Listen up, recruits. I'm warning you only once.
When exploring the forest, don't go alone. The Island of Dawn is no place for picnics or sightseeing. Beyond the fires are dangerous creatures and spirits.
Around here, the biggest threat is Vekas, the Wicked Tree. Other ghilliedhu lumber about, “protecting” something no one can see and attacking when provoked. Vekas is different. It's a killer, and few survive the sharp bite of its claws.
If you want to live, ask questions now. Otherwise, I'll try and send someone out for your body when you don't come back.
Ghilliedhu aren't nightmare creatures, demons, or corrupted animals. They look today as they've always looked, as far back as anyone can remember. They're forest spirits, existing to protect and guide living things in natural surroundings.
What's different here is that there are so many of them. Usually in a place this size there'd be one, maybe two ghilliedhu—and even then you might never even catch a glimpse. Having so many walking around is more than a little unnerving. What's worse, the ones you see here aren't protecting anything. They're confused, unfocused, and more than a little upset. Not at us, but at...something. I don't know what.
We've tried clearing the roads, collecting samples--even ignoring them. We put one down, the spirit “jumps” to some other vegetation and reforms. In just a few seconds, there's a full-grown ghilliedhu stomping mindlessly around, saying nothing, giving no hint as to what's bothering it. Wasted time and effort, and because of it, there are some of us who aren't going home.
Because of it. Because of Vekas.
Vekas is different from the others, but me and my squad didn't know that the first time we faced it. Yeah, that's right, the first time. We put it down like any other, but quick as you please a nearby ghilliedhu swells up and rushes us. Eldred went down fighting, and didn't get back up. Then another one changed, and then another.
Now Sybella's dead, Roderic's dead, and Vekas is stalking around where it thinks we can't see. I'm not allowed to go back out again after it, but I know this: as long as we're here on this island, it's not going away. Dulari thinks it's the "prime" spirit--the one that's supposed to be our guardian. He thinks it's confused. He thinks it can be reasoned with.
He's never heard it laugh.
I want to chop that thing into planks and build coffins out of what's left. I want to build a fire with its limbs--one so big it makes Balder's Eyes water.
I want...I want my friends back.
Ramun says it's holed up under an big tree to the south, but every time I see something large and wooden moving where a soldier should be, feel the ground shaking as roots pull up and walk like a man, I know Vekas is close by.
Watching, and waiting to finish the job it started on my people.
Next time you fight a ghilliedhu, make sure you know what you're doing. When the arms spread wide, either jump, spin, or get out of the way as best you can. When it slams down on the ground, move around behind and hit it with all you've got. Move fast after it falls, and run if you have to. You can't kill it for good, but at least you can buy some time for your buddies.
Be careful out there. Don't make me write any more letters to weeping mothers. You and I, we've got more important things to do.