The statues carved into every tree and stone peered down at Daurian, forbidding his advance into the Vitasbæn Woods. Most of them were large and commanding, some were small and eldritch, and a few looked like frightened children. As he passed each one, he examined their faces – the spiderwebs in their mouths and empty eyesockets, the moss clinging to their cold skin, and the dead leaves caught in the deep crevices of their bodies.
Beside Daurian, Borisdar’s movements were rigid. Drismatir tried to calm the horse’s unease, but her own agitation prevented such success. The horses of Kieran, Lyreth, and Lorendel – who led the procession – were even more nervous.
Narri’s brows were beetled, his eyes narrow, and his breaths short. He allowed Daurian to come up beside him and said, “I feel as if the statues’ eyes are trained on us.”
Drismatir interjected, “They are gargoyles – their eyes are trained on you. But they look not at your physical forms, but your spiritual. They decide whether or not one deserves to pass through alive by scrutinising the soul. If one is deemed unworthy, they will kill him.”