The Blighted Wood

They came from the woods, those blighted things. Like some foetid growth they churned forth from the black clutches of the trees, trodding over fields of freshly sown wheat. They advanced slowly, steadily, towards our village, silent save for the scrape of bone.

They were the dead. Our dead. The damned remnants of those we buried in the wood, given new life by the creeping evil that lurks within. Roots wound their way over pallid skeletons, pulsing and writhing with horrid life. Like sinew they compelled the rotten husks of our fallen kin, driving them forth with monstrous purpose.

I was in the field that day, tending to a small garden of herbs I kept by my modest home. When the first cries of horror reached me I feared bandits had stormed our village, intent on looting. In panic I ducked within my cottage, ripping my fathers sword from its place on the mantle. From my pantry I procured a crude shield, and thusly armed stormed out my front door. Turning towards the forest I readied myself.

But no foe of flesh and blood presented itself. What lay before me was far more monstrous. A creeping wall of root and bone marched toward me, a soulless hunger giving them vile purpose. I froze were I stood, the sword falling from my hand.

What followed was but a blur of manic terror. All I remember was the all consuming need to escape the oncoming legion of the dead. Like a madman I plunged through the woods that encircled my village, tripping over gnarled roots and misshapen stones.

When my wits returned I stood before the great gates of our lord’s castle, bloodied and battered. I approached the nearest guard, pleading my case. But my pleas drew not but mockery from the porcine fool, and I was denied an audience with the baron.

I know not what befell my home, my neighbours. I pray they escaped, but doubt gnaws at my mind. Any hopes of returning with help have been dashed, all those I had begged for assistance labelling me a madman. I will not return to that place alone.

I will continue to search for help. Come the morning I shall make for the capital, in the hopes that I may find some soul who will believe me. I have to warn others, to save them from a force I could not save my home from.

Even now I feel the cold, hollow eyes of those things upon me. I shall take the most travelled paths, avoiding the tree-shadowed routes were I can.

I fear the forest is not done with me.

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