Chapter 4: The Road Less Traveled

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So by now it was quite apparent that something was wrong with me; I guess it just took the death of a friendly Forest guy to make me truly realize my ordeal. I walk the paved paths of my wooded sanctuary, no longer feeling safe. I'd go to the tavern to try to drink down all my problems and not a single soul seemed to notice I was even there. I'd walk up to the bartender and he'd slip me a drink without even looking at me. Quite weird, but hey, I've never been much of a social butterfly anyway. These circumstances simply improve my peaceful cloud gazing, and coincidentally, that is what I did with most of my time. It's just strange to think that Tuck had told me we would have to leave the Forest to get me "stabilized" or whatever he called it. You'd think I'd be excited, what with me having shown a nagging curiosity just earlier that day, and I probably would've been too had I even been informed of what this adventure would consist of.

"Marion, it's time." I heard Tuck's voice say as I looked away from the clouds for the first time all day, only to find him looking at me with a gaunt expression. "Finally. What's it been, a week since you pitched this adventure of your's?" I groaned. "I had to make preparations. Leaving the Forest and coming back with our skins intact won't be an easy task." Tuck explained. I sat up, wiping the grass from my clothes. I noticed a pack on him. "So what's in the pack?" He slid it off and took out a sharp piece of metal. "You'll want to have this." He handed it to me, and I grabbed it, looking it over in awe. "A sword?! Awesome!" It was a thin, needle-like blade with the hilt strapped in leather for grip. "We've never had to forge weapons, so I hope you forgive the blacksmith for his less-than-professional workmanship." Tuck stated. I forced myself to look away from the weapon to respond, "Nah, it's fine. I should be able to stab things just fine, if I feel the need, of course." I swung it around, slicing up imaginary baddies with ease. But then I started to wonder. "Tuck, what kind of things are out there? That I might have to kill with this thing, I mean." Tuck stood up and forced the pack back on to his shoulders. "Things more deadly than even your imagination could comprehend." I didn't really know how to respond to that, I mean, how are you supposed to respond to certain death? I wrapped a leather sheathe around my person and inserted my blade, "Fair enough." I responded.

The Forest folk gathered around us as we neared the border. "Mayor, how do you plan to solve this? That girl is a menace!" A critical man yelled. "All will be fixed soon. There is no need to worry." Tuck assured. I followed him as we cut our way through masses of disapproving citizens. Tuck stopped and turned to face the crowd. "Promise me that you will keep the Forest safe while I'm gone. I'd rather not return to a wasteland." With that he turned and led me through the Forest border. Together we began our journey through the deadly unknown, the first of our kind to be so foolish.

"So what is our goal here, exactly?" I asked. "To get you under control. We can't have you frying up anymore of our friendly Forest folk, now can we?" Tuck said with a smirk. "True, true." It's not like I even understood what caused that, but I guess I ought to own up to it. We walked through the Forest, bright sunbeams cutting through the trees and butterflies flitting at every corner. "We're nearing the other side. Just promise me you'll keep your eyeballs in your head when we enter, 'kay?" "I will make no such promises." Tuck grabbed a large branch and forced it away, clearing a path into our new world. I walked through, blinded by bright light. "Welcome", Tuck said as I opened my eyes to see, "To Uruthyn."

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