And so through the wood's breath
The eldritch race lives on in death
To preserve and protect their home
The silent sentinels are never alone...
'Cause there's animals in the woods.
And there's shadows in the woods.
Oh baby, there's maniacs in those woods.
But you're taking your chances.
Ain't no second glances,
but you're taking your chances,
Don't go into the woods,
don't let go of my hand.
Don't go into the woods,
do you understand?
— Calibretto, "Don't Go In The Woods"
Sarah Brown was not altogether unfamiliar with the Parish of Faery, but she never failed to be surprised by the enchantment of the Enchanted Forest. The Green Ride runs straight through it, so incredibly straight that as you walk along it the end of it is at the end of your sight, and is like a star in a green sky. There is a dream that binds your mind as you cross the forest; it is like an imitation of eternity, so that, as you pass into the forest's shade, time passes from before you, and, as you pass out of it, you seem to have lived a thousand quiet and utterly forgotten lives. Clocks and calendars have no meaning in the forest; the seasons and the hours haunt it at their will, and abide by no law.
—Stella Benson, Living Alone
: I should be loth
To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence
Of such late wassailers; yet, oh! where else
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet
In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?
"You are surrounded by hideous, tortured trees. The trees almost seem to be alive, whispering, plotting, closing in..." You go into the woods,
Where nothing's clear,
Where witches, ghosts
And wolves appear.
Into the woods
And through the fear,
You have to take the journey.
In every forest of the world, there lies the possibility of losing one's way. Trees don't have markers; trails don't follow any kind of logic. In every darkling wood lives something primeval, a hidden heart that beats with ancient blood. This primordial place
exists outside the scope of our perceptions, always beyond the borders of civilization. Few people ever see this place, but those who enter the woods with questions in their hearts may find themselves turned around: trees grow thick, thorns bite at clothes and nip skin, and every rotten log is another false landmark. Those who have forgotten their principles or are otherwise troubled hear a soft voice on the wind
, whispering for them to come closer
. Those who follow arrive at a clearing where others have come before. And then they are truly lost
, never to be seen again
Then at last he was there and the place
was just as he remembered it. If anything it was even darker, for snow on the higher branches shut out most of what little light would normally penetrate; and here where the winter had been kept out, the ground was black to eyes used to a white glare. Airless as ever, the place seemed; and what air there was, as before, seemed stirred by unseen shapes and presences. Oh, certainly, it was a place for bad dreams. Especially in the evening. And evening approached even now...
Most that try to enter Athel Loren find themselves constantly returning to where they started despite their best efforts to make headway. Even if they try to walk a straight path, they invariably find themselves turn around and facing out of the forest. Most travellers that persist in entering Athel Loren are found on its outskirts as little more than gibbering wrecks, their sanity shredded by whatever they witnessed in the magical forest
That is, if they ever return.
—Warhammer: Wood Elves Army Book (6th edition)
She presses on fissures of bark and her fingers sink in knuckle-deep. A bit of bushwhacking reveals the extend of the prodigious rot. Crumbling, creature-riddled boles, decaying for centuries. Snags gothic and twisted, silvery as inverted icicles. She has never inhaled such fenced putrefaction. The sheer mass of ever-dying life packed into each single cubic foot, woven together with fungal filaments and dew-betrayed spiderweb leaves her woozy. Mushrooms ladder up the sides of trunks in terraced ledges. Dead salmon feed the trees. Soaked by fog all winter long, spongy green stuff she can't name covers every wooden pillar in thick baize reaching higher than her head.
Death is everywhere, oppressive and beautiful. She sees the source of that forestry doctrine she so resisted in school. Looking at all this glorious decay, a person might be forgiven for thinking that old mean decadent, that such thick mats of decomposition were cellulose cemeteries in need of the rejuvenating ax. She sees why her kind will always dread these close, choked thickets, where the beauty of solo trees gives way to something massed, scary, and crazed. Where the fable turns dark, where the slasher film builds to primal horror, this is where the doomed children and wayward adolescents must wander. There are things in here worse than wolves and witches, primal fears that no amount of civilizing will ever tame.
peered into the relentless gloom of the surrounding woods. He thought of mountain lions and grizzly bears. He thought of wolf packs and cougars. He thought of werewolves and Sasquatch and inbred hillbillies
with guns and seriously dubious sexual preferences
. He thought of all the wild things with yellow eyes and an insatiable bloodlust that would swallow his light bee
whole as a pre-hors-d'oeuvre canape without even making a gulping nose.