Writing Group: The Forest Will Change You (PRIVATE)

Hello everyone!

This week for the writing group, we’re taking a step back from the metaphysical, the weird, the reality-warping. This time, it seems we’ll be spending some time looking inward. And we’ll be doing it through a very interesting lens, because…

This week’s prompt is:

 

The Forest Will Change You

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES AT THE BOTTOM OF POST
Read them to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

There’s something kind of resonant about this one. Maybe it’s the way forests are often used to represent bewilderment, confusion, disorientation. People go into the wood and get lost. Sometimes it’s because they stray from the beaten path, sometimes the fae are playing cruel tricks. Sometimes, for the unluckiest travelers, the beast has caught their scent.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to ignore the ominous side of forests in fiction. They’re places of uncertainty and concealment, places where it’s easy not to find your way back. Kind of sounds like a lot of things we face in life. Could be the forest of grief, the forest of love, the forest of ambition. Whatever the case, you wander in find that you can’t quite wander back out.

But that’s all highly metaphorical. As always, you can take the literal route as well. Maybe the forest will *literally* change something about you. Maybe your soul can get caught in the branches if you’re not careful, or maybe the tree sap gets into your blood and does strange things to your flesh.

The important thing here is that this prompt comes in three implicit pieces: an equilibrium (the journey starts), a transition (the journey through the wood), and a change (the journey ends). You don’t necessarily have to do it that way, but those look to be the essential components. Hit all three, and I think you start to hit the soul of this idea.

But as always, those are only signposts. If you’ve ever read a fairy tale, you know half their purpose is to be disobeyed.

I look forward to what strange paths you all choose to follow through the leaves.

 

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

 

Rules and Guidelines

We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from this public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • Submissions close at 4:00pm CST each Friday.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
  • You must leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long (if you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post).
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or credits will be provided.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

 

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Darragh Counihan
Darragh Counihan
8 months ago

“Unevolved” by OrigonStory2000
Whether or not I wake or dream, it does not matter. The lights of world dance at the edge of my senses. I sway over uneven ground, blind to the path I take but unafraid of where I tread. She would not hurt me, as I would not hurt my own child, because there is trust between us, that neither of us will betray.
I stop, feeling my ears flush with the overflowing hum of the trees, their rustles a hymn to the life of the world. Each ray of moonlight through the leaves is a star, reflected and refracted with every shift of the branches, an infinity of cosmos created and destroyed each and every moment. Their beauty is only for my eyes to behold.
Quickly, I disappear through those stars, higher and beyond. Aged bark gives way to rough stone and hewn cliff face, as the world falls away below. The air dashes past, mischievous and cold, it cuts at my fingers, but I feel no fear. It is like me, another child of hers, and she will not let her children harm one another.
The cliffs flatten and plateau, and from here I see that endless rolling ocean of emerald, buffeted with silver wind and awash in sapphire light. Every element is a part of her, and yet all of her at the same time. The wind bites once more, and I let forth a howl loud enough to silence Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyrus all at once. A thousand voices rise in chorus, the walls of the mountains opening their maws to echo my cry. And so quick as it came, it is gone.
Far off on the horizon, a single red flower blooms, surrounded by dark figures, huddled in fear.
One day, they will understand.

Brick
Brick
9 months ago

So You Want to Join the Network — Now What?
by Brickosaur

Congratulation on your decision to join the Network! We’re so happy for you. We’re sure you’re curious about your night in Albino Forest and life online. This is designed to answer your questions and make you happy.

In a few nights, you’ll take a special train to the Forest. It’s easy to spot — just look for the all-white plants! You’ll be sleeping there, inside one of our specially-designed Venus pods. Find an open one without any red, and step inside. That’s it — the pod will do the rest! It’ll give you a nice hug to keep you secure all night.

Once you’ve been enveloped by the pod, you’ll feel little pricks — just like getting shots. Be happy! The pod is doing its job.
First it’ll give you a mixture to help you sleep.
Then, throughout the night, it’ll release pollen full of millions of Nano-Interfacers. As you breathe them in, they’ll make their way to your brain and anchor to its cells. The Nanos will bond to your neurons, enabling you to communicate with the Network. When you wake up, you’ll be one of us!

That’s it! After you leave Albino Forest, another train will bring you to us! We’ll help you begin your new life in the Network, and all will be so happy.

We’re sure you’ve noticed many grown-ups don’t talk much, and you might be worried that’ll happen to you. In the Network, we can communicate fastest with just our minds. So we just do that! As you get used to speaking this way, you may find yourself losing language. It’s perfectly all right! Thanks to our gift, we no longer need to rely on slow, primitive voices.

You may have also seen how happy all of us are. It’s another gift! The Nano-Interfacers stimulate our brains just perfect, so that we’re always happy and content, whatever we’re doing.
Everyone’s always satisfied in the Network.

We just know you’re going to love your new life on the other side. We’re all happy you’re joining the fold, and you’re going to be so happy, too!

So

Very

Happy

🙂

gregovin
gregovin
9 months ago

“The anomaly in the forest” by gregovin

It was well known among the tourists that a local legend stated that sometimes those who entered the forest would come back changed, as great warriors who had no need for food, water, shelter, or sleep.

Rayna, as a local, knew this was simply means to attract tourists.

She would not have thought about it except for the fact that on her hike through she had stumbled on a plaque detailing the legend in the park. She decided to take out her phone and post a picture of it, captioning it “look, someone decided this is a tourist trap too” and continued without a second thought.

A few hours later, Rayna realized she must have made a wrong turn somewhere as she had come to a path with an incomprehensible label that she was certain did not exist on her map. She retraced her steps but half an hour later she ended up in exactly the same place, even though she was absolutely sure she had not gone in a circle.

Rayna decided to follow the sign, as she was sure she could find her way back to the correct path home if she wandered a little bit, and did not want to go in circles all day.

After another two hours Rayna was on the right path, and she realized she had not had a drink of water for the last hour and was not feeling even a little thirsty or delirious. She decided to have a drink anyways.

When Rayna got home, she was surprised that she was not even a little tired, hungry, or thirsty from her excursion. She played with her brothers and was quite glad to be home. Her parents had been a little concerned about her going on the hike alone, but she did not have any friends to go with. This concerned her little. She had trouble eating dinner and sleeping. She decided to talk to a doctor the next day. When she woke up early and went outside without her jacket, she noticed the frost and did not feel at all cold.

Samantha Realynn
Samantha Realynn
9 months ago

“Hope Broken” by Samantha Realynn

She wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t afraid.

Maybe if she said it enough times, she would begin to believe it. She wrapped her arms around herself in a vain attempt for warmth. The air bit into her exposed skin and made her chest burn. Every step was slow and careful, a misstep would be disastrous. Par the course for a forest in Hell.

Talei looked around, trying to see something other than the demonic trees that surrounded her. Branches stretched toward her like claws, eager for blood. She was on the only path she could see, riddled with roots to ensnare and trip. Another torment to break her.

How long had she been here? The forest, Hell in general, she didn’t know. She focused on holding herself together, refusing to break under Johnny’s torture. He wouldn’t have her, or her magic. She forced her numb legs to carry her forward, carefully stepping around the twisted roots. She would escape, get back to James. She held onto that hope. Her life, and her sanity, depended on it.

Something caught in her tangled hair and she panicked, frantically yanking away from the branch. A mistake. A root caught her foot and she fell to the forest floor. She thrashed as more grabbed at her body; her raw throat unable to scream. She felt them press into her skin, drinking the blood the savage bark drew from her. Pure terror gripped her just as tightly. Her magic was bound, she couldn’t call even a spark. She wouldn’t die, not right away. Johnny had delighted in detailing how long they would keep her alive, painfully draining her as she was kept paralyzed and awake through it all. She was alone, there was no help coming-

She screamed as loudly as her throat could manage, sobbing and crying out for any help. Her weakened body lay limp as she begged for help. Then the roots parted as quickly as they had pounced, her body carefully lifted by warm arms that held her close. Talei sobbed in relief, weakly clinging to Johnny as they left the forest.

Phoenix
Phoenix
9 months ago

“The Forest’s Edge”, submitted by Phoenix

“You wish to go into the forest, boy?”

The young man stopped at the edge of the copse of trees, where the path lead into the wood. Light barely shone through the thick foliage, leaving only tiny pinpricks of light on the path ahead. The path seemed to stretch for some time, into the distance, to the point where the end couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. He turned to the voice that had addressed him.

“You cannot stop me, Hermit.”, the young man spoke, puffing out his chest, “This is the way that it has to be.”

The hermit simply smirked, “Does it though? You think that this will change anything for you?”

“It’ll change everything,” the young man replied.

A sharp laugh erupted from the hermit, before it devolved into a hoarse cough. Still, a wheezy laugh escaped his lips, “You think it will change? All you’re doing is leaving behind everything you’ve ever known. And for what? Simple wanderlust.”

The young man scoffed, “You wouldn’t understand, you old fool.”

“Oh, but I do understand,” the hermit grinned toothlessly, “You think that by going on some grand journey, you will be able to better yourself. What do you seek to change, boy? You think that your family would appreciate you leaving?”

“My family is of no concern to you,” the young man angrily snarled.

“I suppose not,” the hermit admitted, “But someone must be concerned for them. What would your wife think, or your son?”

The young man looked resolute. The hermit only chuckled dryly in response, “So, that’s it then. You leave behind everything because you grow weary of it. Then by all means, walk the path ahead of you. But be warned… once you walk down this path, you will never be able to return, no matter how much you try.”

The man grunted as he readjusted his pack, and took off down the trail. Suddenly, he felt his heart ache. He turned to look over his shoulder, down the path he had taken. The copse had closed. The forest swallowed him.

Phoenix
Phoenix
9 months ago

“At Forest’s Edge”, submitted by Phoenix

“You wish to go into the forest, boy?”

The young man stopped at the edge of the copse of trees, where the path lead into the wood. Light barely shone through the thick foliage, leaving only tiny pinpricks of light on the path ahead. The path seemed to stretch for some time, into the distance, to the point where the end couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. He turned to the voice that had addressed him.

“You cannot stop me, Hermit.”, the young man spoke, puffing out his chest, “This is the way that it has to be.”

The hermit simply smirked, “Does it though? You think that this will change anything for you?”

“It’ll change everything,” the young man replied.

A sharp laugh erupted from the hermit, before it devolved into a hoarse cough. Still, a wheezy laugh escaped his lips, “You think it will change? All you’re doing is leaving behind everything you’ve ever known. And for what? Simple wanderlust.”

The young man scoffed, “You wouldn’t understand, you old fool.”

“Oh, but I do understand,” the hermit grinned toothlessly, “You think that by going on some grand journey, you will be able to better yourself. What do you seek to change, boy? You think that your family would appreciate you leaving?”

“My family is of no concern to you,” the young man angrily snarled.

“I suppose not,” the hermit admitted, “But someone must be concerned for them. What would your wife think, or your son?”

The young man looked resolute. The hermit only chuckled dryly in response, “So, that’s it then. You leave behind everything because you grow weary of it. Then by all means, walk the path ahead of you. But be warned… once you walk down this path, you will never be able to return, no matter how much you try.”

The man grunted as he readjusted his pack, and took off down the trail. Suddenly, he felt his heart ache. He turned to look over his shoulder, down the path he had taken. The copse had closed. The forest swallowed him.

elisabethwise
elisabethwise
9 months ago

I’m super interested by this!! I’m such a fan of character dynamics, and the relationship between the old hermit and the young man is so engaging. I’m interested in knowing more about these characters: where is the young man coming from? why is he going into the forest? is the hermit some kind of guardian over the forest? There’s a lot to explore here and you’ve done a fantastic job fitting it into a piece of microfiction. This reminds me of a lot of the classic high fantasy novels I read growing up, and it feels nostalgic to me. Great job, friend!!!

EDIT: Floating reply; original submission deleted

Lord_Gatte
Lord_Gatte
9 months ago

Title: The Forest of Regret
Written by: T.S.G. Sager

“Where are you taking me?” Myoni asked, walking closely beside Izunagi, the god of Space and all things living in between the cracks. Izunagi pointed directly forward, towards a lush sea of magnificent oaks. Some of them were empty, barren of any leaves. But majority of them stood high, decorated in breathtaking greens, reds, and yellows. They spread across the horizon, farther than the eye could see.

“Myoni, what you see ahead of you is the Forest of Infinity. It is my garden, and it stretches into forever. Every branch is a different timeline. Every leaf contains a single universe. Within them, is every story ever told.” Izunagi explained.

“Okay, but why am I here?”

“To find the story you left behind.”

The two entered the forest. Myoni quickly clutched the god’s silver toned hand. Beads of sweat trickled from Myoni’s cobalt hair. Because while Myoni showed no fear of the trials that led him here, the thought of the infinite labyrinth scared him like never before. Or was it what the labyrinth could reveal that truly had him afraid?

After what felt like eons of hiking, they finally came to a stop. Izunagi held out his hand, and a branch lowered itself, a singular leaf draped itself on his palm. “Why did you leave, Myoni?”

“I-I mean you’re the god, you should-”

“Know? I’m not like the humans believe. I only know the present and past. Now, why did you leave?” The god repeated, stoic and sombrely.

“Because. I’m a monster, I did it to save them…” Myoni answered, hanging his head.

“Is that true, or merely how you view yourself?” Myoni didn’t respond as the god brought him closer. The leaf was no longer a mere leaf, instead it became a window into the very universe he fled from.

“What is it the leaf is showing you?” Izunagi asked, after a few moments.

“M-My friends… They look devastated… They’re… Looking for me.” Myoni stammered, tears welling up in his eyes. “I miss them.”

“Do you still think they’re better off with you gone?”

“I don’t know anymore.”

ArkansanDragon
ArkansanDragon
9 months ago

“Dark Angel With a Rifle” by Magan (fanfic of *Star Wars: The Mandalorian*) (350 words)

(AUTHOR’S NOTES: I kept spoilers as vague as possible, but this takes place at the end of episode 4, so for those who haven’t seen up to that point, SPOILERS! The title is homage to a music video by youtuber LilianHearts about the Mandalorian and “Baby Yoda” relationship to the song “Angel With a Shotgun”.)

The cart rolled slowly through the nighttime forest. The Mandalorian warrior slept lightly, wary after that day’s scare. A small weight on his chest and the scratch of tiny claws on steel roused him. He opened eyes hidden by his helmet, kept his breathing steady in feigned sleep. The small alien child stared back at him, hesitant. It somehow always knew his mood, though never saw his face. It probably sensed he was awake. The baby’s expression was troubled, half asleep. Had it been dreaming?

Mando lay still, waiting. The green baby took that as permission and clambered up. It hooked clawed hands around edges of his breastplate and lay sprawled on its stomach. The human stared, confused. The night was warm, but his armor was cold and hard. Why sleep there instead of the blanket he’d provided?

The child cooed softly, went back to sleep, one ear pressed against the metal. Could it hear Mando’s heartbeat with those big ears? The thought was an odd one, strangely comforting, yet terrifying that such a tiny creature trusted him so completely. This child had been the Mandalorian’s prey, yet he’d lost his job, his reputation, nearly lost both their lives, to protect it. The bounty guild would never stop hunting them, ruining the babe’s chance at a happy, simple life. So what now?

More than once, he questioned his choice. Never before had he shown mercy to a mark. It was more than that the child had saved his life with its strange power. Sympathy for a fellow orphan? Hatred of the Imperial remnants who sought it? He couldn’t say.

The child whimpered in sleep. Those kind villagers called it his son. Mando had rolled with the mistake, lying low. He knew little of parenting, being childless. But weeks turned it from a lie into something more.

Another whimper, the babe clutched tighter to his breastplate. The warrior’s arm curled gently, protectively around the boy until it calmed, asleep again. Mando closed his eyes, still holding the child.

Father and son slept peacefully as the cart rolled through the moonlit woods.

Christophe Duchesne
Christophe Duchesne
9 months ago

“Artificial World” Submitted by Alkarius

“I used to be hopeless, but satisfied with what I did. But now…”
That’s what Ivanna told her self as she lumbered down the snowy, metal, path.
Her long, straight, silver hair contrasted with her face, dirtied by the soot. The forest of discolored concrete around her was all she had ever seen, a cold, never-ending megastructure of endless, purposeless buildings and factories built by the Silicon life forms that her people knew as the machines.

It had been many generations since they arrived, no one knew who made them or why. They were simply preying on the weak making our condition worse. The remaining humans had to either fight or hide.

Who would make such terrible things, especially when humanity was just starting to recover from the old war? This was not a good way to live. That’s why she and her team went in search of a cure for this place.

You would wonder why a frail young girl like Ivanna would go to such dangerous territories, right? The reason was simple yet complicated, she could talk with the machines, understand them, she went out to the end of the world to shut down Motherboard, put an end to this endless nightmare. It was the impetus of change that had pushed them this far, though the one who changed the most was her.

Ivanna was the last one of her kind. Rurik, a young soldier who she traveled with, had given his life for her to make it this far but she was at the end of her strength. As the girl fell on her knees, in front of the giant Machine, she looked upward and started to shed tears.

“…Now, I am hopeful, yet discontent. I am sure someone, someday will do what I couldn’t.”

This artificial forest would not change, but lying on the ground, each breath leaving her one less to her last, she knew that change would come, maybe not to the world, but to its people who will inevitably be changed by it.

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elisabethwise
elisabethwise
9 months ago

“The Seer and the Vessel” Submitted by: elisabethwise

He had recognized her careful footsteps crunching through the snow, heard the chatter in her brain growing louder as she approached from behind. Without looking up, Randall mumbled: “You shouldn’t be out here at this time of night, little vessel.”

“Why not?” His partner, his newest fling, Delilah, sat down next to him, legs dangling off the cliff, eyes following the shore of Castle Lake receding into the forest far below.

“Isn’t safe for a delicate thing like you.” He looked behind him; the porch light was on, a flickering yellow beacon less than a hundred yards away. “Go back inside. You wouldn’t want Esther to worry.”

“Oh, I…” She fidgeted with the zipper of her puffy jacket. “I wanted to ask you something.”

His eyes dropped, down to the shimmering ice upon the lake. “You’re scared of me, aren’t you?”

“What? No, I—”

“You don’t think I can hear what’s going on in that pretty head of yours. You saw what happened during prayer. You saw too much, and you know that. Have you forgotten the atonement for false witness, little vessel?”

Her cheeks flushed crimson. If she could have flung herself from the cliffside, she would have. “I’m sorry, sir.”

He wrapped chilly fingers around her wrist. “A tongue. Many things you can do with a tongue. You don’t want to lose that, do you?”

She shook her head.

“Good.” He let her go. “Inside, little lamb. Now. Don’t make Esther come out here looking for you.”

Turning around one last time, taking in the view of a lonely figure meditating on the edge of a cliff, she confessed. “I was going to ask you why you haven’t moved in three days, Randy.” She sighed. “I miss you.”

Before he could reply, she was far away, back in the comfort of their home. And he was alone, with nothing but the forest, the lake, and the loaded revolver at his side.

Margaret Couplet
Margaret Couplet
9 months ago

Not A Sapling, by Margaret Couplet

The bloated form of the Cold Moon hung in the sky, it’s entourage of stars twinkling beside it like a thousand court ladies wearing diamonds at their throats but it was still dark under the cool shadows of the forest. The branches above Magdel’s head woven together so tightly that the cloth makers of the Capital would be jealous of nature’s craftsmanship.

Magdel gazed at them, at the tiny square of space they had formed above her head so that she could catch the barest glimpse of the sky. Before it would have been a comfort, a sign that she could escape given enough ingenuity but now…

Now, that glimpse of sky sent a shiver of sensation down her spine to sit behind the scar that smiled from hip to hip.

Magdel had no need for the sky, not after she had bled for the earth beneath her, for the saplings swaying around her in the faint breeze, for the deer hiding in the undergrowth and the fox by her feet.

“The forest will change you.” They had said, whispered like a warning of impending doom.

They need not have been worried, at least not of that.

Magdel had always been… different, quiet and shy, the magic running through her blood more powerful than any in living memory. The promise of prosperity growing heavier and heavier on her shoulders as she grew.

“The forest will change you.”

And it had.

She cared not for the whispers now, for the warnings that had once quelled her. She was not that little girl anymore, that child that had obeyed until she had broken, shattered into a thousand pieces.

Magdel was stronger now, a willow in truth rather than a sapling likely to be crushed under the weight of its own leaves.

She lowered her gaze from the sky to smile at the man who had just stepped past the edge of the treeline, mouth filled with a wolf’s teeth.
“Hello, gorgeous,” she purred. “This won’t hurt a bit.”

The horror on his face was even more beautiful frozen in death.

Connor/Dragoneye
Connor/Dragoneye
9 months ago

“The Mosslore Memorium” Submitted by Connor/Dragoneye

Dazori sat underneath the grove, with the Arkstone firmly planted before him. The runic etches along its polished surface emanated a faint green glow that matched his lush surroundings.

While peering closely at the stone, he spotted a small brassy shape skitter, only for a long trail of tiny blips to follow closely behind it.

The Slaver Beetle. Behind it, its “caravan”.

“Daz,” a voice uttered behind him. Verder sat himself beside his troubled nephew, embracing him with an arm around his shoulders. “So, are you excited about going to the Dreaming School?”

Silence hung in the air, and Daz’s face remained in solemnity. It allowed the birds’ chirping and the gusting winds to overtake the acoustic void.

Verder broke the silence, “Think about it. You get to attend the most prestigious place of Sorcerous learning. How about that, huh?”

Once again, no response. Verder sighed in defeat before he unveiled his brother’s wand and placed it on Dazori’s lap. “Please talk with me, Daz. It hurts me as much as it hurts you. We can… work through it together.”

Daz’s cold expression cracked, with tears streaming down his face. He shoved the wand back into his uncle’s hands before curling up into a ball and obscuring his face. “He wanted you to have this.”

“I don’t want it.”

Verder hid the scowl he would normally give and instead responded calmly, “Yes you do. It’s been your life dream to be a Sorcerer. Your father would want you to chase it until it submitted to your will.”

“Submitted to my will,” Daz whispered to himself, looking back at the Slaver Beetle. Its inherent Sorcery to shackle any other insect to its will remained its namesake.

“He would be so proud of you.” After giving him a one sided hug, Verder stood up and walked out from the grove, leaving the wand beside his nephew.

Dazori, the Slaver Beetle. Death, the caravan.

His mind swirled with endless imagination. Many tried to uncover the true words for “life” and “death”, but everything uncovered revealed them to be blank.

This wouldn’t stop Daz.

revisis
revisis
9 months ago

“Rebirth by Blood” Submitted by Exce

There is a saying by the people of Moriesha.
If you enter the forest, you will return changed.

If one ate enough of it, or ate something that ate enough, it’s magic could be passed over to you.

I had my own magic, and yet I sought change.

Me and my wife stood at the border of the woods, fresh graves behind us and broken underbrush in front.

After saving the world through destruction I had sought a way to distract myself…to change what I saw in myself. It lead me here.

A mad guardian deity, killing those it was meant to protect, hiding in the forest around the village.

Lady had tried to dissuade me, telling me that they were called deities for a reason. Of course I knew that, I had met others.

We both knew what she was not saying out loud. What I wasnt saying. It could be suicide, and how I was readily accepting that option.

She handed me her helmet, its copper-like metal warm under my fingers. And as I put it on I felt the greater strength fill me. Like a fire around my soul.

I entered the forest, using the Sword of the Chandryaans to cut through branches and twigs following the imprints on the floor and the smell of blood. There was a small clearing with a rock formation, and on that formation stood a bipedal beast. A muscular, fur-covered body with gleaming claws and a great mane.

I do not remember the fight. It was long, and painful.

When I came back to myself, my armor was torn to shreds. Even the divine helmet had been marred and the sword broken in two…

I took thorny vines to drag the dead beast, staggering back towards the village.
My mind struggleing with the mist of exhaustion, I finally came to a decision.

The people had lost their guardian, their protector against the wild beasts of this continent.
And as my blood mixed with the dirt I realized.

By killing the old one, the burden would fall to me.

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