The Devil’s Wood was what the locals called it. Rumour was that all manner of things lived in it. Elves. Vampires. Things with no human name. People would spend days travelling around rather than through it.

If you couldn’t help but enter, there were rules you abided by if you wanted to survive.

Rule one: Don’t travel at night. Night is when all the creatures of the wood are awake, and it’s best not to attract attention.

Rule two: Stick to the path. The wood has a life of its own and is hungry, but the path will keep you safe. The path will lead you out.

Rule three: Keep silver and iron on you at all times. These will protect you from most creatures that mean you harm.

Everyone knew about these rules. And most people respected them. But every so often, no more than once or twice every few years, there would be some fool who would break them.