Fireflies in the Wood of Spectres

(c) Nin Harris, 2001-2009

Conrad speaks:

Not far from Nemus Animae, there lies a darker, less inviting congregation of trees and wildlife. The undergrowth is sparse, the bark of trees darker. Yet, the fireflies that illuminate the thick-velveted green of Nemorosum Somnium and Nemus Animae also inhabit this darkness. As you barely enter its depths, you wonder what could be so forbidding about this place.

First, a hint. Soft feathers touching your face. Velvet in its tenderness, these are not white feathers, light as air and as forgiving. These are dark feathers which seem to belong to some fallen angel, lost beyond redemption of light and yet unwilling to fall to an even deeper damnation. There are no virtues to be found in this haunted grove. But you will not find the titillating sensations of angst either. A touch of that feather will induce sorrow in you that is thick and hateful. Insiduous and turbulent, it crashes into you and seems to penetrate every light hue in your being.

This then, is the seduction of the darkest of thoughts, whispers the voice in your head.

This then, is Silva Atra, Wood of the Spectres. You may find a darkness here beyond what you are used to; or a richness far too cloying, like a chocolate cake laced with alcohol. It is like an addiction you find close to impossible to kick. There is something dogging your heels here, feeling almost like an obsession.

Darkness and fireflies. This is the first impression any visitor unwise enough to venture here will get. Many specters and were-creatures and the darker of the fae can be found here, for this is a place of banishment. Only ghosts haunt, you say, but you will find more than that here – will find that sometimes the living are far more efficient at hauntings. It is cold; draw your cloak around yourself if you will. Or run, run back to the woods of Nemorosum Somnium or Nemus Animae. Just don’t kid yourself. No place is safe on Yrejveree; but then again, no place is the Wood of the Spectres.

No place more deadly, no place more filled with pain. I love the taste of that pain, it fills my senses, it makes me feel even more alive than when I was really, well. Alive, you know.

Oh no. Have I frightened you? She won’t be much better, you know. Yes, I know the Caretaker has told you about her, that she will protect you from people like me. Do you think she is any safer than the rest of us? Yes, move back, my sweet. I see you have noticed my nice, shiny teeth. Why don’t you let me lead you deeper into the trees? I have plenty of tales to share; I can be quite a scream too; the life of the party, as they say. What, was that too obvious a pun? I can be subtle too, if you want.

Hey now, why are you running away? Tarme? Well she’s busy at the easternmost reaches of this Grove; apparently a lot of new arrivals from that quarter. Banished spirits of the world. I was one of them; once, but I’ve made myself quite at home here. Come now, don’t you want me to show you around? I’m always glad to be of assistance. Always glad.

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