The Wood, the Wood. Oh to live in the forest, and know that one is fortunate… to watch goldfinch and woodpecker in the cedars… to hear the songbirds in the veiled vastness. Whilst cutthroat trout inhabit the lake, and salmon the streams… wolves howl on winter nights, and raccoons venture out with their families for food. Cedar and fir, hemlock and spruce, oak and willow abundant.
Tis in these dark, mysterious places, heroes can lose their way, face unexpected challenges, and stumble upon hidden secrets. The age-old magic of forests lies in the ideas that people have about trees. Myths and legends galore… tis some say trees appear as ladders between worlds, as sources of life and wisdom, and as the physical forms of supernatural beings.
With their roots buried deep in the earth, their trunk above ground, and their branches stretching toward the sky, a tree serves as a symbolic, living link between this world and those of supernatural beings. To them, a tree is a vital part of the structure of the universe. Gods and their messengers travel from world to world by climbing up or down certain trees. For tis said it is the great ash tree that nourishes gods, humans, and animals, connecting all living things and all phases of existence.
Providers of shade and bearers of fruit, long associated with life and fertility. Tis the Evergreen tree, which remain green all year, that represent the undying life. Deciduous trees, lose their leaves in the winter and produce new ones in the spring, symbolizing renewal, rebirth after death, or immortality
From the forest’s darkest corners - an ideal villain’s hideout - to glorious sunlit clearings in the woods conjuring the perfect spot for happy-ever-after endings, the woods have it all.
The forests of Britannia are rich with living history, and offer an ever-changing environment; brimming with sounds, smells, and textures. Every season nature brings another visual drama. Winter offers the spooky silhouettes of gnarly branches; the ideal prompt for a narrative crammed with witches and spells. In the spring; ferns unfurl like the heads of fiddles to inspire stories about Life and Knowledge, Immortality, and a Magical, Mystical Forest!
Some of Britannia’s most breath-taking sceneries. Places not merely seen, but sensed. Places that steal your breath and replaces with amazement where imagination once reigned.
The spaces within are quiet, yet a stillness aches in the ears with the sounds of time passing. Branches sway in the wind, dancing to silent tunes, thick branches inch barely against the swaying breeze.
The trees vibrate but there is none to know it, none to feel it. The rich tapestries are unending, ever changing with the season; simply jaded by soft shades of rich greens that turn to gold and reds, as with scattered spots of light cast through the small stained-glass windows of a cathedral.
Each trunk, some tall and straight, some twisted and knurled, distinguishable by their own by the textures of their bark, the shape of their broadly reaching roots, or the shapes and textures of leaves. Some grown thru the ages, other merely younglings.
Mosses cover the long fallen brethren, their textures wooly and soft, jagged and spiky, the seeds for the future lie in crumpled bark, now buried in the forest floor, protected by the bulk of the downed trunks, ready to give life anew.
Roaming insects of various sizes and colors rule air and ground throughout the land of green.
But as soon as the sun gives way to the moon in the sky above... The light fading, creating new shadows and dark patches… inhuman eyes glimmer from tree hollows.
The wind wails between distorted trunks, carrying the sickly stink of wood rot… the forest darkens and what pleasantries existed during the day, becomes hostile in the night.
A silent fog seeps throughout the forest basin. Every eerie sound now amplified, adding to the insanity. The forest disturbingly beautiful and inviting of day, yet disturbingly horrid and repelling during the night.
Many people think of the forests as the provider of resources, peaceful places to enjoy. Alas, there is one that is dreaded by all, a hostile environment brimming with vicious wildlife and unseen hazards in the brush; however, even the most seasoned outdoorsman is afraid to enter for fear of what hostility lies within.
Those that enter, never returning, adding to disturbing tales of unknown entities mythicized to stalk the woods.Forests of Stratford-on-the-Avon
A deep, black forest, a faint glow of the moon through the dense and gloomy leaves… the scent of the water from the rain, the muggy earth that squelches as it is tread lightly upon the many spooky and mysterious noises that come from all directions, generating curiosity.
An owl, big and dark, flaps across the old path and sits on a high branch with piercingly bright yellow eyes, cooing loudly as if to warn others of his presence in the wilderness.
Ahead a small light glows, a simple glimmer of hope in the dark forest drawn by the enthusiastic urge of optimism, but ever cautious as what may be hidden within the knurled branches, narrow passages, and deep foliage a beast hungry for fresh flesh, rather than rotting meat of long dead animals.
Deeper within, the scent of smoke from open fire roasting meat or soups cooking over the fire.
And yet, day or night, sunny or inclement, there is a watcher
holds the meaning ‘the woodland belonging to the Druid. Within its boundaries lies 100,000 acres of valuable resources, of timber and game (Vert and Venison)… a continuous swathe of dense virgin forest, comprised birch and 1,000-odd veteran oak woodland, interspersed with large areas of open sandy heath and rough grassland.
Quite apart from the sheer size and age of the ancient oaks of Sciryuda, traditionally possessing legendary mystical powers of prophecy and healing… that the trees are inhabited by god.
For centuries, nothing but shadows in the forest… a life dedicated to protecting the Forests. Broken bones, cuts, and even deep wounds could not prevent the ‘Shadow’ from assigned duties. A true identity unknown to any, save a dedicated few. But the course of those duties thru the decades, that Shadow had fought off the Romans, Britons, and even Saxons… protecting the beloved forests, with every fiber of a humanly being.The Dark Archer. the Guardian !!
Whatever the moniker, Ceredrell Forest, the Forests of Stratford-on-the-Avon, the Sciryuda, and all the smaller forests stand today because of the Guardian… Able to use the trees as tools, aids to accomplish what needs to be done… fighting for the people against those that would destroy the Forests and the land… And, accuracy with the arrow deemed legendary, able to best even those considered the best in the lands.
So it came to pass... a Dark Archer; one who protected the villages and the Forests for over three hundred years… since the first Roman tread upon Briton lands. Tales of a phenom that reportedly was born with a bow and arrow in his hands… One who vanquishes evil with his arrows… One who refuses to die until the lands of Britannia are free forever… Once again rise up the voices seeking justice and revenge for blights against the Britons… against the Forest. It is said that the Dark Archer shall protect those under the forest's cape.
First, there was clan against clan… then there were the Northmen… then the Romans. Battle after battle upon our island, the Guardian, known by many as the Dark Archer, has come to the aid of those that need it… But one… even if only serving as an inspiration…
But there were those who would rip hearts from body… those who kill the land knew that one could institute change… able to calm the ancients, to convince them to live in harmony…and drive out the Northmen… and with the Romans?
Just as Spartacus did so long ago, to put a blade right at the heart of Rome itself. Over the years, several Praetors of Rome had vanished or died at the hands of the Dark Archer, then deemed worthy to die… But alas…and so they sought the Guardian… offering reward… that accomplished nothing. Then the disease that was Rome began to torture the people… and the Guardian struck at the heart of disease itself…
Twas rumored that the Guardian was killed… and many vow to have seen the arrows penetrate a loving heart… And THAT story in itself has been told several times over and over, throughout the ages, with each escalation of threat to the Forest… And yet, signs offered of the Guardian’s existence remained thru the years leading to the fact that Archer lives still… Many have seen the signs, and did not realize the Guardian and people of the land cross the same paths every day.
Tugging at the yearning of fantasy… Many people say the Archer is immortal, as old as the Forests itself… that when the Forests are threatened, the Guardian arises to cleanse the disease… whether it was Roman, Saxon, or Briton… that if a disease transgresses upon the land, and as such affects the Forests, the Guardian reappears…
Being immortal, or so the people believe, the Guardian lives alone, a vow of chastity… never to wed… never to have a family, as that would be a weakness… a way to kill the legend… Though one entity cannot cleanse the disease alone, doth inspire others to step forth. Tis the Dark Archer that nominates the Shadows of the Forest… to teach others… and tis even rumored, Merlin is shaman thanks to the Archer…
The myth… the legend… lives today… and stands as Guardian still…