The Realm of Shadows

The moon is full, and long shadows fall from the forest. Like ghosts before ancient kings, they bow to the wind whispering through the trees.

You weren't planning to move to such an isolated spot, but necessity has drawn you this way. This property has been in your family for generations, and now the bank is threatening to take it away. The land, and the nearby village, are like something left behind from ancient times, insulated from a world of screens and technology. Your property crosses a river and extends beyond the nearby hills, running deep into a great forest. Your grandparents, and their parents before them, protected this land. You'll put up a fight before they take it from you.

The forest reaches out to touch the corner of your yard. That night, as you take a walk along a path that is barely visible in the moonlight, you notice something strange. It's a light—a glimmer behind some of the trees. You wander off the path to get a closer look. You turn a corner, and see thin lines of light shining from the face of an enormous tree. The radiance reveals the edges of a door, set within the trunk and framed with stone. It's late, but you're not ready to turn back yet. The closer you get, the clearer the door becomes. There is a handle, inches in front of you. You reach out slowly and grab it.

The door opens to reveal an entry passage, a natural gap within the tree, that is illuminated by some unknown power. Lines in the walls glow bright yellow, like veins of a mystical element. A ladder leads down through the roots, a roughly hewn shaft encircled by light. Shadows obscure the vast reaches which lie beneath.

You step inside to begin a journey you could not have imagined.

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