The Battle of the Elven Forest
“Alright, who are the teams?” I asked my other three friends, standing around in a circle on the freshly-cut green lawn.
“You and Turk versus me and Ols,” said Hoff. He always could make a snap decision in a heartbeat.
Turk and I looked at each other and agreed. He was thin and quick and would be usefful. We claimed the “Elven Forest” which was a group of five mature oak trees in the corner of Hoff’s backyard. The privacy of our adventure was protected by an unpainted, tall wooden fence, like the palisade of some ancient Viking fort.
Ols and Hoff begrudgingly accepted their fate of becoming orcs. The pair would be guarding and protecting the high patio deck. It was virtually a tower to the chocolate-colored castle.
Two artifacts, namely an old bowling trophy and a pair of hedge trimmers, were made the prizes. Turk and I had to protect the magic statue, while Ols and Hoff protected the Sheers of Atlas.
We gathered our weapons for the imminent battle. Hoff had cut up two of his unused hockey sticks to be swords. A mace was created from a pillow bunched up into a ratty, light green pillow case and a spear without the pointy end was made from a push-broom handle with the head removed. Aluminum garbage can lids provided our protection from the light hits that we would receive. Sixth grader innovations and imaginations are unparalleled. At that time we were quite resourceful with what we had on hand.
I took a hockey stick long sword, and Turk grabbed the mace. He looked quite the warrior in his sky-blue C-3PO shirt and denim shorts and knee-high socks. He had a white sweat band to hold back his dishwater-blond locks from getting in his eyes. The Minnesota summers did get hot.
We parted from neutral ground to our respective camps. In the Elven Forest, a war council of two was being held. Turk asked, “So, what do we do?”
I always loved strategy games like chess, Risk and Othello, and I had many opportunities to apply tactics to such wonderful games as “kick the can”, “capture the flag” and “king of the hill” in winter. I was training for this moment.
But now weapons were involved which changed things quite a bit. Of course, we did not want to hurt each other and we had an understood boys’ agreement just to hit weapons and shields and not the body, except with the mace. That was fair game, and probably explains why Turk took it up. His father was into karate and Turk had picked up some sparing techniques, so he was a warrior in training. Though I was larger than my other three friends, Turk and I were often evenly matched when wrestling in his dad’s basement on the foam pads. He would be a good in this upcoming fight.
We kids just felt like we wanted to act out what we experienced when we played the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Instead of paper characters of imagination, we were living, breathing elves. Actually Turk kind of resembled what I thought an elf looked like, with a long, slender nose and slightly pointed ears.
I responded to Turks question with authority saying, “Well, we’ve got to get to those clippers. I think it’d be best if one of us protects the statue while the other hits the tower.”
I was always a bit cautious, never willing to commit one hundred percent. I always needed something in reserve, so I found the middle ground to an all out attack. To get at the clippers, we would have to go up a flight of stairs onto the deck, as opposed to them having simply to stroll into our forest to claim the magical statue.
“So, who’s going to go? You or me?”
I felt glad in a way that he was willing to accept me as king of the forest that day. Usually he called the shots when we played at his house.
“You go and try to get it. Be sneaky and quick like a ninja. They’ll probably do what we are doing.”
Turk’s mouth was twisted up in reaction my plan, and he cast his eyes down. But when he glanced at his mace swinging in his right hand at his side, he pepped up a bit and said, “I’ll try.”
I smacked him on the shoulder and with a freckled grin said, “Don’t worry. I’ll hold them off if they get past you.”
Turk smiled, and we were suddenly surprised by Ols playing his brass band trumpet which he brought over as the signal that the conflict between orcs and elves was about to begin. He tried to make a motivating call to war, but it sounded like some song that was used by marching bands during the fourth of July parades. Ols caught Turk and I chuckling a bit at his attempt to add flavor to our game and he bared his teeth and pointed down to us. He raced to the stairs and wanted to get at us. Hoff tried to calm him down, but rage flowed within him.
Turk headed out of the forest swinging his mace around and around. Lifting my sword and shield, I took a defensive stance. The three and a half foot piece of wood was smooth to the touch, but a bit awkward to hold, as it was rectangular, as opposed to the round handle grips that I was used to with tennis rackets.
To help improve our odds, I quickly stashed the golden idol under a large root of the tree which was coming out of the ground and back in. It reminded me of pictures of the Lochness monster photos which were on TV. It was not the best hiding spot, but it was not readily seen without a good look.
My attention went to Turk as Ols, in his black t-shirt, was running headlong towards my elven friend. Ols was wielding the spear and looked like he wanted to ram it through Turk’s shield. Turk stopped in his tracks and lifted his shield to receive the blow and offer his own, if he did not get hit.
The battle of the Elven forest had begun.