Defending Giant

DeviantArt is loaded with fantastic artwork. Every so often while I’m thumbing through them, I discover pieces that plant a seed in my mind. Sometimes those saplings never take root, and the thoughts quickly fade from my memory, while other times, they take root and bloom. When I stumbled onto Ent by Ooki, I had a moment of clarity and jotted something down when I shared the image on Facebook.. After a little thought, I slotted this picture into a world that I’ve explored, and I even pictured who he’d be protecting his domain from. Please pull up a chair and get comfortable as we follow this stalwart tree as he defends his brethren.

Treant patrolling his domain, to ensure its safety…

Plodding Hardwood

As the sun crested the horizon, two black orbs snapped opened and focused on the warming rays. The eyelids fluttered as twin branches flexed and swayed to position its leaves to collect as much light as possible. When it could not absorb enough daylight, its trunk split, and one half stepped out of the ground. Freed from the soil, the being strode into the patch of sunlight breaking through the forest and spread its limbs wide.

The sun revitalized the creature, as a flock of birds circled about the walking tree. The treant lifted its boughs, and the songbirds weaved among its extremities. With a smile the treant smiled, spreading the twigs at the end of its branches. A bird landed upon the massive creature’s shoulder and started tweeting. The being gently caressed the tiny animal. “How are you doing, little one?”

The creature’s wings flapped wildly as it jumped and drifted in front of the treant’s face. As it hung there, a cascade of notes erupted from its beak.

“Calm down, my friend.” The steady song stopped, and the treant positioned a branch under the bird, letting it settle upon the limb. “This time, speak slowly and explain the problem from the beginning. Leave nothing out.”

As the songbird detailed its message, the flock descended beside it. When it finished, the treant’s face narrowed as a snarl formed. The living tree stomped out of the sunlight, and the birds jumped and settled about the giant’s shoulders. “How many of these creatures are attacking your homes, and my brethren?”

Every songbird began singing.

“I can’t understand this noise!”

The first bird squawked, and the rest of the flock stopped. When the forest’s silence descended about everyone, it sang a short song.

“You’re telling me a dozen invaders are harvesting my lifeless siblings?”

The songbird’s shrill tweet confirmed the number.

“Leave! Seek protection among the trees while I handle this problem.” The birds chirped and leapt into the sky, streaking away while the treant rushed for the nearby mountain range. As the clearing came into focus, the treant stopped and leaned against an inanimate sibling. Closing its eyes, the giant tapped the tree and snarled at his siblings’ slaughter. “I will protect you.” It glanced to his left and his right and clenched its twigs into clubs. “I’ll defend you all!”

The treant strode closer to the edge of the forest and spotted the party of squat warriors. Each of those diminutive creatures hacked at the treant’s inert family with giant battleaxes. The guardian growled, slamming its blunted branches upon the ground, shaking everything in the vicinity. The treant continued striking the earth until each of the invaders fell. It rose and howled in rage. “Stop assaulting my brethren!”

The warriors turned, gaping at the living tree, and climbed to their feet. The largest of the brutes whirled his ax. He shoved it towards the guardian. “To arms!”

The other assailants retrieved their weapons and rushed the treant, each screaming their own battle cry.

The treant froze and waited for the invaders. When the first invader reached the treant, its club connected with the attacker’s skull. As the body collapsed, the treant grabbed the necks of two more. As its branches tightened, the treant lifted a squat figure to its snarling lips. “Stop attacking my defenseless brethren.”

The largest warrior’s ax blade embedded itself into the treant’s leg. “Drop Berend and Avamir!” The invader yanked his weapon from the creature. “Or I swear I’ll turn you into firewood!”

The treant raised the squirming individual in his right hand and wielded him as if he were a club, striking the assailant at its feet.

As the leader flew into a tree, the other warriors cried out, “Dain, are you okay?”

The treant turned, facing the remaining invaders. Without hesitation, the treant threw the attackers clutched in its hands, and they functioned like cannonballs, knocking the rest of the invaders off their feet. “Leave my forest!”

Dain pushed himself up and lifted his battleax. He glanced at his comrades and growled as he shoved his weapon into the air. “Your body will stock my hearth for the foreseeable future!”

The treant backed away as his hand touched a nearby tree. “Brother, please give me your strength.” With a loud crack, a limb fell to the ground, and the treant lifted the fallen branch, snarling as Dain charged. The treant swung, striking Dain’s chest, throwing the assailant into a neighboring trunk. The treant whirled the improvised weapon down upon another goon, who joined the fray, driving the newcomer into the earth.

Dain ducked under the next strike and drove his ax into the treant’s other leg.

The branch tumbled out of the treant’s grip. Disarmed the treant’s limb darted out, gripping Dain’s skull and squeezed. “Get out of my forest!”

Dain thrashed against the tree’s grasp, unleashing muffled screams.

More of the assailants rose and reclaimed their weapons, inching closer to the treant.

The treant squeezed its twigs and branches, eliciting a scream from Dain. “Stay right there, or your leader will never return home.”

The encroaching invaders stopped as Dain’s squeals intensified.

“Go away and stop attacking my brethren!” The treant tossed Dain like another cannonball at the remaining assailants. But this time, they avoided the living projectile. The treant rose and brandished the branch. “Leave my forest or suffer our wrath!”

Dain coughed as a pair of hands pulled him off the forest’s floor. The leader ground his teeth and scowled. “You’ve won this battle, but we’ll return.”

“I’ll never surrender my brethren!” When the assailants vanished, the treant lurched over to the tree, which lent him the branch. The treant pressed it against the trunk and waved its limb over the break, enticing the bark to secure the branch. When the bark finished knitting itself together, the treant staggered over to a different one. The protector stepped into the sibling and merged with it. “I will protect you all.”