After the banishment of the Forest Fettre you decide to jump the stream. You take a run and jump as far as you can; you are almost to the other side–
You hit an invisible brick wall and spash into the cold water. You come back up sputtering and read the now visible sign on the near bank of the stream:
No Jumping Zone.
No crossing the stream by
means of jumping,
leaping, or flying.
You will have to wade across. You find the invisible wall and feel around to find an entrance through it: a four by two foot gap is found, possibly for the fettre’s use. It feels smooth like marble compared to the rough remainder of the wall.
The other side of the stream reveals a sudden narrow field of grass, continuing on beyond sight, inbetween enormous red oaks.
As you continue on the path you notice some of the trees have spiderwebs in between their branches. This sight increases as you go further in among the trees. The spiders seem to be taking over the forest: thick webs like nasty grey-white curtains move softly between tree trunks.
The forest becomes increasingly silent. Grass underfoot is the only comfort in this odd section of the woods, providing silent footfall in a place where noise is unwelcome: the surroundings begin to get darker. Cobwebs have stretched from canopy to canopy.
On your right you see deep in the forest a light like a coin or jewel but when you turn to look it vanishes. Yet you do not wish to get lost so you stay on the path.
Finally the ground rises steeply, the grass is replaced by a thick carpet of cobwebs covering the ground; two trees of enormous size stand at the top of the hill with their branches entangled.
The two trees make an entrance to a small dimly lit room. Inside you find hundreds of lightening bugs floating around. The room is as if several trees were interwoven and grew together; at the ceiling the trees connect. You also see an immense black thing clinging to the ceiling, its big glowing eyes looking at the floating bugs as if entranced– until they see you, and then you feel the penetrating stare of something old, powerful, and intelligent.
“Speak, visitor,” says the thing in a loud heroic voice, “What have you to say in coming here? Have you brought a gift?”
You have no idea that you were supposed to have supplied a gift, and what would you have brought that would suffice for something that hangs in the rafters of trees?
The voice speaks again: “Where is my gift? Bring me something of adornment, something beautiful and of value, and I will give you one still the greater in return.”
You have nothing on you that is of value; as a rule, in case of mugging, you do not wear jewelry or carry much money on a hike. The first thought is that a granola bar is both in a shiny wrapper and is valuable to stay alive. Yet value and beauty may not necessarily be physical: perhaps music could work [you carry a CD player]. You may also find something among these woods: surely in a forest of darkness there is some shred of beauty ……..
***This is the crossroads where paths are woven,
Now is the place of a road newly chosen. **