Heading Into the Shadows

With the snap of wood echoing around, Barden’s hand drifted down to the hilt of the blade strapped to his waist. Fingers closed around it, and the sword was halfway out of its scabbard when he heard a familiar voice.

“What are you doing out here?”

Seconds later the slender form of Wolf appeared out of the dancing shadows cast by the dark and twisted shadows of the tall oak trees.

It was then, as he exhaled sharply, that Barden realised he had been holding his breath. The gleaming sword situated in the scabbard wasn’t his. Indeed, Barden had “appropriated” it from his foster father as he had left their homestead. And although Barden had used a sword before, often when sparring with his adoptive parent, he had never used it before in a proper conflict.

By way of answer to Wolf’s question, Barden gestured with his arms, encompassing the breadth of the forest.

“The trees. They weren’t here a couple of days ago. There’s a feeling of.....wrongness here in the village. Don’t tell me that you haven’t felt it?”

Staring at Wolf, Barden knew that the other youngster would indeed have felt it, indeed that he would have been drawn here for similar reasons that Barden himself had. Wolf was something of an enigma to Barden. He wasn’t like the other village-folk, and indeed there was the aura of an outsider. The quiet, softly spoken youngster often did not deign to interact with others, and in doing so somewhat further perpetuated the notion of being an outsider.

“There’s something inside here, I can feel it. And I guess you do too, by the fact that you are here too.”

Here, standing at the edge of the forest, Barden pointed to the shadowy interior. A morass of twisted trees and large, ominous looking shadows. The forest itself called to him....it beckoned him inwards. There was something in there. Of that Barden was sure.

Looking first from Wolf, and then to Amale, Barden shrugged his shoulders. What he was doing was not just reckless, but dangerous. But then, he was never one to think of the consequences.

“I’m going in. You’re welcome to join me if you like.”

And with that he walked boldly into the shadows.

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