I had entered the Forgotten Forest days ago wandering farther into its interior than any man before me ever had. But it wasn’t for courage that I pushed on. It was for fear. I wasn’t an intrepid explorer of new worlds. I was a fugitive on the run from Death herself. I had pulled off quite the trick in escaping her but she is relentless as she is merciless. She demanded my life. I was due to enter her realm of the dead. But I clung so greedily to life that I refused to go out on her terms. So here I am in the only place I could think of to give her the slip. The Forgotten Forest is so thickly wooded and soaked in so much ancient magic as well as mythical creatures, that any mortal man or woman with a shred of common sense knows to stay well away. But circumstances circumstances….
There was also that legend. The one about the guardian of this place. I didn’t know if it was true. It was by far the greatest deterrent to any potential trespassers. It was the reason these woods remained untouched by the industrious minds of men. There was supposedly a spirit, THE Spirit of the Wood. It stalked about its domain as a ruler overseeing its kingdom. As to the nature of its mood, who can say? Was it to be found ornery? Amiable? Did it even exist? I found myself to be an amputated member of the human race. Not only was I the one person running from his Deathly fate, I was the only one running INTO the Forgotten Forest HOPING to find the Spirit of the Wood.
I had set up camp in a decently sized open plot of the forest, setting up my animal skin tent propped up on sticks (not from these trees) and had a fire going when the atmosphere began to change. It had been relatively peaceful with just the occasional grunting and howling of who-knows-what magical creature somewhere off in the dark distance. But I heard a soft sound like rushing water slowly ascending in volume. It was coming toward where I sat by the fire. No, it wasn’t water it was…wind? Was she here? Had Death found me after all? I sprang to my feet waiting, scanning in the direction of where the sound was flowing. I heard branches from the ancient trees cracking and snapping as they bent with the force of the wind. It was here.
“Traveler why have you come trampling into my land?
Answer me quickly or punishment of you I shall demand!”
H-hello? I hear your voice, Spirit, but I cannot see you. Pray, come forward so we may converse one to another more simply for my sake.
“You fleshly creature making requests for your sake.
Do you not see it is the same sake which is now at stake?”
Yes, forgive me Spirit. I have come here seeking sanctuary from another Spirit. Lady Death seeks my life and chases me endlessly. I came here to hoping to escape her clutches and beg your protection if you can offer it.
“Death, yes I know her well.
My own sister born from hell.”
As she said the last line the trees began bending and swaying in unison as if in an alien dance. Then in a sight which I can scarcely describe the branches began bending and cracking as they pulled together from several trees to form the outline of a body! A female form with eye sockets and mouth formed by spaces between all the twigs and branches.
“She always craves and her appetite has no end.
Ever crying out for more souls than life can lend.”