You know it’s dangerous to wander through unknown portions of the wood, so you’re trying to find the path Pink Squirrel lead you down, so you can get back to familiar territory. But try as you might, you just can’t find it. Desperation creeps under your skin. This could be disastrous. It wasn’t just Pink Squirrel who told you that wandering the woods was dangerous. It was everyone.

You stay in the grave yard for a little while, trying to delay the inevitable. But you have to face it, now. You don’t have a choice.

You venture into the unfamiliar woods.

“Not everyone’s as friendly as us,” your little community of magical woodland creatures said. “Only go where we show you. Only go where you know it’s safe. Because even the safe places aren’t very safe. So you can imagine just how unsafe the unsafe places are.” That’s what the shrew told you. The snake said something very similar. Pink Squirrel did too. Do you wish she was here, now?

This part of the woods doesn’t seem so strange. It seems very much like the portion of the woods you know so well, the portions of the wood the animals have been trying to acquaint you with. What’s so different, what’s so dangerous? Maybe it’s fine. Maybe this is a safe space no one’s bothered to show you yet. That wouldn’t surprise you at all.

But you’re noticing, now, the silence that didn’t quite sink in this morning. It’s oppressive, now, in this unfamiliar wood. Not a single bird chirp. You can’t even hear a single leaf whispering in the wind. Be careful, be careful. Your mind’s turning into an echo chamber, the silence amplifying your every thought.

You hear a sudden flapping of wings, loud as a gunshot in this silence, and you start so badly it hurts. You turn, and turn, trying to find the bird, and then—

“My, my. Have you gotten yourself into trouble!”

It’s Crow. You’ve caught glimpses of Crow, here and there, but the two of you have never spoken before.

Crow is perched high in a tree, carefully preening elegant black wing feathers. Crow’s eye seem to shine with delight as Crow looks down on you.

“It’s been a long time, since a guest has been so foolish as you. This is going to be great fun.”

Crow flies down, to land on the leaf-littered dirt in front of you. “You’re going to need my help. If you don’t take it, you won’t last the night. What you don’t know is that you've signed yourself up for a game, and you don’t even know the rules. You’ve made yourself a whole host of enemies in about, oh, five minutes time, which is impressive. Talk about playing your cards wrong. But, listen: it wasn’t a bad decision. I actually think it was a good one. Certainly the most exciting. Come along, now. We’d better get prepared.”