Sanctuary

A quick sketch of a deer-taur transformation folktale.

Men tell many tales of the Lady of the Wood, of her cruelty and caprice. They say that any son of man who enters into her Greenwood must either be fool, or desperate.

Desperate indeed I was on that night. The king's hounds were upon my trail, and his men so close behind I could hear their hue and cry. I had little choice but to enter the wood, or face the sword. I hoped, perhaps, that the men would turn their horses back at the edge of the kingdom, that they might be more superstitious than I, but still I could hear them. They were more distant, slowed by the branches and bramble that pricked my cheeks and tore at my legs, but still they pursued me.

I fled deeper into the forest, under roots taller than a man, over streams that wound silver in the moonlight. My breath was ragged, my face stained with blood and sweat. Still I ran, until from the woods around me, I heard a voice speak, "Halt."

The word chilled the blood in my veins, but I could not have moved even if I had wished. Where I stood, roots rose from the ground and twined about my feet, such that my legs were held fast, like a striding statue.