After all the hardships; fatigued, hurt and tired, our expedition, now consisting of about thirty men, has finally found a way to the centre of the forest. It had to be it, for it was too peculiar and awe-inspiring to be anything else. We were first greeted by a large clearing and in the middle of it stood the mightiest tree I have ever witnessed. The trunk thereof as huge as a castle and standing so tall, that one would have to climb good 2000 feet before the first branches could be reached. In the trunk gaped a vast opening, looking like an enormous arch of sorts. Our hearts were bursting with uncontrollable excitement and we rushed inside this obscure portal. The inside of the tree looked like a grove of sorts, filled with various plants and smaller trees. There was no need of any lanterns or lights, as the inside was illuminated by a series of green fluorescent fungi growing all over the wood. And in the centre of this was a small shallow pond encompassing a tiny island upon which stood a queer marble pedestal covered in all sorts of vines and roots. However to our surprise, there was nothing on the pedestal. It was around this moment, that we had realized, that during our rush towards the pedestal, about five of our members went missing. We decided to split up into smaller groups to cover more ground and if any hostile life were to be found, we would yell for help. Minutes passed and our group were none the wiser, but then faster than a man could blink, one of my comrades was swept of her feet by an array of root-like appendages, that then took hold of the ankles. Not a single scream left her mouth, for a second array had covered her mouth and face and I could only helplessly watch as she was swiftly dragged towards a nearby thicket. I let out a scream of anguish and fear to notify the others and I ran as quickly to the place where my comrade was taken. After finding my way across the thick and tall bushes I prepared myself to confront the ominous adversary and safe the expedition member, but nothing could have prepared me for what I have seen. My associate was hanging five feet from the earth, held in the thick and unsettlingly prolonged hands of a horrifying creature. The creature was about 10 feet tall and looked like a strange, twisted treant at first glance, but then I noticed some finer details. In the occasional cracks in the wood of the creature, I could see glimpses of flesh and bone, The wood on one of its fingers seemed to envelop some metal object and on the branches protruding from its back, an overly large red hat was hanging. The realization hit me like a horse and left me stunned for a few moments. This used to be the creature that had written the diary, this used to be the small fey brigand that frantically searched for the fabled Heart of The Forest. As this was going through my head, the creature violently snapped the neck of my fellow expeditioner like she was a ragdoll and then dropped her on the ground. I must have let out a gasp of horror, because the creature made a sudden jerk, quicker than anything of that shape and size should be capable of and I have found myself facing this abomination; and that’s when I saw it. Deep within its chest was a giant green heart with yellowish and greenish ichor pouring from it… The Heart of The Forest. Once seeing this, a sense of overwhelming dread filled my mind, I was paralyzed by the sheer power emanating from the heart. And I watched, unable to move, as the creature slowly raised its left hand and I recognized what the metal object in it was. I should have known a Brigand would never willingly abandon his blunderbuss, I closed my eyes and my life flashed before my life, as the silence was cut short by a sudden bang.

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