Tim woke at a leisurely hour. He massaged his neck and shoulders before rising with a yawn. “It will be a long journey to the forge,” he thought aloud. He strode over to a corner where he kept his travel-sack and bundle-stick. The feel of burlap meant great adventure to Tim, as he was far from well-travelled.
From his dresser Tim retrieved a fresh set of garments. A forest-green tunic above a linen shirt and cloth leggings made up his clothes for travel. Tim fished a fistful of copper coins, a few artichokes from his pitiful garden, and a waterskin. He placed them in his sack and tied them to his stick, setting it aside so that he could perform further preparations.
Food was limited in the forest. Tim nibbled at some wild pears that managed to grow on a feral tree not far from his dwelling. The excitement of his quest began to gnaw at him. With a toss of his fruit to his friends, Tim entered his boots, mounted his luggage on his shoulder, and set out into the wood.
The floor of the forest produced a soft crunch. Or a grotesque ooze when he stepped on… Nonetheless, Tim trudged forward at a brisk pace. The rounded to the east down a gentle slope. The downgrade was flanked by maples, the same trees he used to make syrup for the squirrels. He didn’t eat it himself, that would be folly. The squirrels don’t take kindly to people who eat their syrup.
The faint pathway out of the wood edged to the right along a spindly stream. The minor waterway was the main source of water in Tim’s part of the forest. It doubled as a marking system to grant the easiest exit from the forest. Tim followed it for about a mile with little excitement. That all changed.