The Deadwood has no end. I have no idea how large it truly is, for Kantoo made it sound as though it was something we could easily circumvent, but after wandering through it for an entire day I no longer have any frame of reference. The trees are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The undergrowth is stiff, brittle even, and ashen gray.
It feels like we are being watched.
We make every effort to keep within each other’s sight at all times. Bolton cannot move much at all, which helps to anchor us together, but where would we go even if we could run?
Then there are the screams.
I heard only a few last night. They were distant, muffled by the acoustics of the jungle, but distinct. They were human. Mournful yet hateful, most could best be described as wails. Then today we were startled by a number of different outbursts.
The screams seemed completely random and nearly sent us running more than once. Their source was close at hand, but nothing presented itself. They are aggressive, angry. Terrifying.
Their increased proximity drives the irrational fear in me that somehow, while barely moving, we have been enveloped even deeper into the Deadwood.
Bolton needs lots of time to rest, so we never make it far. We have had to repair his stitches twice now. He sleeps as though there was nothing nearby to harm him. It’s in those long hours, sitting with him under a canopy that has lost all its color, that I wonder how I got here. Morbidly, I wonder how I’ll leave.
Then there’s Starlark. We shout for him occasionally, but it feels as though when we do we draw the attention of whatever lurks among the trees. Dionus and I can feel it, magic is in constant use here but we know not in what form. The air tingles with the energy of it, and there is a low white mist that covers the ground constantly. None of this makes for comfort.
I feel a great weight to it all, subdued like a prisoner under the wrathful watch of his accusers. Yet I see them not, nor know how to escape their glare.
Gods help us, or we will die in this place.