I followed the tracks into the heart of the forest.
What an odd expression, “the heart of the forest.” When I think of a heart, I think of something vibrant and full of life. Where I was headed seemed to be the opposite of that. It was getting darker, and the prevalence of moss, while a vibrant green, was a sign of stagnation, a sign of decay.
I followed the tracks deeper into the woods.
However, I was unfamiliar with the forest and therefore could not say with any certainty where I was in it. I could have been skirting the edge. I could have already passed through the middle and be working my way towards the outer ranks of trees. I had no way of knowing for sure. My feet continued to trudge forward as my eyes scanned the shadows for movement.
The tracks carved a path through the overgrown trail, and I followed.
They were the only indication that someone else had been through recently. They were the proof that I was not alone in the forest. They were the constant reminder that I needed to be wary and on my guard. Though, I suspected that I would only really need to worry if I came around a bend to find the contraption that had created the tracks sitting idly in my path. Then the shadows piled atop one another in the thick mass of trees could house all manner of treachery.
Until something changed to alter my pursuit, my feet plodded ahead, my steps falling softly into the tracks in the damp soil. The only bit of fortune I had on my side was they didn’t know I was falling them and the forgiving ground would allow me to approach them unheard. That was, of course, assuming I ever caught up to them.
I followed the tracks left by my prey.
The woods pressed in around me. The dim light filtering through the haze and canopy of closely knit trees did little to peel away the looming shadows more than a foot or two either side of the path. My eyes swiveled back and forth, scanning for the hint of movement. My ears strained for an out of place rustle as branches were swept aside. My mind ran a continuous loops of the spells I would use should I catch my quarry or should they surprise me instead.
I lost sight of the tracks ahead of me as the path turned. Without slowing my steps, I adjusted the weight of my pack with a grunt and carried on. What was coming was coming whether I delayed my progress or not. I was ready for them. They had no idea what I was capable of.