Never go beyond the briar thicket
The warning echoed dully in Nelacar’s head. With the perfect poise of haughty arrogance his high elf kin were known for, he stepped over the invisible line and delved deeper into the woods. Rules had levels and only toddlers were given such basic boundaries. He needed materials and no rule or children’s ghost story would stop him.
He had joined the college to improve his craftmanship, to further his ability to transform naturally produced elements of nirn and turn them into powerful creations. Instead they handed out offcuts of the most basic materials, expecting someone of his natural skill to make simple bows and toy staves. It was like putting a master stone mason into a sand pit and telling him to create his wonders.
It simply would not do.
He had traversed the forest before. Ancient trees, as tall as the college master’s tower, cast a deep canvas of shade. Bushes and ferns bloomed in dark greens. The sound of wolves would carry upon the strange breeze that smelt of wood, damp and fur. It was every bit the haunted woods stories were made of and nothing like back home in sweet Summerset. With such a reputation and uneering feel, few dared enter past the oddly uniform line of thickets that rimmed the edge of the woods proper.
Which meant Nelacar could always find good quality materials in abundance.
His latest hunt was for heartwood. While his mentors might coo over elemantary hilts and handles for their preferred weapons, he had taken to crafting furniture when resting in his room at the local inn. Soon he would have just enough to house a guest. Once he had all the parts assembled he would write home to his love, telling her to pack her bags and come join him in his hand made abode.
The hairs on his neck rose and not for the first time he felt he was being watched.
Probably the college divining me
He recast his rudimentary ward against such far seeing eyes. It didn’t seem to help. A low howl came from further in the woods, as if in warning.
Or just wolves. I can handle them.
His bravado wasn’t felt by his body, his next step hesitant. Checking his bag, he had already gathered enough to make another chair. He had come as far as he ever had and there really was no need to go further.
He had come this far. If he found a little more materials he could turf his single bed and assemble a larger, more comfortable design. It would surely win his beloved’s approval.
He walked deeper into the woods.