Chapter 40

I do not own claymore

Freya helped Dena feed Sasha while Sheila was told to relax as she was a guest and wasn't allowed to lift a finger to help.

When she remarked, "So, why is Anna helping then, isn't she also a guest?"

Roger looked up from the skillet he was tending and replied, "I tried that gag the last time she was here, she threatened to complain to the manager if I persisted."

Sheila just rolled her silvery gray eyes and said with a grin, "Yeah, she's funny that way."

Shortly after that, dinner was served.

It was mostly left over roast beef and sauteed vegetables with a salad on the side. Sheila marveled when she saw Dena clamber up her own special stool and join them at the table with her own doll sized dinner ware.

She smiled and said, "Now that, is pretty cool. Did you find everything at a doll shop or something?"

Roger grinned at her and replied, "Antique shops and swap meets mostly, the dishes are from vintage tea sets so they're real China, not cheapo plastic. It wouldn't be right to have her eat off of plastic while we use China ware."

Following dinner, Anna pulled out a couple of yellow legal pads, laid them on the kitchen table where the light was brightest and said to Anita cheerfully, "Give me a story situation!"

Anita grinned at her favorite author and now good friend and declared, "A young girl visiting her grandfather's farm, finds an old box hidden in the barn..."

Anita smiled happily as Anna jotted it down and beckoned for her to join her, soon the two were deep in a conversation involving plot lines and a growing story idea.

Freya was listening intently as Sheila told her stories of old Jotunheim as she remembered it.

Roger sat quietly enjoying himself as he brushed Sasha's thick fur while tiny Dena 'supervised', the giant Wolf sat with her long, pink tongue lolling out of her mouth as she enjoyed the attention.

With bed time rapidly approaching, Roger quickly went to take his shower and skedaddle before the rest of the household used up the hot water.

While he was already used to seeing Freya and Dena in the buff, he was not ready to see a quite naked Anita walking casually down the hall, her twelve year old body blossoming nicely.

She approached the upstairs bathroom door just as an equally nude Anna Karlsen came out of the shower.

Roger saw at once that Anna had the classic dancer's body, lean and lithe, with not an ounce of extra flesh anywhere.

He went downstairs and nearly collided with Sheila, he gaped when he saw her too.

Her lean, well muscled body was a monument to her level of training and physical condition.

Sheila smiled and said playfully, "You act like you've never seen a naked woman before!"

Roger went scarlet and replied in a half strangled voice, "Right now, I'm dealing with a houseful of naked ladies, I've seen all the naked women I can handle for one night!"

Sheila giggled and said gaily, "I'm afraid you'll have to get accustomed to it, my friend." Then she strolled past him and stepped into the downstairs bathroom.

Roger woke from a sound sleep.

Something had hit his bedroom window, squinting at his clock radio he saw it was 3:47 A.M. A soft 'tink!' sound came from his window again, something had bounced off of it. Rising from his warm bed, Roger stepped near the window and peered out.

There below him, stood a figure looking up at his window, it extended an arm and flicked its wrist...'Tink!' went the window again.

Roger pulled on his trousers and shoes and quietly tip toed downstairs, while carefully avoiding the stair step that seemingly creaked so loudly it could wake the household.

Sasha was wide awake and waiting to be let out, her incredible ears had heard the noise too. The pony sized wolf's bushy tail wagged slightly as he approached her.

He leaned closer and whispered, "Do you know who it is girl?"

The giant wolf smiled as only she could and he quietly opened the door so they both could slip outside, pulling the door closed behind them.

They walked around to the side below Roger's bedroom and there stood a vaguely humanoid figure, definitely female if the breasts were any indicator.

Roger drew closer, smiled and said politely, "May I help you with something? You tapped on my window."

The figure smiled back and beckoned for him to follow her.

She began walking and they fell in behind her, Sasha's apparent calm eased Roger's mind, if she wasn't concerned, he wasn't concerned.

He noted that her gait was this odd planting of her feet, one in front of the other, while her trailing foot was seemingly uprooted and the soil shaken loose before it was swept forward to be replanted, however briefly.

In spite of her odd gait she moved quickly and before long, Roger found himself standing outside of Anna's huge, old house.

There he saw several other figures, all representing the tree species they protected.

There were stately old English Oaks, gnarled with age and moving slowly, their joints creaking faintly.

Slender Beeches stood swaying to an unheard melody and two mature Rowans aging gracefully, stood gazing down at him, their faces inscrutable in the darkness.

Roger stood still, his mouth open in amazement as Sasha sat beside him, her tongue lolling out of her grinning mouth.

The figure came before him and he gazed at her in fascination.

Roger wasn't quite sure of what she was, she did not resemble any of the trees represented and none of the trees nearby were of southern origin, they were all northern species.

She smiled at him and he realized that she was quite the beauty, she was about his own height and clearly a woman from the rondure of her breasts and curve of her hips.

Her hair as he thought of it, was very coarse near her scalp, almost twig like as it swept back from her forehead and cascaded past her shoulders and hung down her back, ending in a fine sweep of silky hair, just above her knees.

She reached out with a long fingered hand and lightly touched his brow.

Roger felt an odd tingling sensation between his eyes as a stream of images trickled into his mind.

Images of being dug out of the fertile ground called home, the pain of feeling myriad tiny roots being cut off.

Of being confined to a wooden box and placed on the rolling deck of a ship and given barely enough water to survive.

Of being roughly handled as calloused hands placed her in a hole dug into a foreign soil, the agony of many branches getting cut off to change her shape.

Of the feelings of others nearby being treated the same way and being powerless to help.

Of the changing of the seasons, marking the years passing by as awareness and strength returns and connections are made.

A new presence is felt, someone new is here, a someone who is a sensitive.

Contact must be made. Her hand broke contact with his brow and Roger's vision cleared.

He smiled at his nocturnal visitor and said softly, "I was right to listen to my feelings...How many of you are there, if I may ask?"

She only smiled at him and gestured around her.

In the darkness, Roger could only hear the faint creakings and sighings of soft breezes rustling the leaves.

With a start, he realized that there was no breeze, the air was still and warm.

He was hearing the sounds of the painfully slow movements of huge, unknown creatures he could not comprehend.

He glanced down at Sasha, she was perfectly calm, in fact she was lying down as if the slow movement of a forest was an ordinary thing and nothing to be concerned about.

Feeling sleepy he lay down next to Sasha as the tree woman stood watching over him, he snuggled against Sasha's great furry body and drifted off to sleep.

The morning sun woke Roger up from a sound sleep, he was still curled up next to Sasha and the sun's warmth was soaking into his stiff joints, he hadn't slept on the ground since he'd met Freya and he was feeling it now.

Sitting up, Roger looked around in amazement, most of the trees near the old house both old and young, had moved, there was no need to disturb them now.

The exception were the two huge Rowan trees, they still stood watch on either side of the front entrance to the house.

The trees native to the Portland region still had to be removed, but that was not an issue, the inhabited trees had moved themselves and were now safe from harm.

Standing up, he stretched and worked the kinks out of his back and neck, remembering why he didn't like sleeping on the ground now.

He looked down at Sasha as she too stretched and yawned, he laughed and said to her, "No one will ever believe what we saw last night, girl..." he caught himself and grinned, he was living with a young frost giantess and a wood wife, he was standing next to a giant wolf and had a vampire and a former claymore warrior as house guests, they would believe him!

Feeling a bit hollow inside, he grinned at his giant wolf companion and said, "Let's go see if they left us any breakfast!"

They headed back down the hill and were greeted by a worried Freya.

"Whaur were ye last nicht? Ah saw ye werenae at haem, ye left nary a note tae tell me whaur ye were gang aft tae, at least ye had th' guid sense tae take Sasha wi' ye!"

She looked him over and asked, "Pine needles? Oak leaves? Did ye sleep in th' wuids last nicht?"

Roger could only smile and reply, "I had a visitor last night, I can't quite explain what I experienced and saw, but we don't need to remove any of the non native trees from near the house now."

Freya looked at him with a puzzled expression and was about to ask what he meant by his comments when little Dena came into the kitchen and said, "Sasha says they saw th' "Green Woman' last nicht an' she watched ower them while th' trees moved."

Freya, Anna, Anita and Sheila all looked at each other for a moment.

Anna approached him and asked gently, "May I see your memories of last night?"

For a moment, Roger thought " Cat out of the bag time!"

Then he remembered the charm Anna had placed on Anita, she wouldn't think anything was unusual about what she saw at this house.

He saw Sheila smiling and she said cheerfully, "She's very good at it, I've seen her in action!"

Roger nodded a 'yes' and Anna gently touched his brow.

Closing her eyes, she stood still for a few minutes, then she opened her bright blue eyes again and exclaimed, "Wow! What an incredible experience!"

She turned to the others and declared, "The 'Green Woman' came here last night to take him and Sasha with her back to my house, she showed him her memories of being uprooted and brought here to be replanted, then she watched over and protected them while the trees uprooted themselves and moved away from the house."

Anna looked at him and said quietly, "You are becoming more and more interesting, the better I get to know you as a friend."

Roger smiled at her and remarked, "Remember how I thought we may have a dryad or two living near us? Well, I was wrong, very wrong. I don't think dryads could have that kind of power, to uproot their home tree and move it like I saw last night. I wish it hadn't been so dark so I could have gotten a better look at her, the green woman that is."

Freya said quietly, "Perhaps ye werenae meant tae see th' green woman clearly, perhaps yer mortal min' coods nae ken what ye saw."

Roger thought about her comments and slowly replied, "Perhaps you're right, maybe there are some things best left alone."

He smiled at everyone and said brightly, "Anyway, she saved us a lot of hard work and to thank her, I plan on giving all the relocated trees there a good feeding."

"So what do the grounds around the house look like now?" asked Anna.

Roger shrugged and said, "Not sure, I came down to the house right after waking up. It looked like the house was largely clear of trees except for the two big Rowan trees near the entrance. Now, no more questions until after I've eaten, I'm starving!"

Freya smiled at him and beckoned for him to follow her, she led the way into the kitchen and stepped aside to reveal a big skillet of corned beef hash and fried eggs.

Roger grinned at his towering companion and hugged her, "You're an angel!" he said as he took up a plate and helped himself.

Freya smiled at him and said teasingly, "Ah ken that', ye jist ne'er noticed afore!" Roger laughed and set his plate down on the kitchen table.

Covering it up with a microwave dome he said, "I gotta feed Sasha first, she kept me warm last night, I owe her!"

He took up Sasha's food dish and filled it with a mixture of dry kibble, raw eggs and some canned food mixed in with it.

He set it before a patiently waiting Sasha, ruffled her furry head and said, "Thanks for keeping me warm last night!"

He returned to his breakfast while Sasha enjoyed her own meal.

When Dena commented, "Yoo're gonnae spoil 'at wolf, aye payin' attention tae 'er loch ye dae!"

Roger just grinned at her and kept on eating.

After a quick shower and a change of clothes, Roger smiled and said, "Let's go see what happened last night!" Soon, the six of them were standing outside the huge house staring in disbelief at the changes.

The two stately Rowan trees remained in their places while the other trees, both young and old had moved away from the house and now formed a vaguely semi circular clearing around the house.

The cleared area had a freshly turned over look to it and merely awaited a gardeners touch. Roger looked over at Sasha and said, "See what we missed because it was so dark?" Approaching the house, they saw the little wood elf family had already started working, trees moving under their own power or no, they weren't going to waste any time gawking at the changes.

The front door was wide open and some of the furniture was being carried outside for a thorough dusting off and cleaning. Because the wood elves were so tiny, it appeared as if the furniture was floating along barely skimming the ground.

Freya, Anita and Dena joined in and began hauling furniture outside while the other wood elves set to cleaning and dusting what they brought out.

Sasha meanwhile, began investigating the area cleared by the movement of the trees the night before, her nose leading the way as she prowled about the grounds.

Armed with flashlights, Roger, Anna and Sheila entered the house.

They were pleasantly surprised to see that with the movement of the trees away from the windows, the interior was no longer quite so gloomy and flashlights were not needed for much of the big house.

Anna wore a somewhat pensive look on her face while she walked about the large rooms until finally she commented, "I sure lived large in those days, I wouldn't even think about building a place like this today! Too big and too ostentatious."

She grinned at Roger and said cheerfully, "It will make a great library and museum though!"

Roger smiled at her and replied, "Once everything's all cleaned up, we can decide how we want to arrange the book shelves and have a halon gas fire suppression system installed just in case of a fire."

Anna shuddered and said, "A fire would be a disaster, the house is just a house, it's the books and other materials that would be a terrible loss. Even if we scanned everything and saved the data...That tangible connection with those gone before us..."

Anna smiled at him and said, "I have a whole collection of first edition versions of every book I ever wrote, some of them were even signed by me in a previous writing career!"

Sheila chuckled and remarked, "My sword is my connection to my own past, I am one of the few warriors who's managed to hang onto my blade all of these years, almost seventy five centuries now. Some of my companions have managed to recover their swords through purchases from collectors who don't realize who the buyer is."

Roger looked at Sheila for a few moments and asked, "How is it these blades haven't simply rusted away or got broken in battle or got melted down for scrap metal?"

She shrugged and replied, "I'm not sure of how they were made, my old captain, a warrior named Miria knows a good deal about their origins. I do know they are virtually unbreakable and can cut through most anything if swung hard enough."

Roger grinned at her and replied, "Considering everything else I've seen in recent years? I would not be surprised."

Sheila smiled at him and remarked, "I'm enjoying the fact that the Jotuns are still with us, my late husband was the only man I ever truly loved and while I have had many a lover, none but him ever really knew me as he did."

Roger chuckled and said, "He was a very fortunate man, your husband. My relationship with Helen though brief, was a remarkable experience and one I will always treasure."

Going back outside, they walked past the freshly cleaned furniture neatly arrayed along the flagstone walkway leading from the driveway to the house itself.

Roger gestured at the circle of Rowan trees and said,, "These trees can be left alone, it's the ones along the driveway we can look into removing or moving elsewhere on the property. While you're here Anna, we can talk with some landscape architects about refurbishing the derelict garden that was here."

Anna looked thoughtful and muttered, "I wonder if we could ask the green woman you saw about that?"

Roger pursed his lips briefly and commented, "I'm not sure we could even contact her or if we could, would she even consider it?"

He looked directly at Anna and said, "She communicated mostly by touching my forehead and I saw these images, I'm not sure she can even speak."

He glanced around and said half to himself, "I sometimes wonder if I really did see her, then I see what she did and I know I saw her, only I have no idea where she is!"