On that night, when the men had stopped to rest, Rose spoke to the Alpha Wolves that were accompanying them. She explained to them what she would like for them to do. The wolves had agreed, and off they’d gone. Howling all the way.
And it had not been long at all until the number of howls began to grow. And it kept on growing. The rain had kept pouring down. It had not let up since the previous night. The wind continued to howl through the trees. More wolves than ever howled in the night. There were no stars. There was no moon. It was nearly totally dark. And every time a man closed his eyes for just a little while, he woke up screaming from the nightmares that he’d had.
Musica had begun to play her flute once more. A song of someone being hunted. A frantic melody that simply would not let up. One of panic, and of fear. That the men in the camp could not help but hear. And many of the men paced to and frow. Some sharpened their axes. Some practiced with their swords. Some of them talked nervously among themselves.
Not one of them got any sleep at all.
One hour before the dawn, the wolves returned. Fifty or so of them. They silently approached the camp with all the men. And suddenly, all at one time, the wolves raced through the trees, and into the camp of the men. Howling. And growling. And snapping their teeth. They did not attack the men. Instead, they stole bows and arrows, and axes and swords. They didn’t get everything, but they did get away with nearly half of all the weapons that the men had brought with them.
As they’d raced through the camp, the men had panicked. Scattering in all directions. Some had been to terrified to run at all. They just stood there, and didn’t move. A look of complete shock on their faces. A look that said they were certain they were going to die.
The fairies were very excited. Their plan was working so well. Surely the men would give up, and leave Mystica alone. But once the sun came up, they learned that they were wrong. For the men regrouped. And they talked among themselves.
“It’s them! They’re doing this! There was the one that made the rain and wind. There was the one that could get the animals to do anything. there was the one that could put nightmares in your head. There was the one that played music that you could not escape. It’s them! The ones that we abandoned! The ones the witch saved!”
And with that, the men spread out through the trees, and brush of the forest. They were searching for the girls. If they could find those girls, they could put a stop to all this weather, all these things the animals were dong, all the nightmares they had when they tried to sleep. And they’d make sure that those girls could never bother them again. That’s what they’d do.
They’d hunt down those girls, and kill them. That would cure the problems they were having. And when they’d done that, they’d go after that witch.
The fairies were shocked. They were stunned. They stayed right where they were. Hidden in the forest, near the camp of the men. They did not know at all what they should do. So it was not long at all before the men found them. “There they are!” And the few bows and arrows that were left among the men were suddenly being drawn. And arrows were launched through the air.
Arrows that were incinerated in their flight. Bursting into pitch black flames. Other men had raised their axes, and their swords, and were racing toward the girls. The girls were terrified. Until Merlin himself stepped forward. He opened his wings, and spoke. His voice sounded like a sheet of metal being crumpled up, and torn apart. As he screamed, he swung his wings forward, toward the men.
A linear wind lashed through the forest. A wind that took down everything that was within its path. It uprooted trees, and hurled them through the air. Trees that didn’t get uprooted, but held fast in the ground, snapped into pieces, leaving shattered stumps along the ground. And those trees hurtled toward the men. The wind struck the men first. Some of them were lifted from the ground, and hurtled through the air. Being smashed by the wind into the forest, and the trees. Some of them were impaled on tree branches. Some of them bounced off the trees, their bodies being broken, and shattered.
Other men were pushed flat to the ground. where they grabbed at anything that they could. To keep from being blown away by that wind Merlin had made. And that was when the trees the wind had collected reached them. It was as if a wall of trees and brush collided with the men. More men were swept away by the wall of trees and brush. Collected up, and crushed, and tossed around. Being smashed and bashed between tree branches, and tree trunks.
It was over almost as quickly as it had begun. Not one man was left standing. Over half of them had died. And many more were likely to.
That was when Merln spoke again. This time in a voice that you could hear inside your head. “These are my children. I will protect them. They are in my care.”
And that quickly, Mystica was there.
She saw the destruction that had been wrought. And could not help but cry. It was such a waste of life. So many lives destroyed by blind hatred, and anger. She wished very much that Merlin had been left with another choice to make. A way to avoid the action he’d had to take. But she knew he’d had no real choice. He’d done what he had to. To protect the little fairies that he and Mystica loved so very much. He’d protected their family. And she knew she would have done the same thing if she’d been there. If she’d been in his place.
She called forth the white magic. Using it as quickly as she could to mend the broken bones and bodies of the men that were still alive. She did her best to keep as many of those men as she could, alive.
By the time the sun was fully up, and the storm was gone, and the wind had died, the men that were left were gathered up, in a little group. Surrounded by that pack of wolves. With Merlin standing next to Mystica. The witch had healed them. For some reason that they could not understand.
And it was then that Mystica spoke to them.
“Go back to your villages. Tell them what happened here today. Tell that not to come into my forest again. Tell them I will not let them hurt my family. Or the villages with which I am a friend. Tell them what happens to those that try.”
Then Mystica had turned, and picked Fauna up like the tiny little girl she was. She reached down and held Sunshine’s hand. Dream had climbed up on an Alpha wolf’s back. And Rose had spread her wings, and floated into the air, next to Mystica.
Mystica had turned once more to face the men. “Leave my forest. Now.”
Then she’d turned, and walked away. Leaving the men surrounded by the wolves.
The men had left the forest. Fleeing for their lives. They’d run for days. Sleeping only when they could not keep going, and collapsed from sheer exhaustion. They did as Mystica had told them to. They returned to the villages from whence they’d come. Telling everyone what had happened to them when they’d gone into the forest to hunt down and kill the White Witch.
And so it was that the legend of the White Witch grew. And it would be a long time indeed before anyone in the villages would enter the northern forest once again.