In the beginning, the Earth was young and wild, and its internal fire came out in an abundance of flames. The first creatures of reason, the most ancient race on earth, roamed its surface. Their bodies were made of stone and their life was supported by the magic earthly energy called “volcanic milk”. Their race evolved slowly over billions of years. The stone people could hear the voice of the Earth, they had magic powers and referred to themselves as “noble people”, which was “trocks” in their language. Years passed. The Earth exhausted its energy, woods covered its surface and creatures of flesh and blood appeared. The trock age was over. They grew fewer with each extinguished volcano. Cut off from the living energy of the Earth’s nucleus, the magical trocks, thousands of years old, fell deep asleep underground and in time resembled plain rocks. Close to the volcanoes, small groups of trocks survived. Without continuity, the trock race quickly lost its old knowledge and noble nature. The trocks gave in to anger, jealously and hatred of the Living World – the new organic life that was evolving fast around them.
The last trock kingdom Volcania is a big tropical island. The capital is built picturesquely round the rocky throat of the Volcano. The streets are abuzz with the joyful preparations for the big Rockthrowing Tournament. Everyone seems exhilarated: only Prince Grizzlebetter Raaf is thoughtful. His younger brother Grouf, an enormous and kindhearted tough trock, plays rough jokes on him that show Grizzlebetter’s weakness – his love for the Green World. The princes are rivals for the favours of the beautiful Darra. Queen Grimalda is busy overseeing the organization of the Rockthrowing Tournament. She argues against Toramat’s insistence that the Tournament is held in the Valley, where it is likely to cause greatest damage. The queen is obliged to honour an ancient agreement about the Valley which the Shaman thinks obsolete. But Grimalda has another motive – to protect Grizzlebetter, and that doesn’t escape the Shaman’s attention. The Queen of Volcania, Grimalda Raaf, is anxious about her first-born son. She remembers the time when her strange little Grizzlebetter loved to listen to the Earth and the roots it contained. And now, contrary to the rules of good behaviour, Grizzlebetter spends his time in the Valley and is even growing a small oak in his ear. The prince’s behaviour raises the sharp disapproval of the traditionalist trocks, and in particular that of the Shaman of the Kingdom, Toramat, who dreams of the old times when the world belonged only to the trocks. Toramat is afraid that the world is changing and Grizzlebetter is a harbinger who gives a bad example to the young trocks. The Shaman kindles the opposition between the two brothers by trying to get the younger one, Grouf, on his side. Grizzlebetter makes an effort to be a good son. He tries to explain to his mother that what he does, not only doesn’t harm anyone, but on the contrary - might be beneficial for the trocks. His arguments do not convince the queen of the trocks. Grimalda is sad to find out that Grizzlebetter feels happiest only in the Valley. In the Valley the prince has many animal friends, as well as a secret garden with flowers which he tends lovingly. Grizzlebetter’s best friend is the mouse Tyff-Tyff – a smart, brave and boastful. But not all the animals trust the trock prince. The wolf Chihle, for example, does not believe his good intentions and doubts his every move. There is a constant if undeclared war between the trocks and the organic Living world: the plants and the animas slowly occupy the rocky lands of the trocks, and the trocks themselves are overgrown in moss and lichen. The heavy stone people in their turn chase the animals and pull out the plants; the training sessions for the Rockthrowing Tournaments damage the soil and stop any plants from growing on it..
Darra, the object of the two princes’ attention, is a serious young lady, and assistant of the aged library-custodian Aleef. Darra dreams of being able to read the ancient trock runes in the library and to return the old knowledge to the trocks. She has had some small successes, which the Queen and Toramat take keen interest in. But progress is slow and difficult, because no-one remembers the old writing, not even the librarian Aleef, who is so old that he has developed an impulse to bury himself underground. According to legend, the books need to be preserved and “listened to”, and so Aleef doesn’t try to read but listens keenly to the sounds of the cave-library and dreams the dreams that they send him. The privilege of interpreting the librarian’s dreams and the messages from the ancestors belongs to Toramat. The Shaman believes that the trocks need to return their world and interprets the librarian’s dreams one-sidedly. The possibility exists that Darra might be able to read the ancient writing and pose a threat to Toramat’s plans. And there is another obstacle on the path of his ambitions for power – Queen Grimalda’s strong authority. In the Valley, Grizzlebetter has to prove his good intentions when he is put to the test by the wolf Chihle. Some amusing misunderstandings arise from that and Grizzlebetter stays in the Valley for three days. The preparations for the Rockthrowing Tournament are all done. Only two days to go. Suddenly Toramat realizes that growing an oak in the ear is quite trendy and the young trocks are having fun with the rustling of the young trees. This is the final straw. Enraged, he tries to awaken the Volcano using his spell. The Shaman is capable of a few spells which he has inherited and his magic powers are weak – a distant echo from the times when trocks used to be magical creatures. A peel of thunder resounds, but the Volcano stands calm. What no-one notices is that along with the thunder something enormous rises like a mountain range from the bottom of the ocean. The thunder is heard in the Valley and the animals feel trouble looming, and the mogpie birds are most insistent. Grizzlebetter returns to the capital. Toramat has just called a meeting and is solemnly declaring his ambitions: it is time for the trock race to march towards a new age of greatness and dominate the world again, in the name of the great ancestor Eah. The Shaman refers to the legend about Eah who foretold that after a long withdrawal the trock people would recreate the world. And according to Toramat the time has come. To start with, the Valley and all things living have to be turned to cinder. The Shaman thinks that some old trocks have survived on the bottom of the ocean and they can be awakened for a new life. They can help increase the number of the volcanoes and so a new trock age will begin… Grizzlebetter keenly opposes the Shaman’s destructive plan, but he doesn’t have any definite support. Grimalda interjects with different arguments. The Queen feels that Toramat’s interpretation of her great-great-grandfather Eah’s prophecy is wrong and firmly opposes the Shaman’s ideas. She calls on Eah’s precept which has so far been respected by the Kings of Volcania: “Nothing justifies war, but war is the justification of the weak, ignorant and self-seeking.” Grimalda believes that the Shaman’s plan could even be perilous for the trock community for another reason – the earth’s energy has been depleted and has to be used sparingly. Her opinion is supported by the findings of young Darra who tries to read the main sign in the trock cave library. One of the signs says that the more power the Volcano gives, the more it takes away and everything needs to stay in balance. Toramat ridicules Darra’s ability ‘to read the runes’. But Grimalda’s authority is strong and the people are divided. Toramat is angered but doesn’t dare challenge the Queen openly. The Shaman starts to meet trocks one by one to foment discontent and meanwhile intensifies the volcanic activity with spells to dull the trocks’ reasoning and make them more gullible. The heightened volcanic activity makes the animals irritable and they start arguing among themselves and with Grizzlebetter. The discord cause the animals to regroup. Grizzlebetter tries to predict the development of events so he can protect his friends. Tyff-Tyff helps him look round. The volcanic activity gives Grimalda a headache and she begins to feel a strange destructive power in her hands. The Queen is disturbed by this. More and more trocks join Toramat and fewer support her. Grimalda realizes that the people’s intoxication cannot be stopped with words. This is more so because the increased energy of the Volcano has intoxicated the minds of the trocks while Toramat keeps fuelling their destructiveness and hatred towards the Green World. The exhilarated trocks attack furiously all the living things around them. Grizzlebetter becomes the object of constant attacks from the young trocks. Only the Queen’s authority keeps them in check, but it seems this won’t last.
Grimalda tries to undo the consequences from the Shaman’s actions and to save the library with the help of Darra and Aleef. The knowledge in the library poses a threat to Toramat’s increasing influence and he secretly tries to thwart their plans: with the help of magic he digs a trench between the Volcano and the library and buries one of the exits which makes it difficult for Grimalda and Darra. The Shaman uses the Queen’s absence and announces a Rockthrowing Tournament in the Valley itself – something that Grimalda has never ever allowed. The plan is that the Rockthrowers will destroy the Valley. Grizzlebetter opposes but to no effect, and so he decides to prepare an animal rescue operation. However, a group of trocks sets a trap for the prince disguised as a coarse joke. When Grimalda and Darra came out of the library, they encounter a capital in chaos and disorder. Grizzlebetter breaks free with the help of Tyff-Tyff. But in the Valley not all animals are prepared to leave their homes. The wolf Chihle is openly suspicious that Grizzlebetter is an accomplice in a conspiracy against the Living World. The tension in the Valley intensifies: on the one hand the young trocks headed by Grouf keep firing from the hills above, and on the other the tremors caused by the Volcano get more and more powerful. When the tremors fracture the earth, the Valley is gripped by panic. Grizzlebetter’s plan for the migration of the animals seems the only option at this critical moment. The animals from the Valley start a massive and troubled migration towards the sea shore, whichever way (or on top of whoever) they can. The flying birds carry the smaller animals along. Grizzlebetter puts some of the animals on top of his body and slides down the screes. The migration can be seen from the capital and the trocks are indignant. To strengthen his position, the Shaman calls a traitor everyone who stands in the way of the trocks’ rise to power. He dethrones Grimalda and locks her up in the stone prison. Then he announces a competition for the capture of Grizzlebetter and the destruction of the Valley. Grouf is declared the new King and chief of the trocks. But the good-natured Grouf does not like Toramat’s aggression and for the first time begins to think about how events are unfolding. The first bursts of lava start pouring out of the Volcano. Frantic chaos ensues and the trocks, as if off their heads, set off on a destructive rampage. Negotiating waterfalls and gorges, Grizzlebetter and the animals reach the shore. The prince’s back is hurt. It’s moving how the animals tend to his bruises. As he walks away from the Volcano, Grizzlebetter becomes more slow and distracted. The animals head towards Sandy Island across the sea where they will be far enough from the trock capital and the Volcano. The animals swim or float on tree trunks, while the trock walks along the underwater range gathering drowning animals. Grizzlebetter falls asleep under the water. Tyff-Tyff tries to wake him up. Just then, right in front of his terrified look, the depths open up and engulf Grizzlebetter. The courageous mouse despairs at the loss of his friend. Meanwhile a powerful earthquake starts. Sandy Island breaks up. Suddenly Tyff-Tyff spots Grizzlebetter‘s body and rushes towards him. With his last drops of strength the mouse and a few other animals try to lift the heavy prince on the inclined plateau, propping him up with stones. The entrance to the library is covered with lava. The old librarian refuses to leave the library and in the climax of the cataclysm he falls asleep. In his dream the ancestor Eah comes out of the stony books speaking with an unclear and booming voice and showing the earth lifeless and icebound. Aleef wakes up, being carried by Darra. The earth is rocked by earthquakes. The Volcano erupts powerfully spilling lava on most of the island and turning everything to ashes. With his persistence, Toramat has reached the deepest levels of the Volcano. From there a powerful bluish energy surges and the underwater crest swells. The Shaman points towards Sandy Island as it disintegrates and makes a knowing comment about the death of Grizzlebetter and the Green World. Toramat solemnly declares the end of the Green World and the beginning of the new age of the trocks. The trocks are exhilarated. Darra attempts to free Grimalda from prison, while having to look after Aleef, who’s burying himself. Grimalda is distraught and refuses to leave her cell. Darra wants to arouse the Queen’s fighting spirit and sense of responsibility. However, Sandy Island hasn’t disappeared completely – a small stony plateau has remained, with a high and steep edge. That’s where most of the animals and Grizzlebetter are. It turns out the Prince is still alive, but numb. The animals are all trapped. The only one who can help them is Grizzlebetter. They discuss their predicament. The magpies fly away to the Volcano to ask for advice and help from the prince’s mother, only to see that she needs help too. The magpies reach Grimalda and Darra and share events. Possessed by doubt, Grouf sits on the shore enveloped in lava, trying to think things through. It’s a difficult task for him and he now sits hitting his head with a stone (remembering his brother, mother and the idyllic life), doing what he knows best – breaking off and hurling huge chunks of rock that reverberate on the bottom of the sea. Just then, something enormous starts to rise, and the head of a gigantic ancient trock covered in corals appears.
The ancient trock is called Eah – the legendary great-grandfather of Grouf and Grizzlebetter. Eah looks displeased. Grouf, on his part, is still too confused and furious to listen to his ancestor. Grouf tells his great-great-great-grandfather about ‘Toramat’s just cause’ and his ‘damned’ midget older brother who always gets mixed up in something. Grimalda gets a grip when she hears the story of the magpies and finds out that Grizzlebetter is alive. The strong desire to help her son awakens the Queen’s instinctive magic and she breaks out of the cell. This comes as a surprise to all, most of all to her. But Grimalda has no time to get control of her powers, because Toramat comes and starts a fight with her. Toramat is filled with fury and confidence in the spells he possesses. But Grimalda is a mother who is trying to reach her son. The trocks, bewildered, wait to see the outcome of the battle. Behind them, the Volcano is beginning to calm. Meanwhile, Eah tells Grouf about how Toramat never listened to Aleef’s dreams and the messages from the ancestors, nor to the advice of his chief, Grimalda, nor to the Gardener. With his selfish wishes and actions, the Shaman has broken the equilibrium in the world. Grouf doesn’t know who the Gardener is, but Eah is overwhelmed by anger and continues to talk about the mission of the trock race: when they get old and have enough magical wisdom and power, the trocks bury themselves deep, but don’t die and do not become rocks, instead they merge their consciousness with the Earth. That is the beginning of the next stage of the development of the trock race – the Creation. The process has taken place on thousands of planets with their own Sun, but it has only been successful on a few of them of which the Earth is one. The Creation gives the world the next phase of Sapience: the thing that will give meaning to the Universe. The trocks on the surface have to take care of the Creation, to keep the knowledge and listen to the Earth. Their leader is to be the Gardener who hears in his heart the voice of the Earth and his ancestors. With the depletion of the earthly energy it is rare that a Gardener is born and so the trock race has started to lose its way. Trocks like the primitive and ignorant Toramat always try to stop evolution, make the world go back and obliterate the meaning of the trock existence. Meanwhile, Grizzlebetter lies on the plateau, numb. The animals stand around him, quiet and sad. But what is the Creation? And Grouf realizes something that stuns him... Grouf strides along the burnt land of Volcania. His steps are heavy, and he’s got a changed look – it is clear that he possesses an unknown power, and his strong arms shine with the blue light of the magnetic discharges of the earthly energy. The Volcano is extinguished and is cooling off. The eruption has used up its energy and the trocks sit on the ground dejected and exhausted with aching heads. The exultation has died down. Toramat is dismayed by Grouf’s transformation. The animals on Sandy Island watch stunned the emergence of Eah’s gigantic head from the water. Smoky water trickles down from it. The Creation: The trocks have created Life on earth – grass, trees, animals. Life needs to ‘grow up’ to have a higher reason – powerful, generous and all-reaching if it is to find new meaning for the Universe. Life is the poetry of the trock race – poetry that one day has to save the trocks and world sapience from the pointlessness of existence. Because “does the tree fall in the woods if there is noone to hear it?” Eah is saying this as he carries in his gigantic, smoky arms Grouf, Darra and Grimalda. Eah carefully places the trocks on the high sandy plateau, next to the numb Grizzlebetter. The animals stand guard in front of him. Grimalda stamps her staff. A geyser springs. Grouf takes his brother to the geyser and the water brings Grizzlebetter back to life. Eah waves goodbye and disappears under the water of the ocean.
Seven years later. The Volcano is cold and overgrown with trees. Trocks and animals live together on the plateau around a big Geyser. The Earth’s warmth is harnessed in a system of pipes and pools. Life is now everywhere in the trock settlement, and trocks and animals live together. Many young trocks grow trees in their ears. “The world is a Trock who looks after us so we can in turn take care of him”, says Tyff-Tyff simply to the young animals gathered around. Grizzlebetter smiles nearby. The wolf Chihle, Grizzlebetter’s archenemy among the animals, nods to him: “And he was the Gardener. But we knew that without the old trocks telling us. He has no feeling for landscape design.” Trocks and animals laugh. Toramat the Shaman murmurs under his nose that this silly thing about life will be over one day, and trocks will be reborn. “Is this the crown of nature? The living things will kill each other. Hark, my words! I am still the Shaman and can hear the voice of Mother Earth.” The magpies listen and cackle mockingly. And the ice caps are melting.