The rain had finally let down as I found myself traveling one of the winding roads that lead through the endless forest. Torchlight barely covered enough of the path to provide good vision, but, I could make do. My revolvers, heavy as they were, hung below my waist–positioned in a cross draw fashion.
I found myself approaching a fork in the pathway, one headed North, one headed North West. West was a direction my mother and father always told me is a very dangerous place. I began to walk.
The trees had started turning from the bright green leaves to a more orange and white colored pattern. Puddles drenched most of this pathway, which meant it was covered in mud. My boots already kicked mud about the place as I walked and it appeared to only get deeper the further in you went.
Several Miles later I found myself coming to a large, Orange and White washed tree in the center of the path. The Leaves were orange and burnt with white residue on them. The Trunk, that stood at an amazing 20 feet in the air, appeared to be bleeding this white residue. I quickly found myself in awe of the trees horrifying beauty. As I stood there, something appeared from the side –
A long-fingered hand wrapped itself around the tree, tapping it’s pointer finger several times onto the bark. Next, a tall, slender-hunched figure stepped out from behind it. Its face was wooden, like that of the very tree, its features were non-existent except for its frown. It stood 9 feet in the air.
A FOREST SPIRIT
My mother warned me of these, legend tells of these creatures called Hollowlings. Only referred to as spirits by village elders as a way to describe something they aren’t sure of. The spirit approached me ever so slightly, not in a cautious manner but more of a taunting way. It strode to me, standing in front of me as it hunched over, it’s wooden frown directly in front of my face.
“Hello, Arkn Crow from the village Dedra, from the south.” The spirit spoke with a female voice. Chills went down my spine, and before I could even draw my revolvers, I froze. Dead in my tracks.
“You appear to be a wonderful offering, my dear. I should feast upon your flesh for several days. Your village has been kind to me” The spirit spoke of things I was unaware of. My mother’s voice began to lecture me once again in the back of my head–”Hollowlings will tell you anything to feast upon you. They survive on the blood of those lost wandering souls that find themselves too far deep in the forest of endless.”
“Let me pass, spirit,” I spoke out finally, my voice shaken.
“I only wish to devour your flesh, traveler. It won’t hurt, much. If that is at all comforting? I’ll make sure you’re pleasured before hand.” The spirit spoke as it caressed my face. Its long fingers, slimy as they were, felt almost soft.
Ok, before we continue, I would like to clear a couple things up that I feel are priority information you must know about me.
1. I am not tempted by the sexual desires of others nor am I impressed by those that are.
2. I do not enjoy being some tall bitches lunch. It is not the kind of events I find to be fun. That being said - -
I tried to reach for my revolvers, again to no avail. I was unable to move. Maybe this was the end? I found the thought of ending up as the forest spirits lunch sickening, and soon I was to be pleasured by this thing as well? I almost threw up on the spot. The spirit moved even closer to me, I closed my eyes and suddenly?
I heard a droning sound that seemed to get louder as the seconds went on. I Opened my eyes to see the spirit, covered in some kind of sigil art I have never seen the likes of before. The lines almost flowed perfectly.
A perfectly executed channeling I might add.
The artwork glowed brightly as the Destrus sun itself. Before coming to a climax, I swear I heard something in the distance, a word. “Yoink?” followed by several gunshots. Closing my eyes once again as the spirit flashed into nonexistance, its bellowing screams of pain deafening me. I took cover under my arms for protection, from the ash that seemed to burst out of the monster.
Once the screams were gone, I found myself on the ground, looking up at another arkn. He stood at 6 feet tall. He had some weight to him but he didn’t slouch. his beard hung down passed the chin. He wore a long black coat, matching the wide-brimmed hat and held a revolver, one of the nicest looking ones I had ever seen, outstretched in the direction of where I now sat.
The man spun his revolver as if to show off some skill, as he slid it into a hidden holster under his coat. He brushed some ash debris from his clothing and, finally, tipped his hat towards me as he approached.
“Need a hand, young lady?” he spoke in a very young voice. I accepted his hand and allowed myself to stand up.
“I didn’t need saving, you know.” The first words from my mouth, no thank you. No questions. Instant Defense. The truth is he did save my life, but I wasn’t going to admit that to a man who I have never seen before, who also didn’t appear to even be from around here.
“Apologies, My Lady, I did not mean to offend. I only meant to offer an assistance as it appeared you needed some.” The man spoke again as he brushed the ash off me.
He knew of my lady status, though? How was this? I had never seen the likes of a man dressed this way before, but, he seemed to know who I was?
“How do you know I’m a lady?” I asked simply ignoring all else. The man grinned under his beard.
“What?” I asked, again defensively.
“The ink markings on your arms, they imply you’re from the Crow family, am I mistaken?” The man spoke as a matter of factly.
“Th-the, no You’re not wrong.” I must have been under the influence of the spirit still as I do not stutter in the presence of anyone. The man smiled.
“That makes you, judging by your appearance and your attitude, my little cousin, Cardinal. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Vulture. I come from Mistria.