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There is some manner of dark conjurer living in these woods. Far beyond the fringes of Briar Gate, small and unassuming as the village is. Deep within the thicket, where not even hardy souls dare to venture. Past wizened oaks riddled with Gloomshade; home to things one wouldn’t find in even the oldest tomes. In a place where shadows stir with untold secrets akin to rustling leaves. He works his foul magicks, and should not be trusted.

Each night the sky blossoms not only with stars, but the distant murmurings of ancient words unfurling upon an ominous gale. Parents cover young ears to their siren song, their ravaged nerves only soothed by the eventual return of sunlight and the conventions of another day in rural absolution. Their dues having been paid in sleepless hours spent wondering just when peaceful co-existence with that thing which dwells in the woods will come to a violent end.

It’s during the thirteenth Spring since war came to a close, having dwindled into petty squabbles over ruins and dust that another arrives with no small measure of ceremony. He’s young, uncommonly beautiful despite foreign garb which shimmers in the height of noon, and speaks soft, rounded vowels and consonants which charm without intention.

Magicks cling to his dewy skin and upon the tip of a set of deft, delicate fingers which seem fated to meddle in anything and everything of a botanical nature. He offers smiles freely, as if untainted by the rigours of a country divided by conflict. More importantly that most else, his presence in the village doesn’t come at a price, and he seems wholly unaware of the notion of hawking tinctures, pills, and potions to bring idling crops back to fruition.

There is however, one thorn, one niggling seed of doubt that is sown by his frequent meanderings across the questionable, worn wooden boards of the bridge that spans a brook bordering the village.

~ * TBC * ~