What Lies Within the Wood
Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned ‘round, walks on, and turns no more his head,
Because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread.
It had only been a month since Esme had last gazed upon Embertree, yet it felt like years. She took a deep breath of the morning air, looking down from the rise of the hill. Mist hung heavy over the blue and purple speckled meadow, surrounding the estate in the center and creeping into the woods along the border as if it was some living thing. Sunlight had begun to peer over the mountainsides and spill over the land, enhancing the eerie blue-violet glow from deep within Embertree Woods.
She was Knight-Captain over these lands, but she was not dressed as such presently. No fine silks, no rich armor. Rather, she was dressed as she had years ago. Sun-bleached leather that had once been pitch black clung to her body, yet made her movements easy and silent. A mask was pulled up around her face, hiding the sincere frown upon her lips. Her hair, thick and bright in the fresh morning sun, was held back in a long braid down her back, out of the way for ease.
Esme was not in Embertree as a Knight-Captain. She was in Embertree as a scout.