Even before she opened her yes, Lira knew she was in a forest. The air was wet, heavy, old. Darkness shrouded everything but not ominously so—enough moonlight shone through the canopy that she was not afraid. And in any case, she knew she was dreaming—that logical step that comes when one becomes aware they are in a fantastic, strange place but is not alarmed by it.
She took a step forward and the silence around her began to show it’s true nature: insects flitted, leaves rustled, creature tittered, an owl hooted. There was no wind to speak of; the air lay dense and thick around her.
In the way that things can suddenly appear in dreams where they were not before, and yet it all seems natural, the ground in front of her was now a soft incline marked with moss covered stone steps.
They led around a massive stone visage—a head, she saw, as she stepped closer, of a man: full lips, stubbed nose, bald, save the grass, ferns, and moss that covered his pate. The sculptor’s craft was rudimentary: eyelids were raised over blank, featureless eyes. The thing stood taller than her—perhaps at nine feet, though she was never a good judge of height. It lay as if fallen from some passing behemoth who wandered too far into the woods and, figuratively and literally, lost his head.
Lira giggled to herself at the image, and stopped when she felt watched. Looking up, she saw…her mind had no word. The creature was bipedal and small. It was made of wood, like a tree grown into the shape of a mischievous little boy still proud of his pot belly. Intelligent eyes shone (quite so—it was no mere moonlight reflection that made the pin dots burn in the darkness) from a gnarled and barked face that somehow did not give the impression of age. A thin mouth with wooden lips smirked at her. Thin branch arms, ending in delicate twig fingers extended from his shoulders. One hand was cocked jauntily on his hip. With the other, he reached towards her and gestured gently: come along, then.