The fairy king of the Gostran woods
Have you ever heard the tale of the fairy king? It's not a story you hear often in these lands. Yet further east, you'll find that most people carry it with them, somewhere in the back of their minds. The tale goes as follow:
If you venture deep enough and for a long enough time inside a forest - any forest - you may find yourself entering the Gostran Woods. However, you cannot enter the forest willingly. Only those who are lost can stumble into the Gostran Woods. At first, it may look like the forest you came from. But as you go deeper, you'll notice that the atmosphere... changes. The trees grow denser and thicker. The air becomes darker. Somehow the forest becomes more of a forest than it ever could be. Than it ever should be. Eventually, whether you wander aimlessly or run in panic, you will discover a small, winding dirt path. If you take it, it will lead you to a large meadow, a pit of light piercing the canopy. This is the Fairy King's clearing. It is said that all sorts of things can be found in the clearing. Treasures from another time, riches that don't yet exist, trinkets so forgotten that no one remembers they've ever been lost. Most likely, however, you will find it covered with a luxury of carpets, mattresses and comfortable pillows that rise high towards the centre. There lies the fairy king himself, resplendent in his mindful slumber. However lavish the clearing may be, those who enter Gostrand Woods never do so willingly. And so, you will make your way to the Fairy King. For you see, only he can free you from the forest. All you have to do is walk up to him and gently push him awake. Then, upon being asked for help, the King will gently nod and send you back to the edge of the forest where you were in the first place. Approaching the Fairy King is hardly an easy task, however. As you walk through the clearing, you will be overcome by an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort. After just a few steps, the cushions and mattresses surrounding you will seem far more appealing than any destination you first had in mind. But beware. There is no turning back from the Fairy King's pillows. The soothing peace and relaxation that comes is unlike anything you have ever experienced. In fact, it is so comfortable, so restorative, that it is impossible to get out of it. Even something as simple as opening your eyes may be as painful as a thousand needles piercing your eyelids. And so, like many before you, you will join the Fairy King in his terribly peaceful slumber. Such is the sense of ease and tranquillity that you will never feel your body grow weak, immobile. You won't notice as you slowly melt into the surrounding cushions, your skin turning to the softest silk and your flesh to the softest feathers. Perhaps, in a final flash of realisation as your consciousness rots away, you will see things as they really are. More likely, you will fade into nothingness, never to see the bloated body of the fairy king and his horribly satisfied grin as he finishes what is left of you. At the centre of every forest lies the Fairy King, slumbering peacefully. Though he is in broad daylight, nothing can ever disturbs his sleep.