They’d traveled for nearly a week in this green hell.
They followed the map to Castle Fang that Orwen had uncovered in the Caves of Derok.
Twenty experienced adventurers entered together into this alien landscape.
Now only ten remained.
“I don’t understand,” Aeric said, throwing down his pack as the group settled for a short rest. “How can any place be so deadly?”
“Didn’t you know?” Twelith the elf asked. “This land protects itself from all who would invade it. The plants, the beasts, the ground itself seek to keep all out. We have done ill coming to this place, and the land does not forgive. We have yet to even see the worst this place has to offer.”
“And just what might that be?” Orwen asked from the ground where he leaned against a tree.
“Drop bears,” the elf said, in a hushed whisper.
Orwen burst into laughter. When it stopped, he wiped the tears from his cheeks. “Seriously elf? That old story? In a land where everything, and I mean everything is trying to kill us, you have to make up something else to scare the boy with?”
That was the last thing Orwen said. A moment later a large, dark shape dropped from the tree above and tore him apart. It happened so fast, the others could not even react before the creature hissed at them, and then scampered back up the tree, dragging the remains of Orwen in it’s teeth.
When the shock left them, the expedition immediately turned around and left for home.