The Foreſt of Shrines

Thou awakenſt, quite unſure of thy ſurround­ings, in a fremd foreſt. Thou haſt never been here — at leaſt, not that thou canſt remember — and yet it ſeems ſo familiar, like a half-remember­ed noſtalgic dream. As thou walkeſt along its ancient earthen paths, gliſten­ing leaves crunching under thy feet, a fork in the road appears. Which way wilt thou go?

A clearing in the trees.
ἈΠΌΛΛΩΝ

Thou ſtumbleſt into a meadow of golden graſs. The riſing ſun beckons a chorus of birdſong — perhaps audible only to thee — backed by the æthereal ſtrumming of a lyre, with no apparent ſource. A ſmall houſe of well-preſerved marble preſents itſelf to thee in the centre of the plain, glowing with the ſort of ambiënt warmth and light that could only be faſhioned in a dream.

Enter.
ἈΠΌΛΛΩΝ
Deeper inwards.
ΔΙΌΝΥΣΟΣ

Thou trekkeſt deeper and deeper into the foreſt, bruſhing paſt nettles and grape-vines, frantic­ally manœuvr­ing over and under ſtray logs... and finally, wiping the ſweat from thy brow, thou makeſt it into the heart of the woods. An almanac's worth of animals have gathered to watch, but none ſeem aggra­vated by thy preſence. At the back of this reſpite lies a well-worn temple whoſe floors glow with an in­explic­able purple light, and from which an over­powering ſmell of wine emanates.

Enter.
ΔΙΌΝΥΣΟΣ
A deep, dark cave.
ΓΑΙ͂Α

The entrance to the cave is darker than night's blackeſt black, but nevertheleſs, thou braveſt thy primordial fears and enter. Scaling the unlit twists and turns brings thee to an enrormous atrium, lit by roaring flame and fire which fails to burn the tufts of graſs around it. The mere thought of worſhipping here intimidates thee to no end... and yet, the cavern's warmth is comforting, like thou haſt entered the embrace of a loving mother. A verdant green gate catches thine eye, its flowering walls a ſharp contraſt from the ſrounding rock and fire.

Enter.
ΓΑΙ͂Α
Faintly-heard running water.
ἙΡΜΑΦΡΌΔΙΤΟΣ

Thou tip-toeſt ſilently over the dirt and mud, trying to trace the ſource of a nearby brook. The water is clear as owt, but ſomehow glimmers none­theleſs with ſplendid cerulean and violet the cloſer it gets to its origin. Legs covered in wounds from the ſharp rocks, thou comeſt acroſs a lowly pond framed by a majeſtic cliff-ſide. As thou dippeſt thy feet in, thou findeſt that thy ſcrapes and cuts diſsipate in its healing glow. Thou noticeſt a peculiar grotto in the rocks— a ſolitary candle ſeems to flicker, but otherwiſe there is no ſign of life; thou deduceſt that the deïty of this ſhrine might not be well-worſhipped.

Enter.
ἙΡΜΑΦΡΌΔΙΤΟΣ
Continue along the path.
ἙΡΜΗ͂Σ

With a flutter in thy ſtep, thou walkeſt the path, which ſeems as if it is older than the foreſt itself. Thou walkeſt and walkeſt for what ſeems like hours, but thy body never tires. Miles and miles along, ſtill firmly inſide the foreſt's bounds, the way ſplits in two. Further along the twin branches lie what ſeem to be the ſtalls of a ſeaſonal market — thou canſt only imagine the conviviality of its atmoſphere when in full ſwing. Tucked between either ſide lies a ſhrine flanked by two well-endowed ſtanding ſtones.

Enter.
ἙΡΜΗ͂Σ
🙤 Leave the forest