Chapter One: CEdit
"Captain, I see it; it's just over this hill. The red. You can't be serious. We can't go in there." said a Tree Elven scout, stopping his squad at the top of the mossy hill.
"We must. Else we must wait until morning. Ensi, the Legion commands it. If we don't bring the samples, we'll be dispatched! ...or worse."
"Nothings worse than going into there," said Ensi, pointing at the sudden field of scarlet painted trees. "All my life, and I grew up down where the red creeks flow now, we were told of legends of the monsters. Sendilus, you grew up down there too, didn't you? Behemoths made of flesh and no more, golems of bones. But the worst stories...
were the eyes."
Another Tree Elven scout stuttered, "...the eyes?!"
Sendilus, the squad leader, nodded. "Aye. Only saw one in my life. A long, six foot long stalk sprouted into the soil. I was hunting for the village; we had nothing to eat but Flesh Titans. We'd hunt for little'uns in the morning on the edge of the forest. But that morning I saw one. Six feet of eternally rotting, swollen flesh with a single see'in globe the size of my head. It's lids were up when I found it, that nasty beast. Curled up like a snake, it was."
Ensi interrupted, "The smell. Don't forget the smell."
"Ah yes... the smell. Now you green Elves don't know a thing about stench. The forest is my strongest memory of a smell. The smell of a warground, the smell of fresh bodies littered across the ground. The smell of heaps o' flies and-- you get the point. But when I lay my own two eyes on that eye-snake I smelled something different than the forest. It didn't smell like rot or nothing. It smelled like a vision."
The scouts, now all listening to Ensi and Sendilus, all showed signs of confusion. Even Ensi was puzzled.
"It gave me a vision of blood and pain and... of a god. And then I saw it, the snake, open it's eyelids and flicker it's pupil directly at me. It rose up from the group like a sprouted Dragon Orchid and stood at my height. It just looked at me. No, I'll never forget the buldging blood vessels in its eyes... the sticky tears rolling down... the wicked thorns curving out of the shaft of its body. It was something out of my nightmares, even as a child growing along the Blood Forest."
Sendilus, hesistating for a moment, finally spoke again. "And all it did was look at me. As I moved to the right it kept its focus on me, as if recording my every move. That's exactly what I think it was doing, even looking back at it thirty years or so later. I'll never forget it."
Ensi nodded. "I never did see one. Hell, I saw Blood Giants and a Bone Titan the size of a full grown Orchid, but the myths of the Eyes always haunted me."
"Now you all see why we must do this. We need to get samples for the Legion so we can learn about this place, not just cower in fear and let it take our land. Ensi, do this for you land."
Sendilus looked over the grassy knoll once more, unsheathing his Azurian blade, and pointed to the Blood Forest at the sun rise horizon.
"For the Legion!" he called.
"For the Legion!" the men answered, all but Ensi.
"For the Land of the Trees! For Zeyr!" Ensi chanted.
Chapter Two: AEdit
"Are all ready for this? This is the day that we, the people of the Trees, the people conquer the forest." Sendilus was looking at the crimson trees, just feet away.
The sun was now full in the sky, hours of sunlight were still ahead. There was plenty of time.
"Abraevus, cast the spell. We're going to be exposed to Crimson Ivy for several hours."
The squadron of thirteen was composed of three archers, four footsoliders, three scouts, two mages, and a single commanding officer, Sendilus. Abraevus, garnished in a blue-green robe, was one of the mages, trained to cast protecting wards against the strange forces of the Blood Forest.
"Alrighty." said Abraevus, pulling out a scroll from a small pack of supplies strapped to his back. "They say the Legion's been making deals with the Order of Forbidden and Forgotten Magic of Hapec. All sorts of new knowledge is being taught to newer mages."
Abraevus unrolled the scroll, mouthing the magical words.
"Katorajegaerrayh!" Abraevus yelled, casting the very complex spell. Almost instantly after casting the spell, an explosion of green light bursted from Abraevus, spreading twenty feet in each direction. Green smoke clouded the air, but slowly cleared, revealing Abraevus lying against the moist ground, panting heavily.
"That felt... unlike anything I've ever felt before. It feels like I've bathed in the waters of a holy spring, yet I have not." said Ensi, turning to Sendilus, who was kneeling against Abraevus.
"I'm fine... trust me. I've just never casted a spell of such... power before." Sendilus pulled Abraevus up by his arm. Abraevus stood shakily at first, but indeed, he was fine.
"Helis will have to carry out the other magic from now, however. I can already feel the lack of mana in my veins." said the mage, pointing to Helis, his partner. Helis looked almost identical to Abraevus, as in fact, they were cousins.
"What was that, though?" said one of the scouts, whose name was Drareper. "The spell?"
"It was a ward to protect all within the explosion from any poisons, including the hallucinogens found in the grass of the Blood Forest. The Order has successfully created a word known as Katora in order to protect government officials and important figures, however, we have been granted permission to learn about it; the Legion views the threat of this forest as worthy."
Sendilus spoke up, "Indeed it is. Let's get moving before sunlight is out of our grasp."
--- --- ---
The first thing the men noticed, as expected, was the smell. The smell of decaying flesh floated through the air, triggering some of the footsoldiers to vomit only minutes in. Now, they had traveled for three hours without any contact with life.
"There it is... the Vein of Chaos." said Sendilus. They had approached a large, rocky hill with a red pool alongside it. Blood red water trickled down the side of the hill and out a small opening in the rock, emptying into the pool.
"I don't like this place. Let's just get these damned samples and leave." said Ensi.
"Agreed. The smell here is... nauseating." said Drareper.
"Alright alright. Helis, it's your honor." commanded Sendilus, ushering the mage to the pool. Helis sighed as he kneeled down, removing his knapsack. Out of it, he removed a scroll like Abraevus had, and a large, head sized glass globe. He unrolled the scroll, carefully read one of the listed spells, and casted it. "Katoraecres!" He seemed to hesitate for a moment after casting the spell, but he took the globe over to the pond and filled it to the neck, capping it.
"Was it really that hard? Now all we have to do is return to the headquarters. I'm guessing the samples will be sent to the Isles or perhaps even Hapec." Sendilus spoke, although something was obviously troubling him.
"Didn't it seem slightly strange that we saw not a single beast since we entered?" spoke Ensi, grabbing Sendilus by the shoulder.
"I did notice. Something's wrong. Let's just get out of here as quickly as we can." said Sendilus. "It's not like this place."
As if on que, the earth began to shake in front of the squadron. Small fissures snaked across the ground, tearing the earth apart as a long, ten foot tall stalk of flesh sprouted out from the ground. At the top of the shoot was a giant, watching eye.
Chapter 3: REdit
The giant globe simply stared curiously at the group, shifting positions and taking in the sight from all different angles.
"By the unholy ones..." muttered Ensi. "An Eye."
The Eye lowered its trunk, now eye level with the men. Everyone was completely quiet, simply in awe of the beast. Finally, Abraevus stepped forward.
"Do you... communicate?" said he, as the Eye slithered just in front of the mage. It's giant eye was the size of a small animal. Large, pulsing veins were spider-webbed across the white canvas that was the eye. The eye stopped moving, as if it was comprehending the words which were said. Finally, it blinked once and its pupil began to vastly grow in size until a the entire eye was opened, revealing massive, razor sharp teeth.
The Eye urched forwards, and tore Abraevus' head off with a single snap.