Nutlidge ~ Chapter Ten


Part Two:

“An act of Faith”

Chapter Ten


Baize was tossing and turning. Dreams of Tommo haunted him, along with Dave, Ross, Sid and Pete. Dreams of bombs going off and his family caught up in the drama. It had been a traumatic nightmare and Baize woke up in a cold sweat while reaching out to save a friend.
Fran rushed in and comforted her son who had experienced many nightmares over the last couple of nights.
“Baize, it’s okay honey. It’ll be alright.” She said calmingly, and put her arm around him. He rubbed his eyes. He was tired, stressed, and worried that he might lose his best mate.
“Oh man! That was the worst nightmare I’ve ever had!” He said in a wobbly voice, and broke down. His mother had so much sympathy for him and wished she could take his pain away.
“Baize, I think you need to let those fears go. I know it’s upsetting. You’re taking the world on your shoulders. Tommo and the guys will be alright, you’ll see.”
Baize calmed down a little with his mum’s words. She always knew what to say. They had spoken of death before and had talked about how it is not an ending but a new beginning in another dimension without the physical body. How they believed that there was only one lifetime, and that this was made up of many incarnations, ‘For the purpose of seeking to be and to experience Who You Really Are’ was what Fran quoted from a favourite book.
She had taught her kids to be fair at all times and to respect each other and other people. Her way was a balanced way and she gave her kids the chance to make their own choices. Ones they were old enough to make themselves.
“Thanks Mum. You’re right. I got caught up in it all, the whole idea of the bombing being so close to Australia. It doesn’t seem real. It’s not the Aussie way! It’s not even our argument! We’re being lied to and manipulated. It’s not right!
“Well you know that there’s no wrong or right, it’s just our perception of it. Fact is it doesn’t serve us or anyone else. It’s also how we react to it that makes the difference. People react from what their view of the world is.”
They looked at each other and Baize knew what his Mum was saying. He smiled at her, feeling a little silly.
His Mum reassured him again. “Just keep remembering these things I’ve passed on to you Love, and life will be a lot simpler.”
She gave him one more hug and left the room to allow him to think about what she had said.
At the breakfast table, the bacon and eggs were going down well when the phone rang. It was Grace enquiring how they were.
“Hi Mum. Yes, we’re fine.”
“And how did he sleep, is he still restless dear?”
“Yes, he did have some more but we’ve had a talk and I think it helped.”
“Oh that’s good, I’m sure he’ll come good now.”
“Yes, he’ll fine. He’s catching up with the guys today and practicing some tunes. They’re going to get the girls involved and get them doing percussion and stuff. So, I think that’ll get his mind of it all. And how’s Sky? Is she behaving herself?”
“Yes of course dear,” said Grace chuckling. “I just wish I was sixty years younger so I could keep up!”
They both laughed.
“Yes she’ll no doubt keep you on your toes!” Chuckled Fran again, knowing full well how creative and ambitious Sky could get, always wanting to do it now!
“Actually dear, I haven’t seen her all morning. She rediscovered the cottage yesterday and has been playing in it ever since! Henry said he saw her dashing down there this morning in the early hours. Must have had something urgent on her mind I would imagine,” said Grace. “Saving the world maybe!”
They laughed again, knowing full well how deeply imaginative she could be, and how passionate she was about helping the world to be a better place. Grace was dying to tell Fran about the tree. She knew that Fran would love to be a part of it all. She use to tell her stories too when she was small, stories her grandfather use to tell her about the nut folk. But it wasn’t her place, and it was up to Sky to say something, if she was permitted to of course. She knew the consequences if the word got out about the tree and its inhabitants. That would be the end of it. She knew in her heart that one day, they would get to be involved, somehow.
“So what are you two doing with yourselves today?”
“Oh, well I’m going to drop Baize off at Todd’s place and then come home to relax for a while. I have to start on Sky’s costume sometime! So I’ll probably do that later on.”
“Alright dear. Well, have a good day what ever you do, and don’t worry about Baize, he’ll come good now.”
“Thanks Mum.”
“That’s alright dear, rest up now.” Said her Mother, knowing how hard she worked all the time.
“Love you.”
“Love you too dear, bye for now.”
“Bye.” Fran put the phone down and brought her tea over to the table to sit with Baize.
“Well, that was your grandma. She was just seeing how you were…Sky’s playing happily in the cottage and loving it!”
“Yeah, that cottage is wicked!” Said Baize, looking mystical. “I reckon that place is haunted.”
“Haunted!” Said his mother, “Well I don’t know about ‘haunted’, but I always felt there was something magical about that place.”
“Oh yeah Mum, but you’re a girl, they always think of the magical stuff.” Baize wangled out the introductory tune from the ‘Twilight Zone’ and acted spooky for a moment.
Fran laughed at his antics, pleased to see that he was cheering up.
“Well, whatever that place is about, it has been protected for a very long time and I’m sure it’s for a good reason. It’s such a stunning forest, it wouldn’t surprise me if there really were little people in the trees!” She stared dreamily at the wall.
“Yeah, right!” Said Baize sarcastically, “In ya dreams!” He nudged her gently as he walked past to go to the bathroom.

Meanwhile back up in the city of Nutlidge, Sky was resting from the adventure to the Hall of Records. They all were. Coral and Curley had also arrived and joined in on a round of drinks. Elm had excused himself, and had gone to make plans for the trip to Queensland for the Federation of Nature Spirits. They were to leave early the next day.
Florrel caught up with Curley, who was full of beans as usual and happy to catch up with his friend Sky. He also liked to play with Dusty the galah and to pop out from behind things to make him jump. Curley loved it when Dusty’s topknot sprang up out of nowhere!
Yellow Flower was making herself and the others a pot of Vitalitea to help keep their energies up. She was to meet with Lord Nutwood and Lady Acacia later on that afternoon before preparing for the trip the next day.
“There you go!” She said positively, “Get that down, it will make you feel much better.”
The others helped themselves to a chair at the table until they were all sitting there, still quite taken by their encounter with the Freds.
“How old do you suppose they are?” Enquired Sky, continuing a conversation that she and Malley were having about them. He was testing his new pestle and mortar that Sky had given him. He had loved it and had given Sky a hug because he thought it was so fantastic!
“Well, I’m not really sure. It would seem that they have been here for a very long time, at least as long as the first establishment of Nutlidge. Perhaps Lord Nutwood might know. We can ask him this afternoon if you like.”
She nodded and took a sip of the tea.
“Oh! Wait, I might have to get you to ask him. I probably should call in and see grandma and let her know what’s happening. When I told her yesterday, all was calm and peaceful, and now…well, now it’s going to get hectic, isn’t it?”
Malley looked at her, trying to imagine how she must feel being the only human there and choosing to do this miraculous challenge without support of her loved ones.
“Are you feeling alright about all this Sky?” He said, looking at her and wondering how she was really handing it.
She looked at him thinking how kind he, and in fact all of them were, when Curley came and bounced right over the top of her and landed on his feet perfectly.
“Well, I wondered when you’d stop teasing Dusty,” she said, half smiling at him. Dusty was following him to the table and climbed up a chair to be level with everyone. Sky gave him a tickle behind his head. He loved it! The Galah nodded in a funny manner making them all chuckle a little, then he swung from the top branch of the chair to hang upside down. He squawked a little and flapped his wings, just missing the second bar of the chair. This made them laugh even more and then, he grabbed the top bar of the chair with his beak to climb back on top and he slipped, leaving him dangling by his beak and groping the air with his six parrot toes.
They all cracked up laughing, and it took them a while to be able to stop. Just as one would stop laughing, another would see those feet going berserk trying to grab at something that wasn’t there!
It broke the seriousness of the feeling in the room. Good old Dusty knew when light relief was needed! He found the wood with his foot and climbed back up to sit on the branch of the chair again.
“Romance is in the air!” He said quite clearly. “Soul mate’s on his way!” He said, looking at Yellow Flower and nodding in a cheeky fashion.
She smiled at him and raised her eyebrows knowing his meaning of ‘Soul Mate is on his way’. She came over to him and he stepped on her hand and nibbled at her thumb.
“You’re determined to get me partnered off aren’t you Dusty. There’s no hurry you know. I’m quite happy thank you!” She said smiling. “He thinks I’m going to meet someone soon.” She added, grinning shyly at the others, with rather red cheeks.
“Absolutely!” He said, as Curley came up from behind him and touched him on the shoulder making him jump and lose his balance a little. He squawked loudly.
“Curley, that’s enough now. No more.” Said his mother, calmly but firmly. “Poor Dusty won’t be able to sleep at night if you keep that up.”
Sky thought about Baize. She knew he often had sleepless nights when he had something on his mind, and wondered how he and Tommo were.
“I think I should pop home and see my grandma,” said Sky, suddenly feeling the urge to be near her. “I’ll pop down and catch up a little over lunch and then I’ll come back in time to come and see Lord Nutwood with you. Does that work in with you?”
“Of course Sky!” Said Yellow Flower, “Do what ever it is that you feel you have to do. We will leave for the meeting in Queensland around sunrise, so you’re time is your own until then. I suggest you get some rest if you can. Once we have popped into see Lord Nutwood, perhaps we could go out for a meal tonight?”
“Oh that would be lovely!” Florrel agreed, “I can put on my new dress and scarf!”
“What about the Walnut Eatery,” suggested Malley, “I hear that’s getting quite popular?”
“I have an idea,” said Sky, “What about you all come to my grandma’s cottage for an early meal. You’ll just love it! You can meet my grandma too! She would just love to meet you!”
They all looked at each other surprised.
“I think that’s a fantastic idea!” Said Yellow Flower, rather looking forward to a change of scenery.
“Sound’s good to me!” Agreed Malley, rather excited about another adventure, all in one day!
“Oh that sounds lovely.” Florrel agreed also, and Curley got very excited indeed, and flung himself around the room, knocking over several things.
“Curley, what on earth…!” Said Malley, noticing that Curley was a little more energetic than he usually was.
“Curley, how much Vitalitea have you had?” He said, picking up his cup. The rosy-cheeked nuttle grinned as if drunk then hiccupped. Very loudly! He burped straight afterwards, which made him giggle, and then he broke into laughter, which got them all going again! It was really quite funny and the good belly laugh was just what everyone needed.
Sky said her goodbyes to them all and Yellow Flower waved her hand and helped her transform down the tree to the ground. She took a small nut bottle from her pocket and drank the Changeabilitea. Up she went to her normal size. She was still dressed as a beautiful fairy with fake wings, although they looked quite real. She headed carefully back to the cottage so as not to rip her skirt. The clock said a quarter to twelve, so she headed slowly back to the main house, her head swimming with images and thoughts. She was looking forward to Beverly’s cooked lunch.

Deep down, the black figure was stirring again, a whole arm was exposed and it was scratching away at the soil to try and free itself. It scratched a little and rested. Scratched a little more and rested again. Its bony hand clenched its fist viciously and the tree shook again…

Grace was watering her rose garden. The fountain in the middle of the ring of roses was on and it made a lovely background sound. The sun was quite hot and she had her hat on.
“Hello my granddaughter!” She called, seeing Sky come around into the garden wearing her fairy outfit.
“Oh! Look at you! You look gorgeous! Just like a real fairy! They haven’t turned you into one have they!” She grinned, suddenly feeling slightly concerned.
“No, no, Grandma.” She gave Grace a hug. “Florrel took me shopping! Isn’t it beautiful? Guess what! Yellow Flower, Malley and Florrel, Coral and Curley are all coming down for dinner tonight! Grandma, you have to come to the cottage and have dinner with us! You just have to meet them!” Sky took her grandmother’s hand to lead her somewhere where she could talk and tell her everything that had just happened, and what was about to happen!


Nutlidge ~ Chapter Eleven


Chapter Eleven

Lord Nutwood and Lady Acacia Nutley

After spending time with her grandmother and telling her all that happened, she showed her the things she had chosen at the market place. The only thing she did not allow to grow with her was the tiny quilt cover she had picked out for her grandma’s crystal ball. She showed her the jug and the pendant she got for Baize and the two rings. The other fairy dress came out and she tried it on, and Grace thought the jacaranda colour looked superb on Sky. It was just stunning!
When she had changed back into her other fairy dress and had eaten lunch with her grandma, she headed for the cottage to do some cleaning before she returned to the tree. She was to meet Grace there at five o’clock, and she hoped that it gave them enough time to see Lord Nutwood. Grace had been very excited about the whole thing, especially when Sky told her the plans she had in mind for her dinner guests! That was going to be a secret, and the little people wouldn’t know until they arrived at her cottage. She couldn’t wait!
When she got to the cottage, she wiped around quickly and straightened out some cushions. It was still tidy from when she had done it the day before. A basket was placed on the table and tiny little containers of food and other things were placed in the antique and flamboyant kitchen in the dollhouse. This was where she planned to have her dinner party! She straightened out crooked pictures, took carpets out and banged them against the post outside, shook out little tablecloths and straightened out cushions. She made up the tiny beds and put little vases of flowers using some gumnuts and tiny flowers she had found on the way.
The dining room table was set with tiny little knives and forks, spoons and plates. There were even salt and pepper shakers! A tiny chunk of bread that had been carefully sliced and wrapped to keep fresh was placed on the table. A container of water was filled up in the roof for washing up and if by chance someone wanted a bath, there was a simple hot water system that her grandfather had put in just before he died. She popped the plug in to warm it up after filling the tank.
Her grandfather had also connected up the tiny lights and lamps that had been installed a long time ago. They still worked. She put little nut bowls around the house filled with some very fine pot pourri to make the dollhouse smell nice. There were so many rooms, she wondered how long it would have taken her if she had have done it as a small person.
“It would have to take at least two days!” She said out loud to herself. “I know what I forgot!” She pulled an old-fashioned toast stand out of the bag and put it down stairs in an emptier room for Curley to play on. It was perfect for swinging around on. That way he couldn’t damage any of the finely carved furniture that had been so beautifully made.
“There!” She said, with her hands on her hips admiring the view. “What a beautiful house it is…” She played with one of the dolls that were in it. It was the father doll. She placed him in the kitchen. “Thank you for offering to do the cooking tonight Jasper!! We will have sliced pork and apple sauce, mashed potatoes with peas and carrots. After that we’ll have Pavlova with fruit on top thanks, and punch for our drinks!”
Sky had been in the kitchen when Beverly had been making the Pavlova. She got her to put a large blob on a tiny tray and she spread it out with a fork. When it had hardened she placed a tiny dob of cream on it and then tiny little pieces of strawberry, apple, orange, nectarine and pineapple on it until it was covered, and topped it off with some fresh passionfruit.
“Well Sky!” Said Beverly laughing, “That’s so cute! It’s a fine dish indeed! Wish I was small enough to sit down and eat that right now!” She had said chuckling.
Sky suddenly realised that she needed to get back up the tree if she wanted to meet Lord Nutwood and Lady Acacia Nutley! She looked over the dollhouse once more quickly and saw everything was in order. She closed the front shutters of the house and closed the tiny front door, leaving the lights all on. It looked lovely! She grabbed her bag and took off out the door and over the rocks to the tree once more. Before long she was kneeling at the end of Malley Gum’s garden.
“Hello!” She called out, “Are you there Malley? Florrel? Curley?”
They didn’t answer. She thought for a moment what she should do. Maybe they were at Yellow Flower’s house.
She sat down to think about her next move. “I don’t think they would have forgotten me.” She thought, “But what if they have, what am I going to do now?”
She got up and walked up and down the branch thinking about what the best thing to do was.
“I could go back to the cottage and wait for them to come down for dinner,” she said quietly to herself, “but then, I was suppose to meet Lord Nutwood if I’m suppose to be…”
Her thoughts were cut off by a voice getting louder and calling “Look out!” She turned around and ducked just in time to allow a Nird to fly over her head! It was Curley and Coral, flying in to pick her up. They landed quickly and Curley called out to her, “Sky! Quickly! We have the potion for you! We have to get to the Centre as quickly as possible! Lord Nutwood has called a meeting!”
He ran and flung himself around, happy to see his big friend and at the same time knew he had to get her back there as soon as possible. Lord Nutwood wanted to meet her.
Coral gave Sky the Changeabilitea. She poured the sweet liquid under her tongue, shrank down to their size and hopped on the Nird, straightening herself out at the same time. It didn’t matter, because as soon as they were up in the air she was all blown about anyway! They soared out into the open and flew almost vertically up the tree. It was a fast ride and Curley was ‘yahooing!’ most of the way. Back in amongst the giant gum leaves and into the centre of the tree. The whole city was there. Hardly a space was left to stand. The tree had shaken again and this time had really done some damage. People had been hurt, but no one had been lost as far as they knew.
They landed on a bough above the crowds and hopped off, all patting the bird and thanking it for the wild ride.
They made their way down the road and through the crowd till they came to the Nutlidge entrance doorway. Through the museum they went, past the council chambers and up the long staircase to the palace. The main door was open and they ran inside to find Yellow Flower, Malley and Florrel, and another nutley lady who had to be Lady Acacia Nutley, the Wizard Elm, and Lobes, his helper.
Lobes was a short bald gnome, with a thick lock of hair that stuck straight up in the air, wavy to a point. It was bright blue. He had big pixie type ears, and his ear lobes were so long that they nearly touched the ground. He wore a monk’s gown with floppy sleeves and pixie shoes with pointy toes. He had a friendly, cheeky face and a wise look in his eyes.
There were also other nutleys around the room in small groups, waiting for Lord Nutley to finish talking to the crowds.
It was a large hall, beautifully done out in carved pictures of nutleys and tree folk dancing and frolicking around the room. Literally hundreds of tiny images were carved into a full wall mural, all the way around the room. There were large archways where the two main doorways were, which led to other rooms. A smaller one led out to the small balcony in which Lord Nutwood stood.
Sky ran over to her friends.
“Hi!” She whispered loudly.
“I’m so glad you got here in time.” Said Yellow Flower, greeting her young friend warmly. They all gathered around her and moved themselves over towards the back of the room. Standing next to a group of silk and snakeskin chairs and a huge vase of native flowers, Yellow Flower told Sky briefly what happened.
“The tree shook again, twice. The damage is huge, but I had a fly around with a few other folk and it can be fixed. We don’t know how many more shakes she can take. The tree will be all right, but Nutlidge will be shaken off the tree! You probably didn’t get a chance to pop in to Malley’s place, but it took the shake pretty hard and it’s a mess. My place isn’t much better! Still, most places need fixing up, but no one got seriously hurt. Sky, this is Lady Acacia Nutley. Lady Acacia, this is our brave friend, Sky. She will be coming to France with us, and placing the Honestea into the drinks at the World Leaders’ Summit.”
Lady Acacia was dressed in a long feather gown of burgundy. Her hair was decorated with sticks and berries and she had a pretty face. Sky shook Lady Acacias hand and quietly said “Hello, pleased to meet you.”
“It is very nice to meet you Sky. We are honoured to have you help us in this way. I look forward to talking with you.” Said Lady Acacia.
“We can fill you in on the rest of the news later on,” whispered Yellow Flower, “we should probably listen to what Lord Nutwood has to say. Come on, over here…” She led them over to the doorway where Lord Nutwood stood.
Lord Nutwood was in casual clothing of a single large feather. Everyone had come in flocks to hear what he had to say. There were the Nutleys, pixies, gnomes, fairies, all sorts of insects and birds, duck folk, goblins, leprechauns, dwarfs, lizards, frogs, dragon flies, possums, mice and more.
They all stood motionless and quiet, except for a few mothers trying to quieten their nuttles and fairy babies.
“It is not known yet if Podsinia is actually out from her muddy prison, but after the last two shakes, and the strength of them, we feel that it is quite possible that she may have freed herself.” Said Lord Nutwood.
The crowd murmured in a concerned way. Nutwood put up his hands to quiet them down and continued.
“We have people placed throughout the tree keeping an eye out for her, and I ask everyone to go back to their homes for at least two moons. We hope to have things under control by then.” There was another murmur among the crowds.
“Now!” He said, “We know that the only way we are able to ward this Tree Spirit off, is to bombard her with good thoughts and love. This is something you all do well; however, the world that is affecting us is not so positive. We must use our collective consciousness to keep her at bay. Hopefully she will stay down in the soil if we can place a strong enough love shield around the tree to slow her down. Meanwhile, Elm and Yellow Flower will be attending the Federation of Nature Spirits meeting to discuss what action we are to take. It calls for drastic action.”
The crowd murmured again and softened just as quickly. He ushered Sky onto the balcony. She went red in the face from embarrassment. This had not occurred to her! She looked over the rail to see thousands of nutleys and tree folk all looking at her.
“My dear friends. Whenever there is a problem, we thank the Great Energy for the solution that is already there for us. We just have to be open to receiving it. Two days ago, and for the second time in over four hundred years, a Human Being has been awake enough to be led to the tree and to climb its greatness!”
The crowd murmured amongst themselves for a moment then quiet fell once again.
“We believe this young human has what it takes to help us change the course of human behaviour and their aggressive nature. Meet our loyal friend, Sky!”
The crowd went wild with clapping, cheering and whistling.
“Over the next few days, we will see major changes within the world’s energies. It will be felt here and it will be hard. But we will overcome this. If any of you can volunteer for guard duty, please see Professor Barklay after the meeting. If anyone should spot Podsinia, they must get word to me immediately! So! Send your thoughts of love around the tree! Think of Podsinia and think of her as your hidden dark side and bath it with white light and unconditional love! This is what heals! This is what dissipates the fear! And the world needs much more of it! This we can help them with!”
The crowd cheered and whistled again only louder than before. Sky was now beaming with delight, having lost her shyness, and realizing that they were all equals there and she had nothing to be shy about.
“My good friends go back to your homes. Look out for each other. We have not lasted twenty thousand years as a peaceful loving community without a very good reason! We shall inform you what is happening, but keep your ear to the vine for any useful information. Thank you! Thank you for coming!”
He waved as they cheered for their beloved Nutwood.
He led Sky inside and the crowds began to dissipate up the various boughs of the massive tree. Lord Nutwood turned to Sky and said, “I just want to thank you personally for your assistance in this matter young lady. I am honoured to meet you, as I was also honoured to meet your great-great-great-great grandfather, young Master Lawson. He was an extraordinary young boy.
“I cannot even begin to express how grateful we are to him for protecting our world like he has all this time. Thankyou Sky. I am indebted to you.”
Sky blushed and shook his hand. He was a nice fellow with kind gentle eyes and a relaxed manner. She could see why he was so popular.
“No, it’s my pleasure Lord Nutwood, really. I am doing this for my own world also. It is my pleasure to help such a beautiful city. I will make sure this place is never destroyed. Honest I will.” She said.
He knew she would too. She had the same determination in her eyes as young Master Lawson had all those years ago.
“Good luck with your journey Sky, we shall all be with you in energy.”
“Thank you,” she said, feeling quite proud that she was her great-great-great-great grandfather’s relative. She thought he must have been a very honourable man to have kept this place quiet and protected like he did.
The others came over to join them and they gathered around to continue chatting about the events that would follow. Lady Acacia Nutley motioned to one of her helpers to bring drinks for the group and they ushered everyone to be seated in one of the many lounging areas that were placed around the big Hall. This Hall wasn’t just for the Lord and Lady of the tree, but for everyone to come and sit and talk to them and to admire the carved walls.
Sky was curious about the fact that they seemed to live so graciously, and yet they had no ‘monetary system’. How then did they have what looked to her to be nutley servants, even though they were all dressed a little differently. She couldn’t help ask.
“May I ask you a question?” She said to Lord Nutwood, feeling a little closer to him.
“Ah Sky. You are perceptive!” He smiled. “You’re curious as to how we live like this when we do not have the money and government your world has. I picked up on your thoughts just now, and I understand why you must question this. I understand you have been around the city a little and shopped for things you required.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Sky, a little taken back by his level of awareness.
“Well did you not help out at Malley Gum and Coral’s store when they got busy?”
“Yes! It was great fun! I really enjoyed it.” She said happily, and looked at Malley and Florrel, acknowledging their friendship.
“Well, you have received what you have needed from the stalls and no more than you need, and you did Malley and Coral a great service by helping them at a busy time. This balance is what we have created with in our community. This is the system all Nut and Pod colonies use along with the other folk in our worlds.
“There are many beings throughout the universe that live like this and there are many who are far more advanced than may seem. You see we have created a principle of observation. We have simply observed that we are all One, and thus have created our whole way of life on this principle. What happens to one, affects us all. There is no crime in our colonies at all. Any offenders, of which rarely exist, are brought here and shown the ways that serve them better. With love, healing and guidance, they will surely come good, and will fit back into the community again.”
The whole group were listening intently to Lord Nutwoods words. Even Elm had not heard it put so simply.
“No one forces anyone to do anything in this environment. They all have free will and all choose to do what makes them happy. This is encouraged. It is not our way to do things that we feel we will not enjoy. This brings in negative thoughts, and we do not need that. All the folk in the tree have their own talents and abilities. There is someone suitable for every kind of task you can think of. For instance, some of the folk that you see around the palace doing various tasks are here, not for Lady Acacia and myself, but call to see what needs doing for their community. This palace and all its glory belongs to everyone. We have our own area for living quarters, but they are much smaller in comparison. We only need the basic requirements. There are guest rooms for wise men visiting from other colonies. But we cook for ourselves and have our own life. We serve our community in every way we can. A little like you Sky, it was my great-great-great-great grandpop who first founded this tree and made a settlement here. I am more than happy to spend my life helping this community to stay happy and peaceful, while watching its inhabitants excel themselves to their greatest idea of Who They Truly Are.”

Nutlidge ~ Chapter Twelve


Chapter Twelve

A Sixteenth Century Encounter

Meanwhile, down under the tree, in a dark tunnel, a dirty, bony, ragged figure lay curled up sleeping. Worms came in and out of the soil at random, some with lights on their tails. In the shimmer of the glow, the tree sprite’s ears looked like rose leaves. To look at her was like looking at a ‘root’ of some kind. Her very long bowed nose had a few warts and a few fine roots hanging off the end. Her two fingers and thumb were also long and looked like scrawny, badly grown carrots, still with the roots growing out of them. Her hair was as long as she was, but it was dirty and matted into a messy knot. Her covering was of masses of finely weaved root hairs somewhat made into a long dress. It was filthy and full of holes.
It had been twelve thousand years since she had been locked away in her prison of soil. She had been manifested by the energies of the last civilisation that roamed the earth. But due to their self-destructive ways, they had moved themselves out of the earthly existence, and Podsinia had faded with the last of the negative energy that was out there. The tree had survived the ordeal and had carried on happily until this day.

The ugly figure took a deep breath and opened her wicked, angry, piercing eyes.

Back in the palace, the group was finishing off their drinks and preparing to leave.
“Thank you Lord Nutwood,” said Elm, “We shall come and see you as soon as we return from the Federation of Nature Spirits gathering. Take care now.” He nodded his head in respect of Lord Nutwood and said, “Lady Acacia, it’s been a honour,” and nodded a little deeper before stepping back to stand with his quiet little helper. “We have much to do before we journey tomorrow, and so we will leave you and see you early in the morning.” He continued looking at his other friends.
They all said goodbye and then Yellow Flower gave Acacia a hug and Nutwood also and said gently,
“We will see you again soon, take care won’t you.” She stepped back to let Malley, Florrel and Coral say goodbye.
Sky hugged them both also and told them not to worry,
“Everything will be fine!” She said.
“This I know,” said Lord Nutwood, “I look forward to your next visit,” he said sincerely.
“Please come and visit again soon,” said Lady Acacia, smiling warmly.
“Thank you. I will…. Goodbye!” She said, and waved as she looked back.
Amazingly, Curley had sat quietly for most of the time they had been there, but Coral had taken him for a walk because he was so energetic.
They all met by the main Nutlidge doors where Curley was swinging around a light pole.
“Well now!” Said Malley to them all, “What’s the plan from here?”
“I guess it’s clean up time first,” Said Florrel.
‘Then it’s dinner with Sky!” Said a very chirpy Curley, bouncing into the conversation.
“Oh yes of course!” Said Yellow Flower, getting excited about the dinner also. “Let’s get the clean up done quickly and go. How about we help you clean up the tea garden,” she said to Malley and Florrel, “and then we’ll work our way down from here and leave from your place since it’s the closest to Sky’s house.”
They all agreed and this is what they did. Yellow Flower helped with her magic and righted everything with her powers. She made a long job a fairly quick one with four houses to do, including Coral’s cottage.
It took them the rest of the afternoon but when they were finished they sat for a while to recuperate.
The sun was going down and they were all exhausted. Malley, Florrel, Yellow Flower, Sky, and Coral sat around the table while Curley played nicely with Dusty.
They had a quick drink of juice with Vitalitea in it and then it was time to go. Malley had a good nut bottle of Changeabilitea to give Sky when they reached the bottom of the tree. Yellow Flower had a special bottle of Spotted Gum wine that she had been saving for a special occasion and popped it in her bag.
“Are we all ready?” Said Yellow Flower, getting even more excited.
They all nodded and said “Yes!” all at once.
“Right then,” she said, and looked at Sky. “Think about where you would like us to get to Sky, and I’ll use the picture in your mind to get us there.”
“Yeah.” Sky said, smiling happily. She shut her eyes to focus on the place she wanted them to turn up. ‘The Doll House,’ she thought, ‘at the front door.’ She held the place in her mind and before she knew it, they were all standing in front of the huge and beautifully lit up 16th century dollhouse.
“Oh! Sky!” Wailed Florrel, “Is this where we’re having dinner?”
“It most certainly is!” Said Sky in a posh English accent, excited to show her friends the house. “As a matter of fact, I was planning a sleepover as well! There are enough beds, and enough of everything to stay here! That’s if you would like to of course…” She said as an afterthought.
“I’m in!” Said Malley, with a big smile on his face too. Florrel nodded happily and Curley did a somersault on the spot and cried “Yahoo! That’s awesome!” Copying what Sky had said earlier.
Yellow Flower was amazed at the size of the building and was looking through the windows, on the second floor. As she came down she looked around the room it was in. “What a beautiful house this is in,” she said.
“Is this where you normally live?”
Sky opened the front door and walked them in. “Oh no! This is an old cottage that is now used more like a cubby house, you know, a playhouse for kids, and my grandma’s house is in another garden. Come this way,” she said and led them into a most magnificent room. The first thing they noticed was the sweeping staircase at the back of the room. Stepping down a hundred steps from two hosting balconies, it became one large sweeping entrance to the other magnificent floors. Three balconies situated above and either side of the sixteenth century staircase showed the size and magnificence of this incredible doll’s house.
In the centre of the room was a fabulous velvet lounge suite, purple in colour, with wooden carved backings and wooden ball in claw feet. The coffee table had feet of the same style and a thick glass top. This hosted a big bowl of chopped nuts and sultanas and a vase of yellow flowers. The tall ceiling to floor windows were accompanied by floral curtains swept aside by large ribbons and attached to the window frames. Gold embossed frames held pictures of relatives, including a young Edward Lawson and his father.
Sky took a closer look while the others spilled around the room taking in the magnificence of it all. The polished floor hosted several large rugs of red crushed velvet and walls lined with delicate wallpaper. Crystal lamps with beaded fringes and leather wooden backed chairs were placed around the large room, each with their own carved side table and huge sideboards filled with bone china crockery and tiny ornaments. A grand piano was situated behind the curving balustrade along with a selection of beautiful handmade instruments and shelves stashed with books. On the other side of the staircase was a comfortable sitting area with more luxurious lounge chairs so comfortable someone could sleep there. There were lots of small framed photos of family and friends.
The group of friends were almost speechless for quite a while except for the odd ‘Ah!’ or ‘Oh! Look!’ and ‘Wow!’ filtering through the large room. It was full of beautiful antiques, all handmade by her great- grandparents, Edward and Constance. Sky was in awe of what she was seeing in the photos. Pictures she had never seen up close, of young Lawson in different stages of his life with his father. A wedding photo stood out on one of the large sideboards and Sky had a closer look at this.
It was young Lawson on his wedding day and his beautiful wife adorned in a white dress with a very long veil. Sky took particular note of the style of the dress and knew it must have been when photos were first invented. They were obviously a well-to-do family, by the looks of the carriages and the clothes in all the pictures. She always thought these tiny pictures had been cut from old magazines! It had been however, the tiniest and most gorgeous collection of miniature picture frames she had ever laid her eyes on. Now that she was able to see them close up, she could see what they had been made from even better. Bark, leaves, sticks, slices of gumnut, and other types of natural materials. Floral ones held dried flowers, still in good condition, leather and suede, silk covered and hand painted ones. All exquisite and all hand made.

Curley woke them all up from their daydream and got their attention by swinging himself up the balcony and yahooing at the thrill of it!
After a glance and a smile they all met in the middle of the room by the coffee table.
“Sky! This is one amazing room!” Said Malley, looking at the huge dome ceiling far above them that held a magnificent chandelier.
“Yes it is so beautiful!” Agreed Florrel. “Did your parents make this house?”
“Well, my great-great-great-great grandparents built it for their children and they handmade everything from what my grandma has said. It has been handed down to each generation…”
“And looked after extremely well!” Said Yellow Flower, finally finding her voice again. “This place is beautiful! How many rooms does it have?” She added, dying to see the rest of it.
“Oh yes!” Said Sky, suddenly remembering, “The rest of it! I’m just as excited as you are!” She beamed at Yellow Flower and the others, “This is so different being able to actually come in here and walk around! I guess I didn’t notice as much as a big person!”
She walked towards the archway to the left hand side of the room and through to another music room which had a large harp.
Several upholstered chairs were placed around the large room and music sheets were scattered on the table. Sky picked one up.
“They certainly liked music!” Said Coral, who was a little shy, but was beginning to get use to the journey this was taking her on. She swept her fingers across the strings filling the room with a magic sound.
Yellow Flower sat down behind the harp and began to play. A soft, delicate tune drifted around the room and relaxed them all a little from their obvious excitement.
Sky was studying the music sheet. She hadn’t noticed them lying there before, but then there were lots of things she hadn’t noticed before. Being able to walk around took on a whole new perspective. The music had been written in with pencil. Sky didn’t think anything of this at first and went to put the paper down, but changed her mind and studied the paper closer.
“This is strange,” she said. “These music sheets look as if they have been hand written. But surely no one of normal size could write notes this small and so neatly! My great-great-great-great grandma must have been awfully clever!” She put the paper down, not giving it another thought.
Malley was fiddling with one of the carved banjos. He hadn’t seen instruments quite like this before, or anything like any of this before! Everything was new and fascinating. Even Curley had calmed down and was looking around the room in all the glass cabinets, which held small instruments and ornaments.
“Pickled nuts!” He said. “Look at this!” Yellow Flower stopped playing and joined the others in looking into the glass cabinet that had captured his attention. A cabinet almost full of yet more picture frames and brass ornaments.
On the second glass shelf within the cabinet, lay only one item that filled the whole space up. It was a ring. A gold diamond ring, the one Sky had noticed in the wedding photo. Her great-great-great-great grandmother’s wedding ring!
The pink gold band was worn well and still had a faint inscription on it.
Sky took a deep breath in, at the magnificence of the highly cut diamond. It was the size of a large dinner plate and sparkled in the light of the chandelier.
“Wow!” Said Malley first, “that’s some diamond!” He had knowledge of gems and crystals, and was stunned at its beauty.
“It’s so gorgeous!” Said Sky.
“What does it say?” Inquired Curley curiously, his tail curling around his mother’s leg.
Sky read it out loud to them.
“To my beloved Constance, forever and always, my unconditional love, Edward. 1815.”
“Oh! That’s so sweet!” Said Coral. Sky stared at the diamond and said,
“They must have really loved each other, because grandma said they were together until the day they died, and it was only three days after she died, that he passed on too. He couldn’t live without her.”
Malley and Florrel gave each other a cuddle and Curley rolled his eyes like nuttles do sometimes, and said as a distraction,
“So why is the ring in here? It’s bigger than everything else.”
Sky shrugged her shoulders and raised her eyebrows in wonder of it.
“Well, normally, rings are handed down to children. Maybe it was and it just happened to end up here like small trinkets do sometimes. I’ll have to let grandma know about it. Maybe she put it there. Anyhow, I’m starving!” She said, suddenly losing interest, “let me show you your rooms and the kitchen. Come on, let’s have a look.”
They walked out back into the main lounge room and headed up the grand staircase to the other floors. Sky showed them all their prospective rooms. They were big and stupendously grand to say the least, with each room having a four-poster bed, lavish linen and lots of pillows. Gracious curtains that hung from tall windows that would look out onto a beautiful garden, if it were outside! Fine silk netting hung from the bars at the top of the bedposts and made the room look fit for royalty.
They all chose the rooms they preferred, Curley scoring the child’s bedroom and found delight in the toys that were around the room. Some had moving parts. He particularly liked the toy cars made from wood with moving wheels, and played with them while the others looked around. Sky told him where the swinging bars were, so he could do some playing if he wanted.
They were shown the third and fourth floors, which had spacious bathrooms, a lounging and games room, a sitting room with an extensive library and study.
They headed back down the elegant staircase and into the roomy kitchen. It had a gold laminate on the floor and several benches lining the walls, with a huge one in the middle for preparing food. An old wooden stove made a big dent in one wall with a huge fireplace and mantel around it. A huge wrought iron pot sat on top, and cooking utensils hung from the shelf along with other cookware.
There were two large wall dressers laden with more crockery and a colonial table and chairs sat to one side, with the Pavlova and the other dishes Sky had put there earlier.
They looked around the kitchen at the strange devises lying in various spots, fascinated with their shape and texture. They were especially interested in the man doll standing there, staring at the opposite wall, not moving.
“Who is this rather quiet fellow?” Said Malley smiling.
“Oh, he’s just a doll that has been in the house for a long time. He’s an antique, which means he’s very old. Sky opened the top draw to grab an extra serving spoon saying,
“You must all be so hungry after your long day. Please come this way into the dining room.” She said, pretending to be a waiter.
They all looked around whilst seating themselves at the table.
“So if that silent fellow in there is an antique, then I guess that makes me an old fossil!” Said Malley comically, making every one chuckle, the tree folk glancing and one another like knowingly. Little did Sky know that Malley Gum was nearly three thousand years old!
The room was large again, with several beautifully carved wall units filled with exquisite ornaments. Now these ornaments were all from Nutlidge! Edward had obviously acquired many items for memorabilia, on his adventures to the city of Nutlidge. A magnificently carved sideboard was topped with deserts and nibbles. Sky had done a beautiful job setting the table. It was so elegant!
She sat at the end of the table; feeling quite chuffed with herself, and passed a dish to Florrel who was on her right.
“Thank you Sky, this looks delicious. You have gone to so much trouble!” She said, and took the plate of giant peas.
“Oh it’s my pleasure!” She said, and passed the meat plate to Yellow Flower on her left.
“Umm, no thanks.” She said, waving her hand a little, “I will have some plant food though…” And she helped herself to the broccoli.
Sky got up and filled the glasses with punch before helping herself. She lifted her glass up and said in a happy tone, “Here’s to Nutlidge, the Earth and Humanity!” and motioned the others to clink their glasses. They did this happily and took a sip out of their goblets.
“Oh, I forgot the sauce…” Said Sky and before she could get up Yellow Flower said, “No, let me,” and she put her hand out and it floated towards her to the table.
Sky watched with amazement.
“How do you do that?” She asked.
“With my thoughts, and energies.” Replied the fairy. “Watch this…”
“I love it when she does these things.” Said Florrel, and awaited the demonstration.
Suddenly all the things on the table lifted up and began to move around and around like a carousel, then landed back down on the table again, in the right places.
“Oh that’s excellent!” Said Sky, “I love that sort of thing! It reminds me of a show I used to watch called ‘Bewitched’. Samantha used to do that. Could you show me how to do it?”
“Of course!” Replied the fairy happily, “You don’t actually try to move the objects, you become the objects. It’s really quite simple once you know how.”
Within the happy atmosphere, a noise was heard as a door slammed loudly shut.. Everyone froze!