Thursday, 10 January 2013

Stand by for action! The Tree People at war

  
Fernilee, High Peak on which Fernlee Forest is based. Photo by Ashley Davies
                                         
  As you may have twigged already, the Tree People are a fierce lot when roused, espciall.y when defending their precious forest.  But some adversaries are easier to combat than others:

 Tree People versus Special Agents 
"The bailiffs!" cried Gordon. "They're chopping down our trees!"
"Fight! Fight!" yelled Beech, flushed with aggression. It was at least twelve hours since he'd seen any action, and he was always ready for more.
From out of the trees came twenty burly men, all dressed identically in black, all armed and dangerous. The leader carried a huge electric saw as effortlessly as he would a feather duster and he stood menacingly by a tree, chortling with a mean expression on his face.
"So you want to play with the big boys, do ya!"" he goaded. "Hah! I'm going to cut you down to size!" and he positioned the blade against the tree-trunk.
Whoosh! Without warning, his feet were swept from under him and he found himself dangling ten feet in the air with a noose around his ankle. Another cheer came from the treetops, and this time it was accompanied by a torrent of green slime. Barrel-loads of compost, generously laced with sewage, came teeming down upon the shoulders of the agents.
"Free rank - FIRE!" commanded Larch and from every tree balls of flour wrapped in cling-film were catapulted everywhere. Each ball also contained a hefty heap of pepper so, as they burst on impact, the unfortunately targets would set to sneezing violently, eyes watering and unable to see. In this state, the enemy staggered round in circles and whenever they bumped into someone else, instinct took over and they'd lash out with their fists. As a result, within ten minutes, most of them lay unconscious, having been bashed up by each other. The rest of the agents kept ranging around until they were pitched into the trench, or stepped into a noose and hauled skywards by their feet.

Tree People versus Nunjas
It took some nerve to watch the nunjas advance towards them, faces contorted with menace. So confident were Prism's troops, every now and then they'd break off running to display their agility with spectacular gymnastic feats. Back flips, front flips, rolls, cartwheels and impossibly high somersaults were all accompanied by aggressive shouts and impressive Kung Fu posturing.
Facing them, the raggle-taggle tree people stood shoulder to shoulder, and if anyone's stomach was churning, it certainly didn't show. Instead, when the enemy drew within spitting distance, the first rank, who were all male, stepped forward bravely and the battle commenced. It would be nice to report that the nunjas got the worst of it, but years of discipline, professional training and total ruthlessness will always have the edge over well-meaning amateurs. Before long, despite their valiant efforts most of the tree people were lying flat on their backs, either winded by a single blow to the solar plexus or maimed by a devastating kick to the knee.
"Now!" howled Beech to the second rank as he nursed his bruised patella. The remaining tree people looked at each other. "Did he say 'Now' or 'Ow'? they wondered.
"Attack! Attack!" cried Beech and this time there was no mistaking the command. In a split second, Laurel and the rest of her rank who'd been crouching, flung a series of large fishing nets into the air. These passed swiftly over the heads of their fallen fellows, and landed on the Nunjas. Immediately, Beech and anyone else with the energy, dived on top of the women who were struggling desperately to free themselves, while other tree people grabbed the edges of the nets and held them firmly to prevent escapes.
Not all the nunjas had been trapped, however. At least a dozen of them leapt clear and continued chasing the children, brandishing their staffs. It didn't take them long to narrow the gap, much to Alice's dismay.
"They're coming!" she screamed. "We'll never get away!"





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