Yesterday, Barte arrived knocking on my door. He introduced himself just as formally as he would in the presence of the Communion Council:
“Hello, it’s me! Barte Bee, the Heirophant for the World of Shanahan, and Treasurer of the Communion’s Council. How are you Wood Witch? Daughter of the Traitor Heirophant, of the World of Scorpio, Bearer of Light in the World of Dobbingson, and Bearer-of the Burdens.”
After that he invited me to accompany him on his work errands. And so we flew by flutterbee, out of Galaxy and onwards to the ground floor of Dobbingson. We landed before a forest farm, which was just a huge forest, but with a house sitting on the edge of it.
Inside the house lived an elderly woman with graying hair and a frail body. Her name was Ina. She is the forester of the forest farm. Her occupation includes walking around the forest, growing berries on bushes, feeding baby fairies, watering and talking with the trees, and keeping the place well groomed.
According to Ina; the worst part about her job is the weeding. Every day she has to journey deep into the forest and chase away the coco-leg critters; they’re nasty vermin pests that eat away at the forest, its plants, wildlife and berries. They consume everything!
The best way to describe a coco-leg is they’re basically coconuts with four antler legs and scary faces. Ina also told me about how they mate, which is as follows: the female Coco-leg eats her male mating partner, before rooting herself into the ground. She then grows into a tree until ready to populate. They grow about the same height as an average human and then start sprouting baby coco-legs before dying from rot.
According to Ina, the coco-leg population in Dobbingson is only getting worse, and she often finds herself having to dig out coco-leg trees and burn what she refers to as “Bastards.”
MoonDay afternoon, Barte had the flutterbee fly us across the World of Dobbingson and into the grounds of the Dobbingson Palace. While there, we had lunch. We had pumpkin soup and a bowl made out of bread with Headmaster Shaie (who was surprisingly happy to see me.) Headmaster Shaie even apologized for how he treated me a few moon-turns ago. He didn’t whisper a word about my friendly escorts though. Whatever fate had fallen upon them, after he declared them to be executed, is a mystery for all, including him, I’d wager.
After lunch, Barte and I walked from the Dobbingson Palace, through the castle clearing and into the darkness of the forest that blocked out the bright and beautiful sun. We walked and wandered for hours on end, through the daunting forest until reaching Golden Apple Village.
Golden Apple Village used to be the richest apple farming grounds in the Seven Worlds, and was able to feed the whole of Dobbingson, but that was long ago and in more fruitful times, and in the days before the Sun and Moon had ran off with the Communion to foresee the other worlds.
It was only when I fell into the world that the Sun and Moon decided to return, after they had left the days dark, the nights even darker, and the earth and soil rotten. According to Barte, the Sun and Moon were disgusted in themselves because of what they had done. And apparently astounded as well, they didn’t realize how important and powerful they were to the world.
“They were rock-crossed lovers at the time,” Barte had laughed as he told the story of the Sun and the Moon of Dobbingson.
Since the Sun returned though, the Golden Apple community has been steadily limping along, and back to their feet.
On that day, I saw scrawny and fair skinned children planting seeds for fruit trees and vegetables. I saw mothers and widows opening their chicken coops, letting their now albino breeds of livestock peck around and relax under the sun.
Men and bachelors were out chopping down trees for wood fires and camp chimneys. Poachers were hunting animals. Black smiths were building fences and constructing garden beds. The flowers were sprouting on the outskirts of the village territories. The grass was growing greener and longer, and even the trees were lightening up and breathing heavily again.
Barte Bee explained:
“As the Farming World of Shanahan is unreachable, Golden Apple Village is our best produce supplier. It can feed the whole of Dobbingson, from what magical roots to the color path its soil holds. Herbs, vegetables and fruits spring out of the ground like rain falls during a storm, in this part of the district.”
Later he told me about the demands of his job:
“As part of my job as the treasurer, I am fortunately responsible to monitor all the production procedures to do with the planting, growing and picking of our food industry. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s a demanding job. I have to visit a green fingered town and village every day of the week. You know, I love gardening so much that I drown in gardening like Gweyne bathes in political babble.”
I had to ask: “Barte, why is Shanahan unreachable?”
He replied: “Oh sweet child, it’s political.”