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Shadow Grove
by Dunestripe

It was a rainy, dreary night in the woods. Two travellers had set up camp after they had lost their way in woods most dark and dire.

The old man started a fire to serve as light and heat, scarcely penetrating the deep and dreary woods. "Be warned of this place," he warned, "Therein are spirits from an ancient time, who have been cast from their bodies, and reside in our very shadows. They can possess your body, and eat your soul."

"That's ridiculous," the young man scoffed, "Besides, all I'd have to do if they came is make light, and they would disappear. Everyone knows shadows are afraid of the light!"

The old man sighed at his ignorance. "There are things in this world that defy comprehension, and defy reason. Such is the nature of magic."

Rolling his eyes, the young man covered himself with is fur cloak and readied himself for sleep. The old man rested against a tree, trying to stay awake for as long as he could, lest a woodland spirit appear.

But soon, his eyes would give in to fatigue as well, and he would drift into sleep too.

The campfire flickered and faded. In complete darkness, the two travellers were awakened by a night wind, brushing against the trees, slithering through their branches like a snake in the grass. Their hiss sent fear through the hearts of the two men.

A blood-curdling scream raced through the night, followed by cries for help. The young man frantically twiddled his thumbs in an effort to create some light, but his hands trembled as he tried. The screams continued as he tried again and again, desperately trying to illuminate the camp. Repeatedly he lost his concentration as he ran, trying to escape whatever fate had befallen his companion.

Crashing through a maze of twisted trees and uneven ground, he fell to the ground. Getting to his feet quickly, he twiddled his thumbs one last time, and a ball of light appeared. Looking around, cold sweat sprang down his face as he was struck from behind, then again from the side, bringing him to the ground.

The light fell to the ground, and he saw them...one by one, shadows sprung from his own, surrounding him. The familiar sound of the old man seemed to whisper into his ear, "There can be no shadow without light."

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