This was not the first haunted forest Fang had explored, but something about the ghostwoods seemed different. They were more ancient than any other.
Fang was no historian, he swung a sword too well to be effective with any other study, but he had picked up information in his wanderings. The ghostwoods were many things to the different races. The Florari claimed they were the first forest. Humans considered them the gateway to the afterlife. Many early kinds were said to have wandered into the ghostwoods to die, engining their reigns.
Fang shuddered at this, thinking of his son, Aeyn. Fang had learned a terrible secret long ago about his heritage - one that he dare not think of readily - it brought him discomfort. Fang had tried to keep this hidden from Aeyn, but had failed. Since then, his son, now in his thirties, had been hoping to achieve the purpose he had presumed was Fang’s own.
But Fang did not want to rule. He wished to put down the feral kingdom.
For Aeyn, all there was, it seemed, was a birthright. Perhaps Fang had humored his first son too much as a child, feeling guilty for things, such as his mother’s fate.
Too many maybes. Too many regrets. Getting older made Fang question things more. Uncomfortable, lingering questions with no real answers. Just dark, sad, and wistful feelings.
Each step between the ashen-barked trees was quiet and almost delayed, as though the sound had grown out of sync with the rest of his world. Worrisome. Could he trust his ears now?
The werewolf stopped at one of the trees and drew a dagger - more of a shortsword for anyone smaller than he, who was most he encountered.
He took the sword and swung it around, so the pommel faced the bark. He smashed the pommel into the white surface and saw the back crack and splinter. The sound, however, followed slightly after.
He repeated the strike and saw the pommel smash through the bark, revealing wet, blood-red pulp beneath the surface. Yet, the sound was slower to arrive.
He repeated this on another two trees, trying to commit the delay to memory. A loosed arrow could be heard enough in time to dodge outside the woods. In here, it seemed, he would be already dead by the time he heard the pull of the bowstring.
Fang was worried for Aeyn, now. His son was quite capable, but this strange forest was something else.
Fang himself felt fear.
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