When he turns his head to the forests of Lignum, he sees himself as a Lignumian living in their huts of arched timber with walls of wicker and roofs of thatch. He's riding the deer, performing in the sunrise and sunset rituals, and battling his opponents in their epic staring contests.

“Drop your weapons or death will be the next adventure you face,” the woman’s voice is old, but strong. It isn’t loud but it is intense. It’s a promise. 


Every member of Quint’s army looks around in different directions. Not because they can’t tell where the voice is coming from, but because it’s coming from everywhere. 

Quint raises his arm. His troops stop. He braces his sword in his hand. Tightening his grip one finger at a time as he searches for the owner of the threat. 


“You are no match for the powers of the forest, boy. But, by all means, clench your tiny grip around the hilt. Press on. Chance your luck,” her threats are under-toned with a hint of teasing. Daring him to ignore her. 


“We aren’t here to fight,” Quint shouts back to the bodiless voice. “Our war isn’t against you.”


The laugh is shrill but sincere. Not forced in any way, “Yet you cross the threshold to hell - your definition, not mine - with weapons raised.”