A World of Eternal Twilight

He moved forwards into the dark recesses of the forest’s interior, leaving the outside world behind him. And yes, it was like stepping from one world into another. The world he had left behind him was both dangerous and brutal. It was harsh and it was unrelenting. Out there, should Lady Luck decide to abandon you, should you lose focus for a single second you would be dead. Yet another victim of a cold frozen wasteland that did not care about who it took for itself.

Yet out there was a shared camaraderie. Because if nothing else, what this frozen landscape did was force each and every person who lived within it to become one. Everyone in Lonelywood shared a common purpose. Survival. It was a village of many people. Good people, thieves, criminals fleeing their past..... Yes, Lonelywood was a place for those who did seek to escape their past. Here, they would not be judged. Here, they would be accepted irrespective of what they had done before. Because here, that did not matter anymore, not in this ceaseless fight for survival.

Barden felt the change in the air as soon as he left the light of the outside behind him and stepped into the shadow-wrought oak trees. This....this was something entirely different. This was another world. A world of twisting and writhing shadows. It was a world of rot and decay. A world of eternal twilight. And yes, as his eyes scanned forwards, trying to pierce the gloom of the forest, trying to see past the dancing shadows in front of him he was in no doubt.

Barden shivered, and not from the cold or the snow. Looking back, he tried to make out the forms of his companions, but it was hard to do so amidst the darkness.

“Amale, Wolf, are you there?” he whispered.

His voice echoed around him almost as if there was someone else there, inside this pathway of ancient, gnarled oaks. Ahead of him, under his feet he could make out a dirt track, partially hidden by the snow. A trail. It was something at least.

Suddenly stopping, dropping to one knee, Barden shrugged his backpack off.

“We should carry a light before we go too much farther,” his voice was barely more than a whisper, his unease at the way his voice had carried before evident.

Unfastening the straps of his pack, Barden drew out a length of slender wood that he had borrowed from his house’s store of wood. Unfortunately though....

“Anyone got anything to light this?”

Blue eyes attempted again to pick out the shadowy forms of his companions.

As they did so he did not see the green tendril from one of the nearby trees begin to creep out along the crowd towards the group, hidden as it was by the darkness....

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