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Juniper ran through the forest. She had gone to Council and they had laughed at her. She needed to find help and quickly. Since none of the other dryads would help her, she would go to someone who would help.
Finally she reached the cave she was looking for. She stood at the mouth and called out to her last hope. "Gor! Gor! Oh Gor, come quickly. I need your help."
A few minutes passed before a mound of earth started to rise from the ground. When it reached a height of two feet, it started to take the form of a person. Within moments, Gor the gnome stood in front of Juniper. "What is it lass? What’re ye yellin’ about now?"
"Oh Gor, you must come quickly. There are humans in our forest. They want to tear it down! We must stop them."
Gor shook his head. "Have ye lost your mind, lass? Humans in our forest. Bah! No humans have ever set foot in this forest before. Never."
Gor was right. No humans have ever set foot in the forest before. A magical enchantment had been placed on the forest over a hundred years ago. This enchantment kept humans away and kept the creatures of the forest safe from human destruction. However, Juniper was right also. Like all other things, magic is not permanent; it must come to an end. The enchantment had worn off, allowing expansionist humans to come into the forest to tear it down so that they could build a new shopping complex.
Gor started to sink back into the earth, when Juniper grabbed his arm. Green tears leaked from his eyes. Like humans, dryads cry but they cry tears of chlorophyll instead of tears of water. Gor couldn’t help but feel sympathy towards the strange dryad that he had unwittingly befriended. All the other dryads treated her like an outcast because she was different from them. She saw the world in a unique way and dreamed of venturing out of the forest and exploring the world. But with her being a dryad, she could not leave the forest because her tree would die without her and she would die without it.
"Okay lass. Show Gor what it is ye are blabberin’ about."
Juniper grabbed his hand and dragged him to the edge of the forest where she had first seen the bulldozers and crane machines. Gor gasped at the sight of the big machines and about 50 humans. When the first tree went down, both Gor and Juniper felt it in their guts. They also heard the scream of the poor dryad that had been cut down in her prime.
At the sound of the dryad’s dying scream, the other dryads of the forest came looking to see what had happened. The dryads called a Council to see what could be done. This Council was unusual because it was attended by all creatures of the forest, not just the dryads.
"Unfortunately, we must admit to Juniper that we were wrong," Sequoia, the Council Head said. "Juniper, we are sorry."
"No offense Sequoia, but we kinda have an important situation here. You can apologize later, but right now we need to do something about the humans." Juniper said.
The Council Head nodded. "Creatures of the forest, we must fight these humans. We cannot allow them to kill any more of us."
With that, all of the forest creatures came together for the first time in a century and made a plan to get the humans to leave the forest and never return.
Juniper stood in her spot, slingshot at the ready. Tovin, the head of the elf clan that resides in the forest stood at the front of Juniper’s group. When Tovin gave the signal, Juniper and the others in her group would sling rocks at the humans. Once that started, the gnomes would travel underground and cause the earth to tremble violently. If that did not make the humans leave, then the other dryads and elves would into the clearing that the humans were in and attack, accompanied by the forest animals that they had convinced to help them.
While they had been making their attack plan, the humans had cut down half a dozen more trees, killing the dryads that lived within them, and dislocating four bird families that had been nested in those trees.
Juniper’s hand tightened on her slingshot. Anger flashed through her and the humans drove their bulldozer towards another tree. She watched as Tovin raised his hand and gave the signal. Rocks started flying past her, as the elves and dryads that she was standing with released their slingshots. Juniper released her slingshot and watched as her rock hit one of the humans in the head. He looked around dumbly, trying to figure out where the rock had come from. She put another rock in the slingshot and released that one also.
Some of the humans were looking around, trying to figure out where the onslaught of rocks was coming from. A few left, but it became obvious that the rest would not leave. Tovin gave the next signal and the gnomes melted into the ground to do their part in the attack. Juniper saw Gor as he followed his brethren into the ground. She continued her rock attack as she watched the ground beneath the humans began to shake violently as the gnomes shook the ground. It shook so badly that even the dryads and elves had a difficult time standing on their feet.
More of the humans started to leave, but there was still some left. Tovin raised his hand and gave the final signal. Juniper watched as dryads and elves ran towards the humans, brandishing different weapons. When the humans saw them, they screamed and ran. Juniper cheered as she watched her sisters and the elves chase the humans completely out of the forest.
That night, all of the creatures of the forest celebrated the victory over the humans and mourned the loss of the dryads. Tovin, Sequoia, and Aster, the gnome leader, combined their powers to reestablish the magical enchantment that had once protected their forest.
During the festivities, Sequoia, Aster, and Tovin called the attention of all of the creatures. "Thank you everyone for fighting so bravely today." Sequoia said. "But we must give a special thank you to Juniper, who realized the danger that was facing us and was brave enough to fight against the humans. Juniper, come here."
Juniper walked towards the three of them to the cheering of all the others. "Yes, Council Head?"
"Juniper, I know that you dream of traveling the world and that it saddens you to be stuck here. I have spoken to Tovin and Aster and they have reminded me of an ancient spell that would enable you to leave the forest and still survive. Aster knows the spell and is willing to perform it for you. Do you want her to perform it for you?"
Juniper squealed with glee. "Yes! Yes of course. Oh yes, please."
Sequoia nodded at Aster, who began to chant in a language so ancient that not even the oldest of them could remember what all of the words meant. Juniper felt the winds flow through her soul, the earth meld into her essence, the fire within her burn, and the water in the air wash against her. As the chant grew louder, she felt power flow through her. When the chant stopped, an intense pain shot through her and she collapsed to her knees.
When she rose to her feet, she felt different. More powerful. She looked at everything around her. It all seemed so much clearer. "So I can actually leave the forest?" She asked Aster, who nodded. "Oh, how wonderful. I will leave immediately, I think. Oh, but I will need a traveling partner. Gor! Oh Gor, will you come with me? You will be able to see so much of the world. Will you come?"
The gnome looked at her. "Aye lass. Gor will come with ye."
Juniper let out a cheer and skipped out of the forest, with Gor the gnome following her.