A crack of lightening split a rogue apple tree down the middle, and a roar came that sounded like thunder. “I am here.” Horses danced and skidded away in pure fright, and everyone paused, in the midst of their life or death struggles, to look.
They saw three men, dressed resplendently for battle. They all glowed a bit with an unearthly glow. Somehow, Margueritte knew them all by name. Birch, the eldest fee, stood full sized, big as a man. He had gray hair like a well-seasoned warrior. He came dressed all in German-like chain mail of black and silver, though much finer than any German made chain, and the silver looked to be real silver. Beside him stood young Larchmont, also a full-sized fairy lord, dressed like a druid prince in black and gold that matched his golden hair. The third was a sight, in wooden chest protection, feathers on his head, a wicked looking war club in one hand and a wooden shield in the other on which the thunderbird had been painted. Yellow Leaf was his name, and he was not long arrived from the other side of the world.
Beside those three fairy lords, there were three more figures. Grimly, the hobgoblin stood only three feet tall, pink faced, and dressed all in green like a midget Robin Hood, but no one doubted the determination written all over his grim face, and no one wanted any part of the long knife he brandished with what appeared to be great skill. Beside him, and a foot taller, stood Luckless the dwarf. His armor showed neither gold, nor silver, but it looked ancient as if made before human beings ever entered that part of the world, and it also looked like it hardly fit him. The double headed ax he held, however, appeared to fit him very well. Last came Hammerhead, the ogre, the youngster from Banner Bein. He stood eight feet tall, almost as broad in the shoulders and ugly enough to make a stomach turn just to look at him. The tree trunk of a club he held over his shoulder seemed superfluous.
Lord Birch spoke first into the stunned silence. “Unhand the Lady.” He pointed his glimmering steel at the two who held Brianna to the ground. They did not argue. They let go immediately and backed away.
Margueritte took that moment to try wriggling again. “Let go of me.”
“Yes!” Luckless the dwarf yelled to gain everyone’s attention. “Let go of our special lady.”
The soldier that held Margueritte did not move and may have even tightened his grip a little out of pure, unthinking fear.
Hammerhead took one step forward and opened his mouth like a shark, wide enough to bite a man’s head off and showed several rows of teeth. “Let-Her-Go!” he said like thunder and with a great wind that exploded from his gut.
Margueritte fell hard onto the mud and rocks. Concern quickly crossed the faces of Sir Barth and Lady Brianna, but it passed when Margueritte came up laughing, wrinkled her nose and waved her hand through the air.
“Good Lord, Hammerhead,” she said. “When was the last time you brushed your teeth?”
“I’m supposed to brush them?” Hammerhead responded in his more normal deep gravel, and honestly, quite scary enough voice.
The Franks laughed, however nervously. The Saracens were mortified to finally realize that these apparitions actually answered to the young girl. Immediately they began to grab what horses they could, and each other, to run, except Ahlmored, who took the distraction to take a swing at Bartholomew. Sir Barth was not so distracted, though, when any enemy threatened his flank. He blocked the swing of the sword and followed up with a thrust of his own that went right under Lord Ahlmored’s chinstrap, through his throat, and out the back of his neck. It only stopped against the chain that draped down from the back of Ahlmored’s helmet. With that, the enemies were all gone.
“Tomberlain!” Margueritte remembered. Tomberlain moaned and tried to sit up. He bled beneath his helmet.
“Luckless!” Margueritte turned quickly. “Is there a doctor?”
“Doctor Pincher might be available,” he said with a bow.
Margueritte grinned at the name and made the call. “Doctor Pincher,” she commanded his attention in a voice she did not know she had. Doctor Pincher, a half dwarf, appeared out of thin air. He looked confused at first until Luckless pointed to Margueritte.
“Ah, so it is true,” he said. “Great Lady.” He bowed low to Margueritte, but she was concerned for her brother.
“Tomberlain.” She pointed. “He got bonked on the head. Help my brother.”
“Hmm. Let me see.” The doctor drew a big black bag out from the inside of his coat, though the bag clearly looked bigger than any pocket he might have had inside the coat. Immediately, he helped Tomberlain remove his helmet and quickly announced, “It’s only a flesh wound. Nothing to worry about.”
Margueritte then remembered her manners. “Thank you, Lord Birch. Thank you, Lord Larchmont. Thank you, Lord Yellow Leaf and welcome to this side of the Atlantic.” The three fairy Lords bowed without a word and became small together and flew off into the woods. Lady Brianna crawled up beside her daughter and helped Margueritte and herself to their feet. She held Margueritte because Margueritte appeared to have twisted her ankle a little.
“Thank you Grimly, Luckless, and dear Hammerhead,” Margueritte said.
As she held her daughter and saw for a moment as if through Margueritte’s eyes, Lady Brianna asked her daughter a quick question. “Are all these yours?”
“Yes, indeed, m’lady.” Grimly tipped his green hat.
“No, mother,” Margueritte answered. “They belong to themselves as we belong to ourselves, but sometimes they help me and do what I ask, and I am always grateful.” She smiled for her mother because her mother seemed to understand far more than most would on such short notice.
“And the unicorn?” Sir Barth asked.
Brianna answered for her daughter. “No dear. Nothing so grand. Only the littlest spirits and certainly not even all of them.”
“Elsbeth!” Lady Brianna and Margueritte reacted together. They paused to listen and heard giggles come from under the wagon. They peeked. Elsbeth lay on her back and tried in vain to catch the fairy that buzzed around her face, and she giggled. Beside her was a dwarf wife who held her cooking spoon like a war club.
“Is it safe?” The dwarf wife asked.
“Yes Lolly.” Margueritte called the spirit by her name. “You and Little White Flower can come out now.”
“Elsbeth. Stop playing with the fairy and come out here so I can look at you.”
“Aw, Mother,” Elsbeth protested, but complied. Little White Flower grabbed onto Elsbeth’s hair, came with her and took a seat on Elsbeth’s shoulder. “This is Little White Flower.” Elsbeth introduced her friend. “And this is Lolly, my other friend, even though she is threatening to make me learn to cook.”
“Hmm.” Lady Brianna saw that her daughter was unhurt. “That would take some very strong magic.”
“Well, that’s that,” Doctor Pincher interrupted. “All bandaged, disinfected and cleaned. Some dead though.” Three Saracens and one of the Franks would move no more. Two other Franks were bandaged, but like Tomberlain, neither had been wounded too seriously. The Africans seemed to have taken their wounded with them, which spoke well for their training to have done so despite the loss of their leader, and the fact that they were frightened out of their minds. “If you don’t mind my saying, you might tell these mudders it would not hurt to get clean once in a while. The water won’t melt them, mud though they be.”
“Thank you, Doctor Pincher,” Margueritte said.
“Yes, thank you,” Lady Brianna added.
“Ahem.” The doctor coughed. “Don’t mention it, but I do have lots of ‘pointments this afternoon.” He whipped out a list which stretched to the ground. No one asked where his black bag went.
“Oh, yes,” Margueritte said. “Go home.” She waved her hand and the dwarf instantly vanished.