Tales from The Crypt: Toten Tree Guardians


  • Baron

    Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/feuldp/secrets_of_the_fae_folk_tree_spirits/

    Thunk.
    Thunk.
    Thunk.

    “Stand back! Timber!”

    The axeman made one last swing towards the tree.

    Thunk.

    Then he hastily retreated. The tree lurched slowly to one side, then suddenly collapsed onto the forest floor. A loud boom rang out as it collided with the ground. For a moment, the forest was absolutely silent.

    “We’re clear. Let’s start cleaning it up.”

    The crew of lumberers cleaved limbs from the fallen tree. The scraps were tossed aside, and the trunk became exposed. Other workers tied ropes around the exposed tree and readied a Heavy Draft for the log’s transport.

    The forest remained silent. The usual chatter of squirrels, chirping of birds, even rustling of leaves in the light forest wind was curiously absent. The only noises to be heard were those of the crew hacking away at the tree. Several of the workers paid no mind, continuing the steady pace of their work. The chief axeman, however, was keenly aware of this unnatural calm. He tried to remain focused on work. The deep dark of the forest contains many terrors: some real, some imagined. He prayed to the Six that this was imagined.

    A cool, humid draft descended upon the worksite. The stillness of the tree leaves persisted, despite the motion of air. The workers finally noticed, and their repetitive motions of hacking and cutting came to a stop. Now the forest was truly calm.

    The heavy draft whinnied in agitation. Its rider was thrown to the ground, and the horse desperately struggled against the ropes holding it to the log. Several of the workers tried to calm the creature; others hastily began getting out weapons. The heavy draft took off, dragging the log with it. In the chaos several lumberers were crushed under the half-processed log, or struck by stray branches still attached to the fallen tree. The tree snagged against the ground. The ropes drew taught. Then they snapped, and fell loosely to the ground, as the heavy draft galloped away.

    The cool draft thickened into a fog. The sunlight filtering through the trees dimmed, and the once bright day became a dim twilight.

    “Prepare to fight!” yelled the head axeman. The unwounded crew grabbed their spears and got into a fighting stance.

    A green glow illuminated the work site. The light came from deep within the forest, and the trees cast long shadows onto the ground. The light drew closer. A large humanoid creature wreathed in leaves and enclosed in bark towered above the trees. Its footsteps fell unnaturally quietly for a creature of its stature. It stopped at the edge of the clearing and peered down towards the crew.

    Thunk.
    Thunk.
    Thunk.

    Thunk.

    The fog lifted. Sunrise once again touched the ground, and a warm breeze rustled the tree leaves. The sounds of the forest once more came to life.


    Several hours later, the heavy draft arrived at a nearby lumber mill. It was still clearly agitated, and took several hours to become calm once more. The mill dispatched a rescue party. They followed the horse’s tracks back to the camp. There was no sign of the lumber crew, save for broken spears strewn across the ground.


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