display | more...

Briar-dark and twisted was the forest: briar-dark and twisted were the tapestries in the hall.

A long time and then more had passed from there, and so long had it been that even the walls of the village that had once been in the shadow of the hall were lost to the brambles and the thick ferns and the encroaching moss.

Here and there a desperate traveler, on the last remnants of a trade road crowded with fallen trees and ruts, would find the place and shelter by the remnants of a great hearth. There, they would perhaps make a fire, and listen to the bats in the vaulted ceiling - and watch vane-winged clouds of the same take flight through the gaping holes.

There was no curse, precisely, in the hall. Merely that maps simply refused to hold the place. There were no ghosts: if the fire cast shadows, they stubbornly refused to become menacing, much less interesting in any way.

No bones remained there but the occasional dead bat, or a shattered mouse. Travelers passed neither more or less safely from the place, but no bandits came to trouble them, and with enough precautions, the local wildlife wasn't inclined towards approaching humans.

The forest grew thick and lush, and weeds came up in the floors. Moss rotted, became dirt. More of the ceiling fell in.

Beyond, the world went on forgetting - the name, the place, the stones.