We have safely arrived! I cannot believe that I, or I should say that we, made it out of the forest. After finding the winding road that runs through those trees we made quicker progress and came upon a small inn. The inn is run by an older man, Geor, and his wife Alarca. The old woman seems skilled in the healing arts and tended to Dermond’s wounds better than I was able. Dermond is resting now and Alarca assures me he will recover. I never doubted his perseverance. Indeed, my relief is so great it is difficult for me to remember the difficult journey that brought us here.

In reflecting upon my previous entries I see that I last wrote when Dermond and I were hopelessly lost in the Great Forest. Dermond has been wounded by the creatures from the cave and he wandered somewhere between life and death, or, as my late father often said, lost in the dark forest.

I had found myself at the end of my strength. This was unlike anything I had ever undergone and I feared my spirit would fail me. But Dermond was clearly growing worse and his wound had taken on an alarming reddish tint. Even I, with my limited medical training, knew this meant the wound was infected. I owed this man my life and meant to return to the favor. journal_icon2I took the blade from Dermond’s belt and used the serrated edge to saw off low-hanging braches from a few nearby trees and bound these together with strips torn from my cloak. In the end it looked like little more than a brushpile but I was able to secure Dermond to it and pull him along the forest floor with relative ease. I began trudging in what I fervently prayed was the right direction.

To my surprise we were only a few hours from the main road. It seemed at that time my luck had changed for the better. There were fresh carriage tracks cut into the dirt and I prayed that if I followed them we might be able to reach help in time.

After less than a day of walking we came to the inn. Geor has taken good care of both Dermond and myself. I can smell Alarca’s cooking and have sunken deeply into the chair that sits in the corner of my room. A fire is blazing in the hearth and I can hear Dermond snoring peaceably one room over. Alarca told me to check in on him from time to time but she seemed at ease when she was last inspecting his bandages and I believe he is out of danger. I was surprised to learn that Geor and Dermond were friends of old. I suppose Dermond had often stopped at Geor’s inn, considering how close to the forest it stands. Dermond’s frequent trips into the Great Forest and wilder lands beyond would have made the inn a convenient resting place. It certainly proved helpful to him this time.

For all the comfort of this room, however, and for all my weariness, I cannot tear my mind away from those glowing red eyes, nor forget the musty, moldering smell of the cave. It seems to have coated my nose and mouth.

Night has descended and brought with it a thick canopy of bright stars. I have never known the beauty of a country evening. I-

A bell has begun to ring. I hear footsteps downstairs and shouts of alarm from somewhere down the road. What is happening?