Surrounding you on this dim night the wooden platforms creak ominously in the chilling dusky wind. The towering instruments of death sit still and thankfully empty under the brooding and sinister clouds that flee through the sky. Thoughts of how many people had been executed only several feet from where you stand sends a cold shiver down your spine. This gloom drowned square is the creepiest part of Loreuna, famous for its foreboding atmosphere and fantastical ghost stories due to its obvious association with death. Unwanted but unable to stop them the memories of stories involving the dead flutter though your mind as a tenebrous cloud skids across the moon bathing the area in darkness for a moment. The air grows instantly and noticeably colder, making you shiver even more. You get the feeling you need to leave this somber shady square and turn to leave. However at that moment the eerie moonlight comes back revealing the figure of a black clothed crone standing just behind you. Of course you jump in fright, how had she got there? Why was she there? Who was she? You open your suddenly dry mouth to speak, but then her eyes flick up from under ragged and wild strands of dirty ashen hair, the pale orbs with icy depths feel like they are looking right into your soul. Your mouth hangs open, the words trapped within the powerful binding fear this place and the woman has placed on you. The torn coal coloured cloth garments she wears shift slowly around her as she takes a step closer. The hair on the back of your neck stands up, you dont want her closer, you want to run but you cant. Both yours and her eyes, cold as death itself, are now locked on, staring as if your life depended on it. Then a smile crinkles the weathered wrinkly skin, though it is not the friendly smile you would get from an elderly relative, it was a sharp smile laced with the look of malevolence. In a creaky decrepit voice she croaks, 'would you like a story my child? You may get something out of it.'
There once was a tale of a old lady in a creepy house on top of a tall hill in a deep dark marsh in a deep dark wood that devoured any being foolish enough to dare enter its ominous depths. Scary stories spread through all the nearby villages of chilling cacklings, strange apparitions, and even stranger creatures dwelling near that decrepit house, the home of the baintre witch. Named after the woodland on which she lived she was notorious for the devilish and spectral cats that could be seen weaving through the bloodied brier and thorny bushes that festooned her porch. The nearby pumpkin patches were home to skeletal beasts that roamed about in the moonlight, what looked like once proud horses reduced to bleached bones and saggy scraps of skin. The stories of the evil witch herself where much worse. There were tales of how her eyes were everywhere in the dim undergrowth, and how she had enchanted the woods to lead travellers around in circles until their feet bled, only coming to rest by their final fatal meeting of the baintre witches pets. Or how she lured children in with the mouth watering scent of freshly baked pumpkin, pies so she could then use the mutilated young ones parts in her depraved and damnable spells.
However it had not always been this epicentre of corruption and rot. Once long ago the marshland had been lush, the horses had been healthy, alive and normal, the same with the cats. But it was one fateful day, only a single event that turned the poor womans life on its head. Back then she had been a loving and kind being, fair skinned and fair haired spending her days quietly tending to a small field of crops and animals not disturbing anyone. She had even had a lover, a handsome gent from the nearest village on the edge of the black forest. Sadly an idyllic life was not meant for her as one day when she was out scouting through the dense forest for berries to sweeten her recipes she happened upon an ancient artifact. A large yet moveable jade stone covered in tomes of scratchings and marks that marred its glittering surface. Intrigued by her interesting find she immediately took the stone home and started to try and decipher some of the words. Most of it beyond a small paragraph was in some strange tongue she didn’t recognise. But she soon realised the words had a power to them, even if she didn’t understand them. One word scratched into a wooden post would give her a abnormally large yield of crops, another would summon a ball of light above the surface it was written. However this seemingly fortunate windfall began to twist and distort her once bright fate. The darker unnatural power of the stone enthralled and compelled her, taking over her life as she became obsessed with its complicated secrets. Herself and her house fell into ruins, and her once beloved pets became victims of evil distorting experiments. They say the worst fortune was saved for the lover as when he finally went to see his increasingly silent and reclusive maiden he found her appearance to have already been drained of colour and haggard due to her over use of the stones power. Recoiling in terror from the hag that had once been his beautiful young girl the man tried to escape through the front door. But then the demonic animals enslaved under the witches will blocked the way and fell upon the petrified male. Some say they can still hear his pain filled anguished screams across the woods on windy dark nights as she keeps him, or some of him, trapped in the house of horrors only using him for the most awful parts of her sorcery. Do you believe this story to be true, or is it all simply town gossip? Whatever you believe there are still people going missing in that cursed forest, and there are still many things we do not understand in this world arent there?
With a high pitched cackle that would have scared even the devil out of his hooves she disappears in the blink of an eye leaving you wondering what just happened. All thats left is the scruffy remains of some black material on the ground. However you can see a lump underneath the cloth, did you just see it move? Could this be the reward for staying in this terrifying place? You lift the black cloth warily... Lift the cloth and see if you're lucky...