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A Morning in the Cillidellian Wood
by Nayr the Wise

The Cillidellian Wood is quiet this morning. Soft bird-calls from unseen birds float down from the tops of the trees, and the wind stirs the forest in gentle sighs. The summer sun has only just begun to warm the woods, and the chill of the night has yet to fade. On mornings like this the Wood is a powerful place to walk and to reflect.

The wood is thick, but there is a path to walk. It is narrow, no more than a track, winding through the gentle slopes of the uneven forest floor. It crawls through the stones, tree roots and discarded leaves of the forest floor like a snake, patches of bright early morning sunlight and dark shadow combining to form a pattern on its back. This path is no different from the others that travel through the wood from glade to glade, meandering from nowhere in particular to somewhere else. It disappears ahead, twisting into the undergrowth as though to invite a walker to follow it, and see what might be around the next turn.

Beyond the edges of the path the forest springs up thickly. Great ferns, waist high, press in on either side of the path, their curling dark green fronds bending over it as though attempting to reclaim it for the forest. Faint patches of mist, sheltered from the rising sun by the thick shadows of the trees, drift silently across the path, cool and damp upon the skin. The same breezes that play with the mists carry the rich scent of the morning forest, that of foliage and earth dampened by dew.

Past the ferns that border the path are the trees. They are huge and ancient, towering deep red pillars supporting the leafy ceiling of the forest high above. They stand sentinel; patient watchers of the Wood. Half-hidden by ferns and mist, fungi forms muddy brown shelves on their lower trunks, silent testament to their enduring strength. Atop those trunks the trees spread their branches, from which green leaves hang. They are almost motionless, high above the path, all but untouched by the lower breezes. When they do stir, they rain a tiny shower of collected dewdrops down to the forest floor below.

Beyond the crowns of the trees the sky fades to a soft blue, slowly replacing the pale reds of morning. Soon the sun will warm the woods, burning away the last of the mist and waking the busy animals of the day. For now the Wood is cool and timeless, and cloaked in mystery. The path beckons off into the misty distance, and now is a time to walk. And to reflect.

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