World Building: The Labyrinth

The Forest of Lost Time

Until you try to leave, the Forest of Lost Time seems like any other forest of the mid-latitudes of Kerwin. The trees are tall, the undergrowth is sparse, and the light filters gently through the leaves. It is an idyllic place, marred only by the fact there there is no signing of birds. 

When you try to leave, however, you will quickly find that you are lost. Heading back the way that you came will do you no good, and those who have escaped the forest have claimed to walk for hundreds of miles in a straight line without finding the edge. No one gets hungry within the forest, nor thirsty, nor sleepy, and any violence inflicted within the forest will eventually be recovered from. It is, by all accounts, impossible to actually die while within the forest.

Escaping from the forest is a difficult prospect. In simple terms, all that is required is for a person to weave their way between the trees, going left around this one and right around that one. The difficulty is in divining the proper path, which is different for every person. Eventually, after years of walking through the forest, a person can start to notice when they’re coming across the same tree time and again, and after years of keeping track of the paths, a person can start to try making sense of how the forest warps around itself. From there, the path to freedom only takes another twenty or so years while you map the topography of the forest by walking it.

When people enter the forest seems to have no impact on when they exit it. Some people come out minutes later, claiming that they spent centuries inside, and some come out from ancient times, claiming that they turned back at once and came right out. Nowadays, the whole of the forest is blocked off to the people of the realm, and still people come out of the forest at the same steady rate as they always did, people from all over time. Just to the north lies the Timeless Inn, a welcoming station for those newly arrived from out of the forest, and a popular hangout of those who wish to talk of the timeless trees.

Some of them even return to the forest, claiming to like the peace and quiet there.

World Building: The Labyrinth

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