The air shimmered. Puck stepped from between a dimensional fold, onto a hilltop, from where he could see the scene of devastation. He reached into the jacket of his sleek Italian suit, pulling out a sleek Korean ‘phone. The 20th and 21st centuries had been good to Puck, but it had also changed him immeasurably. He’d been descending into a fugue of ennui for decades, but the rise of the Law and of lawyers in particular had given him strange ideas. His proverbial sense of humour had led him in new directions. There was a continual buzz from dabbling with the corporate world. But he still reported to one person. He hit speed-dial.
“My lord? It’s worse than we thought. The forest is ablaze for seven leagues in every direction. The wind is rising, spreading the flames to the north. I have Cobweb organising weather-workers to try and control things with rain, but the air is so dry at this time of year…hold, my lord, Peaseblossom comes to report. What news, Peas-blossom? You’re on speakerphone with the Captain of our band”
“How now, Robin Goodfellow. Our people are sore afflicted”. Peas-blossom, as ever was along for the ride: she hadn’t really got to grips with modern life, but was a natural follower. “ The fire is but the half of it, some malady afflicts the woodland sprites and they are unable to save themselves by innate gift, ‘stead fleeing afoot through tangled wood and burning copse. Those that reach the borders of the conflagration are marred by burns from flame, which ought not be possible, but also by some other ailment”.
A deep, sonorous voice, reminiscent of a belling stag, emerged from the ‘phone: “Do what you must. Spare no expense. Send for Edgar the Crimson”, and was gone, leaving a hollow silence.Peas-blossom looked at the phone in distaste. “Edgar? But he’s weird!”
But Puck was already looking up the number. “How quickly can you put a girdle around…” but before he could finish, there was a faint waft of sulfur and mine-miasma and a cloaked and hooded figure stood in front of him.
“Tell me what happened”. The voice creaked like a ship in a storm.
“As far as we can tell a star fell not thirty minutes ago, setting the forest ablaze. But none of the woodland spirits have been able to use magic to save themselves”.
“Not a star, a meteorite, a space-stone. No doubt it is thunderbolt-iron”.
“Thunderbolt-iron!” squeaked Peas-blossom.
“Then the forest and the woodland-fae are doomed”. Puck shook his head sadly.
“Not so. You air-sprites think us beneath you, just because we dig and delve and work. But our magic leaves us immune to the effects of the iron which so discomforts you. The iron I remove is mine, and I will claim the rights of that ground below the area where the stone landed. Those are my terms”. And without waiting, the kobold walked off into the flames.
© 2017 David Jesson