“Go on an Adventure, they said.”
You roll to the side just in time, as a giant spider spits a sticky, paralyzing web at the little patch of ground you had been occupying only moments before. Sweat plasters your hair to your forehead and temples, curling the drenched locks at the back of your neck. No one told you how hot the forest was going to be, all heavy steaming mist and sticky wet clothing. Of course, the layers of armour weighing on your back don’t help either. It’s a wonder you can move at all, let alone dodge the seemingly endless onslaught of things trying to kill you. If it isn’t giant spiders, then it’s bound to be quicksand, deranged blood mages, or hell-bent sentient vines trying to drag you to your demise.
With the last of your will and stamina, you use the momentum generated by your dodge to strike at the ugly spider, running it clean through. It barely has time to screech, a gruesome high sound, before it’s severed thorax lands on the carpeted forest floor with a dull thud. Eight giant legs shoot out as the beast dies, dancing in the air, not unlike the sorry feet of a man left to hang, before curling up underneath itself. You pull your sword out of the carcass to find it covered in toxic green blood. As you collapse onto your back, you stare up at the endless treetops that block out the sky and cast dangerous shadows on the ground below.
“It’ll be fun; they said,” you mutter as exhaustion begins to overcome you.
Just to be clear, you know falling asleep on the forest floor is inadvisable but so far your day has been terrible. So terrible, in fact, that the very real possibility of being swallowed alive, captured, or strangled in your sleep seems like a welcomed respite after having come this far.
Your eyes slide shut, and the forest fades into darkness as sleep tempts you into its warm embrace. Drifting between sleep and wakefulness, you realize the profound silence surrounding you. There is no bird song or wind. No life in a place that is supposed to be teaming with it, just the oppressive quiet working to smother you.
It’s for this reason that you hear what you might not have heard, had there been the regular cacophony of life sounds one would expect in the forest. A small voice whispers your name. Like an echo, it bounces off the trees around you, slipping into your ear and startling you fully awake.
When you sit up, your limbs still feel like stone, but your heart is racing; thump, thumping in your throat.
You pull yourself up, standing on shaky legs, turning to find the source of the ghostly call. You take one step forward, then another, walking along the overgrown path, your head swinging from side to side like a large, stupid ox.
Then there it is again!
You spin around and find yourself staring down a dark column of twisted trees. The avenue stretches for as long as you can see, before being swallowed in darkness, like the yawning maw of a giant snake. Your name echoes back to you once more, rumbling through the fibre of your being.
A quick glance at the torn map in your travelling gear confirms what you already know: this path is unmarked. In fact, it leads away from your intended destination, the Ruins of Ringkirk. You know that danger, gold, and glory lay in the ruins but the mystery of the forest path piques your interest.
What do you do?
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