Book One – The Western Wood

Chapter 1

Falk had lived in the Northfold all his life, up on the hill overlooking the village of Alesven. All the life that he had lived there in the village, had seen him taught many lessons. Of all those lessons he remembered only one, and that one lesson, that one piece of worldly advice that his memory did carry with it, he chose to ignore. The advice was this, 'do not go into the Western Wood Falk, there does He live with his cold sharp promises, don't go into the Western Woods'. The people of Alesven were tight lipped when it came to who He was and why they advised their children and their children's children to steer clear of the great green ocean of trees to the west of them.

When they were quizzed they would look off in that vague direction with a far away look on their faces, as far away as the woods themselves. Then they would frown and tell the curious that counting blessings should leave no time for pondering ill mystery. Falks father was a herdsman. As the boy grew older and stronger so his father grew older and weaker and it fell often and then always to Falk to tend the flock as it wandered over the rocky hills and the grassy gulleys of the Northfold. Many would find such a lifestyle idyllic in their minds eye for though the Northfold was rugged it was beautiful, but as is often the case with those who dwell within beauty their own idylls lay far from where they were.

The beauty of the Northfold never faded from itself but it did fade from the mind of Falk for though not unkind, he was a vain and restless boy who was unbowed by the majesty of his surroundings. Rather he saw them as a vast and glorious prison from which he might never escape. So it was almost a fate of his own making when one day a member of his flock which he turned safely with his crook did misstep navigating a hilly path. It fell and rolled down and away.

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