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The Twisting Forest

  • It was a rather bitter day in early September. The kind of day one would sit at home, in front of a fireplace, sipping a mug of tea with a good book. Not the kind of day to take a journey through the Twisting Forests, but needs must. In the Summer, the Twisting forest was a place of beauty, with blooming branches dotting every corner of the landscape, vibrant woodland creatures darting through the trees in a never-ending game of tag and bright birds floating overhead, curiously watching any passersby with beady eyes. It was a wondrous fantasy to experience.

    However, this was not Summer, but rather late Autumn. It may have been called a forest, but the trees provided little shelter, their leaves having fallen lazily to the floor ages ago. Bare, the trees resembled hagged figures, crouching down as if they wanted to snatch the coach from the winding path it was scurrying along. A gale wind tore through the forest, howling, screaming, crying. Rain plummeted from the overcast clouds, forming murky puddles on the forest floor. A dark, sunless sky loomed above. 

    Grey creatures stalked between the gnarled trunks. Their fur was soaked bare, the relentless rain drenching them to their core but it did not stop them; They kept watching the coach, intent and unforgiving as ever.
    The horses kept pulling on the reins nervously, much to the annoyance of the old coach-driver, who every few minutes could be heard shouting at the poor beasts and then cracking his whip above their heads. The horses responded with a loud whiny and the carriage picked up pace. The coach would shake with their effort, then slow and before long the process would repeat.

    Inside the coach, clinging to his seat, was a young man of around 20. His wide eyes watched the forest for any beasts that could emerge. The jacket wrapped around his shoulders was not his. This was clear to see, as the garment was a few sizes too small and certainly too short. His companion, whom the jacket belonged to and a curious man of 19, did not sit on the seat, but rather stood upon it, muddying the cushion tremendously. His head poked out of the window, resting on his hands. He watched the forest with undiluted glee, gasping with delight at any creature that appeared not caring whether it was friend or foe. He would tug his head inside, gesturing wildly at his friend to glance at whatever he had glimpsed, but by the time he had managed to untangle his companion’s hand from the cushion, the critter was gone.

    Another figure sat opposite, but did not acknowledge either of them. A long greatsword hung from their waist, a bored look lingered in their eyes. They were the one in charge here, it was clear to see from the way they sat themselves: opposite and between both men. They had said nothing throughout the bumpy trip, but this was not uncommon for them. Finally, they had enough of the youngest man's antics and grabbed him roughly by the shoulder, wrenching him back down into his seat. He stared at them in shock and a bewildered look crossed his face but the figure only sighed in relief. 

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