The snow grew shallow, so they no longer needed the three joined lights of the Protectors to melt it any further.
Not much of the Forest in front of them had snow, but all the natural debris covering the ground, had been considerably wet.
There were patches of snow here and there, mostly in the areas around the tree trunks.
The three fused lights separated, then disappeared, and from across the distance, Astrid, Jack, Tesmorlah, Cristoph and all of them, gazed at the gargantuan and amorphous pit, of where the Tree’s base and roots once had been nurtured, and given life from the earth.
They stopped! Something wasn’t right! Then suddenly, a thunderous rumble echoed from all around them! The rumble grew deafening, and then, they found the source of the disturbance!
From every direction, Dark Creatures, of all shapes, kinds, and sizes, came charging at them, roaring, growling and screeching! They turned their backs to one another, forming a defensive circle! Lithia and Cristoph drew their swords, and the rest, stood in their attack stance.
As the growling, drooling, dark and demented monsters had been finally within range, Lithia began chucking her knives upon them, and Tesmorlah blasted them with her solar breath; and more damaging, her solar blowout that burned like the sun and caused her to skid back on her feet a little! Helen, Angelus, and the three Protectors started igniting blasts of their own elemental powers, while Amerroth, Astrid and Jack had shot off fireballs and magic of all sorts, executing them persistently!
Still, it barely did anything about the numbers of them, more and more just kept coming! It was a matter of who could outlast who, at this point.
“Astrid! Bring back the Tree! You must hurry!” Amerroth shouted as he threw off spheres and shards of black electricity, followed by a giant blast of the same dark electric fire; and the fiery electric shot, plowed into the stampeding and flooding Dark Creatures, blowing thousands of them away! The bodies set fire, plummeting from high above, onto the Creatures now below, in a rain of burning flesh! But now, even more intensely they came swarming towards them!
“Hurry! Get to the crater!” Amerroth shouted once more!
Astrid mad-dashed towards the pit, speaking spells in a vicious whisper.
She began to surge off incredibly fast, blowing the Dark Creatures back and away from her with destructive fireballs!
Jack continued to fight against the Dark Creatures, but then he glanced at Astrid and couldn’t take it anymore!
He whispered, and put his hand out. A bright light shone from his palm, and he pulled a staff from out of it, with his other hand!
He hastened after Astrid, running at an unbelievable degree, holding the staff in both hands firmly out in front of him. He spoke in a violent whisper as he collided into the sea of demons; his staff lengthened out on both sides. It then shined with an incredibly bright light, and right as it came in contact with the Dark Creatures he had now charged at, they turned black; and then into ashes, and blew away behind him in the rushing air, produced by his remarkable movement.
He had caught up to Astrid now, who had just jumped off the edge of the crater; just as he had reached her!
He leapt forth and freefell on after her! He was not going to let her do this alone.
He reached for her, and grabbed onto her, embracing her, and pulled her into him, so that their faces were almost touching. He kissed her, then looked at her, while breathing a whisper through his slightly opened mouth. “I’m sorry Astrid…wherever it is you go, I want to be with you. I love you.”
Astrid looked into Jack’s eyes endearingly and kissed him ever so gently, as she spoke her last words only for his ears. “I love you too. Hold onto me and never let me go.”
They hit the ground and a large mushroom cloud of dust blew up, rolling out of the pit as a rippling nova.
When the dust had cleared, they appeared lying on the ground side-by-side, with their limbs broken, and blood running out from their mouths, noses and ears.
A sharp cracking snapped through the Forest! The ground of the crater began to break, and a castigating cloud of white light edged with faith, blasted out from the crater and swept over the ground, knocking every single one of the Dark Creatures down and putting them to sleep! Cristoph and Lithia, Amerroth and Tesmorlah, Rif and Helen, Angelus and the three Protectors remained standing… and stared in awe at the sight of the crater… glowing green.
The ground shook!
A new Tree of Beginning forced its way out of the earth, and exhausted the Forest with fracturing and twisting ricocheted sounds, as it grew extraordinarily fast into an even larger Tree than it was before.
There stood the Tree of Beginning, Life, and Light; mighty and majestic. Rapidly, the trees all around, now miraculously grew luscious green leaves, and the moss regained its life and turned exquisite green; and all the plants over the Forest floor became healthy again.
Beautiful flowers of kinds unknown to man grew out from the Tree of Beginning, and spread through the Forest in all directions; for the first time in a long time, sun had poured down from the sky, warming the Forest.
The Forest was healed…the war between the Darkness and the Light was over…the balance had been restored.
Angelus bent his brows, looking intently at something from on the Tree which caught his eye! He drew closer to it.
The whole lower section of the Tree’s bark was knotted in an image of Astrid and Jack holding each other adoringly. The intimacy was beautiful; great affection was perpetually molded into this sacred Tree to be everlasting.
“What is it?” Helen asked as Angelus stared at the Tree.
Angelus had pointed to where he was gazing and Helen came over nearer to him, and saw also what was there twisted in the Tree; Jack and Astrid holding each other in their arms.