A Ramshackle Shack
The rain lashed the back of the armored man, drumming a staccato rhythm against his helmet. He thought it would blow his eardrums if it wouldn’t die down. The soaked twigs and leaves snapped under the horse’s hooves.
Then he saw it: the ramshackle shack stood on spindly legs, perched a few feet off the forest floor. He drew up to the candlelit threshold and dismounted his steed. The door creaked like a chorus of dying crickets when he opened it.
The room before him was bright and warm. A fireplace burned with the intoxicating aroma of Snuffwood. Somehow, magnificent tapestries squeezed in beside opaque jars filled with unknowable oddities.
Two over-stuffed armchairs appeared with a puff of smoke. The traveler gratefully sat down while a wizened old stick of a man filled the chair across from him.
“Hugo! So you have come!” the old man said.
“I have. Now, you spoke of grave news. What of it?” Hugo sighed, wet hair flopping down in his eyes.
“I did, didn’t I?”