"Those who brought their own evil, their own trickery into the Old Woods would be faced with evil and trickery. Those who brought anxiety, angst, melancholy, would be faced with these inner demons. Those who managed to bring little to nothing at all would see an eerie, repelling, enchanting forest all covered in moss and gnarled trees, ancient stones, the only paths being the paths of animals who had recently passed by. But even animal paths were rare to see: the Woods had a habit of changing its layout if it saw fit, criss-crossing the roots of its trees, which many lost souls who managed to later escape claimed to have walked, moved and changed places behind the backs of the unwary or fearful. Stones had faces, they said; the streams had voices, and the wind -- when there was wind -- laughed when they stumbled and fell. At the edge of the woods birds would chirp, but the further inside one went, the more muffled these sounds became, the close together the trees seemed to grow. Those who went in without terror, without hatred -- perhaps even with joy -- would find the Woods as confusing and inhospitable as the next, however, albeit a few exceptions. There was Fae activity, naturally, and there were spirits... there were monsters and strange beasts found nowhere else. Sometimes the unlucky would find the crumbled skeletons of those who had killed themselves from sheer madness, or who had been killed by mysterious circumstances, or eaten and deposited ungraciously on the mossy forest floor. The lucky might find strange, unmapped ruins of old temples, or dungeons, or labyrinths -- whatever the forest fancied, as was its prerogative. What the Old Woods willed within itself would come to be, and it was rumored that its collective spirit could make windows into the souls of its inhabitants and trespassers, and only those worthy to live or unworthy to die would come back out alive. Any who strayed off the one safe road, which ran through the middle and branched off here and there, took this risk and would have done well to know the likely consequences.
Somewhere in the middle of the woods, said some of these survivors, there was a gargantuan tree, and people more inclined towards the definitive wildness of the Woods called this the Mother Tree, not because they knew what it did, but because it had the air of a Mother, and because her roots ran all throughout the forest and her boughs stretched for an immeasurable distance and appeared to grow into the boughs of other ancient trees. They who beheld this tree noted that it took at least an hour to walk completely around, and the ones who had become lost by honesty and less by ignorant folly say that her roots seemed to guide them back onto the road, or to the edge of the woods itself. The spirit of nature is at once merciless and fair, and only one who understands this unwritten, unspoken code of morality will wisely walk the Old Woods' hidden trails. "