The windmill creaked and groaned in the evening breeze. We had walked right up to it without any problems. What had the wizard meant when he said it was one of the Beasts?
As if hearing my thought, Whindel stopped, smiled at me and waved a hand.
In place of the windmill was a crouching giant. The giant became aware that it had been exposed and stood up, its face turning bright red. He turned to leave.
“Ho there, my friend,” Whindel said. “Hold on for a second. Do they know we are here?”
The giant nodded.
“Do they know why we came?”
The giant looked confused? “You came for a reason?” he asked in a voice like an earthquake.
“Never you mind,” the wizard said. “You are doing such a fantastic job watching out for the Watchers. Why don’t you return to your spot? Oh, I get it. I’ll remove my spell so you can hide again. Don’t worry, nobody saw but us, your secret is safe.”
The giant looked a bit uncomfortable, but then crouched down were it was before. Whindel waved a hand and in the giant’s place was the windmill, slowly creaking in the breeze. But this time, I felt I could make out a voice in the groaning timbers, “They are expecting you. Good bye.”
We walked on. I came to the realization that the tiny wizard was now my height. In fact, he had been since we had left the ship. Or was it a conference room? For some reason, I had to talk.
“So that was one of Glumoric’s beasts? Seems harmless enough.”
“What? No! I said it was a beast, not one of Glumoric’s beasts. Do you think we’re actually headed for Blavour?”
“Uhm, yes, isn’t that what we’re doing?”
“Stop and think about it for a minute. We tricked Glumoric into taking the Stone of Forgetfulness. It made all in his Kingdom fall asleep. Once he was rid of it, do you think he’d keep it close by, just to make his minions sleep some more? He can’t destroy it, so he’d send it far away where it can’t have any effect on him.”
“OK, I get it. So, we are going to find the stone.”
“Uhm, do you know where the stone is?”
“Of course not.”
I realized that the wizard had led us into a chink in the hillside. Stone walls rose up beside us, towering over us, yet trees filled the air, hanging off of the bare cliff.
“So, where are we going?”
“To see the Watchers. Weren’t you listening when I talked to the Beast?”
“Who are the Watchers?”
“’Who are the watchers?’!! The Watchers are everywhere, hidden in plain sight. And sight, they have in spades. They see everything. Not an ant can crawl on the far corner of the moon but they’ll know. Their spies are all around us, yet the spies are nowhere as good as they are.”
“They will know where the stone is.”
“Exactly. They saw.”
“And they’ll help us.”
“Slow down, my boy. Help us? Most likely not. But we may be able to get a hint of where we need to go next. If they decide they like us. If not, well, let’s just say our task would grow by a power of a million.”
We came to a choke point in the chasm. Two large trees blocked our way.
“I think we are expected,” Whindel said, seemingly to the trees.
The trees bent slightly as if nodding, and then moved out of our way.
We found ourselves in a large chamber. I call it a chamber, but it was open to the sky a thousand feet above us. The wizard led me to a group of large trees in the middle. He nodded and there were no trees, just a group of tall people.
“So Whendel Wizard, what brings you to the Watcher’s World?” the person out front asked. I have to call the induvial ‘the person’ since gender in these folks was not apparent.
“You didn’t see?”
The person snorted in contempt. “You know that we can’t listen in to the Fair Folk when they are under sail. You did that purposefully to hide your intentions. If you come to ask for favors, as your companion implied, you’ve had a very bad start.”
“I am deeply sorry,” Whinel said. He bowed deeply. “It was not the Watchers we were trying to block. He has His eye on us. He is following our every word, our every move.”
“So he is. And you want our help. You want to know where the stone has been hidden. But why should we help?”
“You know what the world would be like if he took power. He’d destroy everything, burn the forests.”
“I don’t see any difference between that and what is happening with the Humans. The Humans are worse, in their way.”
“Perhaps. But if we win, the Fair Folk will return to the surface, bringing balance back to the system. The world will be much safer.”
“Hmmm….” The Watcher stroked its chin. “Perhaps, perhaps. Make yourselves comfortable. We must talk.”
Whindel and I bowed. I followed the wizard over to a corner where we sat on some hard rocks that were anything but comfortable.
“So now what?” I asked.
— — — —
Will our heroes find help from these mysterious watchers or be forced to deal with hardships multiplied a million times over? Do the Watchers actually see you when, uhm, well, you know…? Did the author steal from The Lord of the Rings once again by introducing talking trees? These questions, and more, will soon be answered! Stay tune for our next exciting episode – same blog channel, same blog time!!