“I can feel the rhythm of the hooves in my heart. Beating like war drums steadily guiding me on. The horse’s galloping is my lullaby throughout this hostile wood. Fog’s rising mist bathes the leaves and muddy soil beneath my beast. Darkened woods with the chill of a pale and anemic daylight envelope my existence. We ride onward. How long have we been here in this forest? We’ve crossed through pleasant hill country with pockets of sunlit meadows. Gentle reminders that the beauty I desperately ride towards exists. I’ve been through the deserts with its scorching sands and seemingly endless heat waves. Tightly it squeezes out the life of anything that would audaciously try and thrive in its realm. A harsher reminder that this place is not where I am to stay.
I’ve sacrificed, yes I have sacrificed. I’ve lost family to the bandits seeking my life. I found their lifeless corpses with slashed throats pouring their lifeblood out on the steps of our great home. The bandit’s blood lust is never satiated. They sought my life, attacking me ravenously in the hallowed halls of our house. There in the halls with the bodies of my family still warm, I fought for hours slicing and stabbing my way to an exit. The dead eyes of my family member’s bodies still gazing out like an enraptured audience. There was no time to mourn them. Only avenge to what little measure was afforded me and then escape with my small pack and the horse I now ride. How long ago was that now? Will I ever be afforded time to mourn?
Faster still my horse and I rode until we reached this enchanted wood. There I met them. I have seen those women of legend. The sensualists with eyes of desire that ignite the passion in any man. Like a raging fire they are consumed by lust until there is nothing left of the man. They surrounded me in these very woods when I was overcome by sleep. I awoke to their shining almost inhuman eyes peering into me. Like glittering diamonds carefully and lovingly placed in the sockets of a porcelain face smoother than the finest silk. Their movements so purposed and graceful it was as if they could only dance. Not simply trudge about like some ape. Their hands so gently caressing and guiding me into a trance. Tales have told how these women of the forest with their glowing white yet translucent gowns can surmise the totality of a man’s desire with a single glance. They understand him and how he would have them. Whether he is driven to bestial behavior and takes them like an animal or must be softly wooed into temptation. They use any means to start the fire inside him. Watching him burn into ash and embers is the only source of warmth for them in these woods. I could not find the strength in myself to gut them like the bandits that died by my hand. I simply fled like a mother with her newborn, flames of a wild fire licking the heels. The newborn embodying what little innocence I have left in this life.
So where will I go? My friends from childhood succumbed to the enemy’s religion. The religion of many. They took up rival war banners and betrayed me. Or was it I who betrayed them? Some don’t even know it but would have my blood on their hands before giving up their infernal machinations. I have been riding so long now I am forgetting their faces. I am forgetting the bonds of youthful camaraderie that forged us together. All I know is the hostile world around me with its glimpses of TELOS.
TELOS is where I will go. TELOS is where I’m going. I keep riding East. I will kill any lawless brigand or dear friend that comes between me and my end. I must cross a great expanse of ocean to arrive at my land of rest. When I reach that ocean I will thank my Maker for seeing me through and with my steed I will cross into TELOS.”