By Brian McNaughton

Winner of the realm myth Award. “You carry on your fingers a publication of reports that compelled Brian McNaughton to jot down. Make no mistake: I don’t exaggerate. There’s a cause this booklet gained the area fable Award. The tales inside of it are wealthy, attention-grabbing stuff—creepy and unsettling and phantasmic. think what Tolkien’s Lord of the jewelry may were like if Tolkien had attempted to inform that tale sympathetically from the perspective of the human denizens of Mordor and you’ll have the slightest feel of what you’re approximately to wade into—but in simple terms only a experience. those tales will make a similar calls for on you that they made on Brian: they'll command and compel you, and fill you choked with negative ask yourself. And whilst you’ve entire them you’ll end up short of more.” —Alan Rodgers

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I followed my father to work each day: not as other small boys would, to play at woodcutter, but to watch with grave disapproval and make sure he left my special friends standing. It was no use beating this nonsense out of my head, though he tried often enough. He was finally persuaded by one of our neighbors, a woman whose wisdom was ordinarily viewed with suspicion, that I was favored by the godlings who lived in trees. Even my stolid father used charms to fend off the snits of dryads his work might discommode, so the wise woman’s explanation, though not welcome, was accepted.

The colors of that Tribe were repeated in her untidy clothes and the ribbons of her braids. I guessed she was a thieving servant from the castle. Some days later she told me a story in which her distracted nurse called for her as “Lady Dendra,” but I shrugged that off. One of the few things I knew about great ladies was that they didn’t run loose in the woods with bare feet and dirty faces. She was even queerer than I was thought to be, but I didn’t hold it against her, for she was my first non-wooden friend.

That’s right, test every assertion for yourself,” he said, thumping me on the back. ” * * * * I grew fond of the swollen tree in the Bower, whose deformity subtly altered and enlarged from week to week. It said nothing to me, but I felt almost at peace when I sat leaning against its trunk and listening to the meaningless prattle of its branches. I came and went stealthily, a trick I knew well. Wizard or not, my host never surprised me, though he once came close. Sitting against the tree, lost in some reverie of Dendra, I felt a sudden tingle, and I couldn’t say whether the skin of my back or the bark had crawled.

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