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Heart of the Woods

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This is the heart of the woods. This is sacred ground. […] To the people of rock and stone, who built Hurlen and carved Eldest Island, who were masters here millennia before your ancestors came, before mine learned to walk like men. There's a legend that they used to bring their enemies here and… and shout them to death. […] There are a lot of stories about this place, some pretty grisly. There were terrible forces awake in Rathillien once—gods, demons, I don't know. None of our words seem to fit them. They still sleep in places like this. Let's go, Tori. We don't belong here. No one does, now.
Grimly, Dark of the Moon,
"Chapter 14: Gathering Forces"

The Heart of the Woods is a natural stone amphitheater hidden in a cleft in the bluff deep in the ancient and powerful woods on the western bank of the River Silver just before the Cataracts.[1] As the Wolver Grimly tells Torisen when he takes him there, "this is sacred ground […] to the people of rock and stone, who built Hurlen and carved Eldest Island, who were masters here millennia before your ancestors came".[2]

It is described as a hollow about a hundred feet across at its lower end, and somewhat deeper than that, and shaped like an egg with the opening at its smaller upper end. It is floored in ferns, and roofed in mists.

During the Battle of the Cataracts, Torisen and Adric blunder into the woods, and get separated; the gem of the Kenthiar begins to glow. Tori hears the changers calling for him in the woods. He stumbles into the Heart of the Woods, and the changers and Pereden surround him.[3]

Jame finds out Torisen was seen entering the woods, and rushes to join him and bring him Kin-Slayer, his father's sword. Eventually, she comes to the Heart and finds Tori fighting Pereden, and defeating him; but then one of the changers steps forward to battle Torisen, and Tori's blade dissolves in the changer's blood. Jame flings him Kin-Slayer but vanishes again in the mists. She stalks the remaining changers with the Ivory Knife, killing three of eight while Tori dispatches several as well, but he begins to tire. A changer knocks him down with his stone axe and grabs him, trying to squeeze Torisen to death. Jame throws the Ivory Knife and misses, and then she screams.

The cliffs answer her. Instinctively, she pitches her scream to the note of the answer, and feels her imu vibrate in her hand as if it too screams. She sees more diamantine imus appear in the cliff heights as the concealing earth falls off them.

The changers are badly affected, and convulse among the ferns. Jame tries to reach Tori, but loses consciousness.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Dark of the Moon, "Maps"
  2. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 14: Gathering Forces" — "It was an eerie place, full of leaf-filtered light and mist drifting between gray-trunked trees. Close as the Cataracts were, no sound of them penetrated here. […] Beyond, the bluff scooped inward, whether by art or nature it was hard to tell. The resulting hollow was about one hundred feet across at its lower end and somewhat deeper than that. It had rather the shape of an egg with the opening at its smaller upper end. Ferns covered its floor. Mist roofed it."
  3. Dark of the Moon, "Chapter 15: The Killing Ground"

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