On a nearby muddy track, Sir Percival, carrying a torch guided his caparisoned destrier at a steady walk, carefully on the lookout for stones and roots. It seemed that the track had been travelled before, suggesting that this was indeed the way to the legendary Gingerbread House of the Lady Aislinn, a magic place of joy, comfort and merriment where many heroes gathered, and where many found new friendships and allies.
He had obviously begun this stage of his journey thither too late in the day, as night had overtaken him not long upon entering the forest. His eyes coursed through the darkness, looking for the welcome light from a window. It was eerily quiet despite the flopping thumps of his horse’s hooves against the mud. But despite the damp air, an unpleasant wind wending keenly through the bare elms, and drips from the bare forest canopy, there was no rain, and he could see the track ahead decently in the flickers of his torch. There was no evil presence as far as he could tell in the forest, and yet it did seem somewhat foreboding. It would not surprise him in the least if there were faeries about, and, although many did not harbour evil against men as himself, their penchant for mischief was no secret. His sword remained ready at his girdle, though he had left his armour behind, as a token of peace. Had that been a mistake?
Suddenly, a nervous, but somewhat fainted call broke the silence, echoing out the trees to his left. It was a woman’s voice: ‘Um….hello’, it rang. The voice was not too far, but probably within range of his own.
Of course, a paladin must come to aid of a damsel in distress; the thought in his mind even as the call resounded. But then, of course, he knew of the dangers of engaging with faerie folk. There were some creatures that feigned the appearance of beautiful damsels only to lure a would-be hero to his doom when he approached too near. Still, to ignore what might have been a plea for help—no, he could not.
He drew his steed Rhyndon to a halt. ‘Who is there in the wood?,’ he called out in return, a cautious hand on his sword hilt.