When Pamela awoke she was in the Monastery with Juliette, both of whom awoke on the slab of stone in the Womb of Minvar. Pamela felt she had awoken from a dreadful nightmare, and Juliette explained as best she could that the dream was over, and that they were safe and sound.
Penelope was overwhelmed with relief to see Juliette awaken after so long a trial. Next to her she saw Pamela, but she knew not who it was. Juliette, rising from the table feebly introduced her young friend. There was a great deal of joy in the Womb of Minvar that day.
All three of the young ladies were famished after their long ordeal, and so they summoned assistance and were richly fed, and then they went off to sleep in the Monastery chambers where they were laid down upon beds of straw and woolen blankets. They all fell into a dreamless slumber.
Meanwhile, a day’s journey away, Storm Wizard was contemplating contacting Lady Isabella after all. He was fingering the card she had given him. Tapping it three times, she’d told him, would summon her to him. He was thinking it could be helpful to confer with her.
In the distance the bell of the Monastery chimed 8 times. It was getting dark. They came upon the outer wall of the Estates, where Clarence and Storm Wizard were stopped by two guards at the gate.
It seemed quite improbable that the guards would allow Storm Wizard and Clarence into the exclusive township. The Estates were for nobles, and few others were allowed there. But in particular the most exclusive place of all were the Manors, where no one was allowed at all who was not invited. Clarence attempted to persuade the guards by explaining that he was on important business from the Monastery, but the guards were unimpressed, and barred their path.
Storm Wizard tried his wit against the guards, but they took little interest in the peasant boy. He tried to persuade them that he was baring a warning of a great threat to the land, but the guards looked mockingly upon him. They rolled their eyes and were entirely unconvinced. And so Clarence resorted to inquiring about the location of the Hunting Lodge, where they might be able to stay for the night, as that was a public Inn.
“The Hunting Lodge is down the road,” said the burly guard on the left and he pointed in the direction.
And so Storm Wizard and Clarence walked off in that direction, perceiving that they would not get past the guards without an invitation. Storm Wizard contemplated flying over the wall, as he had that power, but it would not do. Such an act would be more likely to invite derision than cooperation.
And so they came to the Hunting Lodge, and standing outside in the dark, they considered their options. Storm Wizard, taking a chance, took out the card again, and tapped it three times.
“John, you’ve called!”, said a lovely twinkling voice behind Storm Wizard.
“I have,” he said.
Nearby stood Isabella and her blue haired warrior, with his black vest and thin silver sword. Storm Wizard spoke to Isabella with a detectable note of affection in his voice, though he tried to hide it by stating things as factually as he could. He explained the whole of their circumstances to the Lady Bug Princess, and she listened attentively.
“I was hoping that with help from you, we might be able to convince the wealthy among my people that they ought to help to ward off the Locust plague.”
“What if you capture the locust Ambassador and brought him here?” she suggested.
“That is an interesting idea,” he said, “but isn’t he this tall?”, asked Storm Wizard making a gesture with his fore finger and thumb indicating the tiny size of their quarry.
“Aren’t I?” she replied. She had been quite tiny the last time they met, but now she was as tall as he.
“Good point,” he said. “Do you know where he is?”
“I do. We have been keeping an eye on him.”
“A wise precaution,” said Storm Wizard.
“We hope so,” she said.
And so it was decided that Lady Isabella would transport them all back to the Monastery through the roots of the plant kingdom, which was a very fast journey beneath the soil of the land, as the roots touch one another and transmit ideas and observations throughout their kingdom in this fashion. Upon those waves of thought and idea, far too complex for an ordinary human to imagine, the small group of people flew along until in a few moments they arrived through a doorway in a tree outside of the Monastery.
“Well done!” said Storm Wizard, and Lady Isabella smiled at him, gaving a little curtsey. She found herself happy to receive the praise of this young man. It was unlike her to care what any man thought, yet this boy was quite different than other men she knew. For one thing, he did not kowtow to her, but instead was often quite brutally honest. She admired that in him.
It wasn’t long before the entire ‘Steel Wool Sheeps’ was gathered together in the main hall inside the Monastery. Juliette’s return to the land of the living was a matter of great relief and joy for one and all, not least of all Ember who sat purring on her lap as everyone conversed and caught up with each other’s adventures thus far.
Pamela McFearson remained sound asleep, and was left in the care of Abbess Penelope while the rest of the Adventure Group took off for the far away Temple of the Aphids in the Tower on Black Hill as quickly as possible. There was no time to waste, as Lady Isabella explained there were but a few scant hours remaining before the Locust Ambassador was due to arrive at the Temple of the Aphids and demand an answer from The Wise Aphid.
And so they all ventured into a hole in an old oak tree and down through the roots they sped, and across the world they flickered, from vine to root, to branch, and through the dazzling myriad of ways that the plants have for communicating. In a few moments they came to a door in the flashing darkness, and going through exited a young elm tree at the base of the Tower on Black Hill. All the while, Juliette was astonished at the passage through the plant kingdom, as it afforded her views of things she had hitherto scarcely imagined. None of the others were able to see what she saw with her sacred eye-stone, but she kept her observations to herself. With it she could see the vast network of flashing ideas by which the plants communicated. It was a green network of electric-fire that covered the world across almost every region. It seemed to her that there were many species of plants, and the kings of the plants were the trees, and the trees had many races, and each race had it’s own way of seeing things, and that some trees were great and kind, and fruitful like the apple trees, while others, like the Holly trees, were rooted in darkness, quite dismal, and gave her a deep shiver for all the malice they held in their dark hearts.
“We are here,” said Lady Isabella stepping out into the light at the base of the Tower on Black Hill.
Previous Episode: Escape from Death - Part 2
Next Episode: Escape from Death - Part 4