jant joined them. They were all thrilled to meet dragons as none of them had ever seen a dragon close up before much less spoken with one, or three. Rosy was amazed at their beauty, their iridescent coloring and the way they flashed in the light.
“I'm Tranador,” said one.
“I'm Fillop,” said another.
“I'm Maxidendal,” said the third.
It was exciting to meet dragons! Rosy and her crew had seen them before, at a distance of course, but they were rare in Elvenstead. Strangely enough one of the reasons they had for going to Mish, the dragon homeland, was to see the dragons, and here they were seeing them in Elvenstead! I wonder if we'll see faeries now? Rosy thought with a laugh. That was something else they'd seen little of. Soon the witches and several elves joined them.
They were all having a pleasant visit when suddenly Gretta yelled, “Here they come!”
Everyone turned to look at what appeared to be a giant glittering cloud heading their way. Rosy stared, transfixed. When it was closer, she could see that it was a swarm of some sort and that it was coming right at them. Frightened, she looked around at the others and, except for her crew who seemed as frightened as she was, they were all watching calmly, smiling with bright eyes. She looked back at the swarm and now realized they were faeries! Thousands, maybe millions of faeries and they were going straight to the dragons, who were smiling with delight. Soon the three dragons were covered with faeries and the entire area began pulsing with glittering faerie dust as they flitted and danced about making brilliant rainbow bubbles that popped with bursts of fresh faerie dust.
Seeing Rosy's look of amazement Aggy said, “The faeries love the dragons. I don't know why, they just do and the dragons, for the most part, love the faeries.”
Some forest elves, who had been playing music quietly, almost imperceptibly, around them began to appear and the music slowly got louder, then people started dancing until soon there was a maelstrom of dancing bodies, flashing lights, lively music and colors beyond belief.
The next morning, after partying all the rest of that day and well into the night, Rosy and her crew bid their hosts a loving adieu and boarded their flying saucer. They were looking forward to a long rest.
“Anywhere you want to go is fine, Rover,” Rosy told Rover and soon they were on their way.
Back on the farm Aggy and the witches continued the unmaking of trolls, and after a time their numbers finally began decreasing. Maybe the Grimn-leapers will quit sending them, Aggy thought as she helped process the latest batch of trolls. There was a lot of work to do to help the poor confused ex-trolls coming out of the machines. Through it all she and the others kept the farm, harvesting crops and collecting faerie dust and jeewizium to maintain the farm's magic. As always, the immortal Spike watched serenely over the meadow.