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Kaija - The Guardian of the Stone

Little Kaija ran through the forest. She ran fast. She was actually quite proud of how fast she could navigate the tangled forests around her home village. She ducked out of the way of branches and jumped over roots and stones, her brown, curly hair up in a ponytail.

She had to hurry. They could not be far behind her. She held the smooth stone tightly in her hand. They will never get a hold of me or the stone, she thought, increasing her speed. As she did, a protruding branch scratched her cheek. She raised her hand and wiped off the blood that had begun to trickle down her cheek. It covered her fingers. It's not a big deal, not for the guardian of the stone, she thought, and easily jumped over another stone.

Suddenly she heard the whistling of arrows. One pierced the trunk of a tree right in front of her. She looked back to look out for her pursuers. Between the trees she could see them, dark little creatures with bright yellow eyes. They had big noses and wore black coats. In their bony hands they held rough bows like something from the Middle Ages. No, even further back in time. Kaija smiled a little crookedly at them and turned around to continue running. They would not catch her.

She could hear the arrows whining past her. Some hit the ground or in the trees behind her. She jumped over a rock and slid onto her knees just behind it, just as an arrow passed by. Another hit the stone in front of her. It's not far now to the waterfall, she thought, fixing her gaze on the path ahead. It was a path she had walked and run many times before, but she could not rely on that knowledge now. She wanted to see it as if for the first time. Finding new ways through. New rocks to climb. New branches to duck from.

It did not take long to reach the waterfall. She knew she did not have much time left. She walked to the bank of the river and sat down on her knees before carefully laying down the smooth stone at the edge of the water.

“Oh regent of the forest, hear my voice. The guardian of the stone calls on you once again, ”she said loudly and made the proper gestures in the air. When she did, the ground under the water began to move. The sand and stones formed an old, bald man, moss making up his long beard. Up from the sand at the edge of the river, a hand was formed that lifted the smooth stone. The man now stood in front of Kaija, and held out his hand with the stone towards her. He said nothing, but still talked to her.

“You say I have to bring the stone up the hill?" said Kaija. "But the Humlers are right behind me." She looked into the stones that made up the man's eyes. He looked back at her before turning his head to the side. There on the ground lay a thick branch. She looked skeptically at the crooked stick on the hill. Suddenly she realized it. She knew what it was.

"Mother Earth's holy staff," she said quietly to herself. She took the stone from the man's outstretched hand and got up before she went forward and took a firm hold of the branch. She held it high above her head. It was a little too heavy for her to hold steadily, but she swung it down and so brought it to the ground. No creature could take her on now.

When she turned her gaze back, the Regent of the Forest had retreated back to the riverbed. The sound of a broken twig told her she was not alone. At the edge of the forest sat three creatures, two with short knives and one with a bow in his hand, sitting on a rock. Kaija grabbed the staff with two hands and held it outstretched in front of her. Come on, I'm ready.

They threw themselves after her, but as she felt the might of the forest surge through the staff and to her, she could easily throw herself to the side. She only just managed to get to her feet before one of the creatures attacked her again. She swung the staff sharply towards the creature. It hit him right across the chest. She saw the creature disappear in dark fog in front of her. It was like hitting the air.

Kaija aimed at one of them and jumped forward, while an arrow flew over her head. In the middle of the jump, she hit the staff hard against towards the ground, and saw another creature turn into dark fog beneath it. She turned to the last creature. It raised its bow and fired several arrows One by one, the arrows were struck by Mother Earth's holy staff and were destroyed. Kaija lifted the staff up to shoulder height and held it like a rifle. She had seen her father do it several times before. A white ray was fired from the staff and struck the creature.

She exhaled, but it was not over yet for Kaija, the Guardian of the Stone. She knew that more Humlers could not be far away. The altar table at the top of the hill, she thought, put the smooth stone in her pocket and began to run.

Kaija never used to go up on the hill. Her father had always warned her not to be there because it was too dangerous. But the safety of the forest hung in the balance, she thought, smiling to herself as she pushed herself up the steep hill.

It did not go as fast as she had thought, and she looked often around to see that no one would follow her. A loud bang in the near distance snapped her back to where she was going. She felt a lump in her stomach. Little Kaija ran all she could up what was left of the hill. Another large bang. She could see the large rock that was up on the hill in front of her. From it you could look down on the village. She ran fast though her legs ached, up onto the rock and looked out over her hometown.

Little Kaija looked down in shock as the tanks rolled into the city. She dropped the stick onto the rock below her.

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