Dorian spotted white shapes fading in and out of the woods ahead. The trees began just the other side of where their current footpath joined a larger dirt road. The road was a blessing. It led a straight shot north to Marville and the end of their horrible quest.
Having exceptional eyesight and camouflage abilities, Dorian was a few yards a head of the rest of the party. When he saw the ghostly forms, he stopped and pointed.
“Up ahead. It’s the road to Marville. Finally. I saw some white shapes in the trees on the other side, though. Maybe there are visitors since it’s the first non-twisted wood we’ve come across for miles.”
“I like the looks of the wood. Maybe we could stop and restâ€¦see what the commotion’s about.” Girth was excited about anything that reminded him of home. He looked to Llewelyn for approval.
“I’m afraid we’re behind schedule, but we could use the rest.” Llewelyn was the unofficial captain of the party. “All the walking has been good to get our minds off losing Garth, but rough on our bodies.
“Dorian, stay alert and closer to the party. Let us know next time you see a shape in the woods. Garth, Danica, keep watch to our flank.” Danica the physician had become more withdrawn of late, but she loaded her cracked crossbow and kept watch to the west.
The four walked cautiously toward the wood on the other side of the road. There were no more flashes of movement, but there were also no sounds coming from the wood. “No birds, no squirrels, nothing.” Girth offered. “Probably trouble again, which is too bad because these trees look so healthy and inviting. I need to check it out.”
Dorian, remembering the charge given him when he was given his bow, followed behind. “I’m right behind you, big guy.” He strung an arrow in his bow and pulled it taught, prepared for trouble. Llewelyn headed into the woods behind Dorian. Without having to be told, Danica concealed herself behind a tree and watched their backs, her crossbow readied.
A huge, white ape swung to the ground with a jarring thud and started beating its chest in front of the party. The beast’s sudden appearance surprised the party, especially Dorian who had the most alert senses. The fierce creature growled, displaying broad, sharp teeth. It then picked up some leaves, twigs, and other debris and flung them at the party. Two more of the creatures swung to the ground behind it.
“I don’t think they’re friendly guys,” was all Girth could say before pandemonium broke.