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The Adventures of Larson and Garrett - The Sleeping Tree By AaronDennis Characters: 5108

Updated: 2017-12-28 12:04


The trunk was very dark gray. No leaves grew on the branches. The old man's face appeared again as though it cleared through mist. It was mouthing something, but Larson wasn't able to make out the words.

"Who are you?"

"Rog less fur."

"What?"

"Rodles four."

"I can't understand, " Larson complained.

"I am Rollesforth, " the tree croaked.

The evil tree lurched out and scooped Larson off the ground. He was suddenly over a dozen feet in the air, gazing into the black hole of the tree's gaping mouth. Just as the anguish of falling assaulted the boy's guts, he noticed Rollesforth was on a barren hilltop in a clearing of the forest. He awoke with a jump.

No one seemed to have noticed. He rubbed his eyes and looked around. Mrs. Graham was still reading. She was saying that Leon journeyed into the evil wizard's cave armed with his magical sword, Hodgeburn, a sword given to him by Mael, God of Valor. At that point, one of the children interrupted and asked if there were any stories about Gerancho, God of Nature, which was the commonly, if lackadaisically, worshipped God in Flotsam.

"There is a story regarding Gerancho, but you'll have to ask Mr. Bright about that. He says his bow is blessed by Gerancho and never misses its mark, " Mrs. Graham answered.

Larson had met Mr. Bright once. He had come over to talk to his dad about something. Mr. Bright had also joined the hunting party, and a magick bow was indeed intriguing, but Larson wondered what good it was if no one knew what to shoot. Then, he realized he had dreamt of the tree again.

"Michael, " Larson whispered.

"Yeah?"

"Have you dreamt about a tree lately?"

"A tree, " Michael asked while wiping his nose on his sleeve.

"Use a cloth, Michael, " Mrs. Graham interrupted.

The lad smiled sheepishly and turned beet red. All the kids were staring at him.

"I ain't got a cloth, " he mumbled.

Mrs. Graham returned to Leon's Triumph and kept on reading.

"Yeah, an old tree that looks like a mean, old man, " Larson maintained.

Michael shook his head, and asked one of the little girls. Her eyes grew wide, but she shook her head and pretended to go to sleep. Larson arched a brow, looked at Michael, and they started whispering to the other kids about an old tree. Minutes later, the children were in an uproar.

"Settle down, boys and girls, " Mrs. Graham chastised. "What's the meaning of all this ruckus?"

Larson took the initiative and told her about his dream. Some of the other boys and girls agreed and provided their

rendition. Mr. Thatcher overheard and snatched Larson by the collar of his tunic.

"Ow, " he squealed.

"What's this about a tree?" he demanded.

"It's a mean, old man that looks like a tree. He says his name is Rollesforth, " Larson barked. Mr. Thatcher turned white as a ghost. "You know about it?"

The old man didn't answer. He looked at Mrs. Graham. The room had grown silent.

"That sounds like a reaper, " Thatcher finally said.

"Don't reapers harvest the dead?" an old woman crowed.

"That's, yes, but it ain't that kind o' reaper, " Thatcher argued. "This one's a tree that casts magick."

"What's it doin' with kids then, " someone asked.

"I don't know, an' I ain't said that's what we got on our hands, " Thatcher fired back. "The children been dreamin' about it, though, an' that's got to mean somethin'."

Hushed whispers were followed by Mrs. Graham stating that there was no need for alarm or to frighten the children. Someone else then corrected Thatcher and said that it was not a reaper, but a treant. Then, they argued over names, before someone else shouted that there weren't any monsters in the Third Age.

"Who made you an expert?" Thatcher howled.

"It's got ta' be orcs or ogres, " an old woman declared.

"Or trolls, " another professed.

A heated discussion took place for the better part of five minutes. Mrs. Graham ordered them all outside if they were going to behave like the children they were supposed to be supervising. Eventually, they quieted down, and Mrs. Graham was able to finish Leon's Triumph. It ended with Leon striking the evil wizard down and being rewarded with marriage to the king's beautiful daughter.

About another hour went by. Mrs. Graham instructed all the kids to relax and put their heads down. Most of them drifted off to sleep. It was almost morning by then. The candles had all nearly snuffed out. The morning light broke through the windows. Larson woke again to the sound of the hunting party's return.

A few of the bigger men were standing in the door. They requested everyone move to the communal dining hall. It was mostly a mead hall for the adults, but during celebrations, weddings, and other ceremonies, everyone gathered for good food, music, and dancing. Larson got up and shoved past everyone. He found Largo outside, chatting with a young woman. She was a thin blonde with a bow slung over her shoulder. Instead of the usual drab dresses customarily worn by young women, she bore a tight, leather vest and leather leggings with riding boots.

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