If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE.
Search for the Woodcutter
The woodcutter was not nearby. Erik dashed to the castle stable and tossed a saddle and bridle on his pony, Benton. In no time he was mounted and trotting smartly across the drawbridge, down the frozen road, and into the forest.
For a while, all he heard was the wind whispering through the snow-frosted treetops, the music of birdsong, and the noisy chatter of squirrels. "I hope that jester knew what he was talking about, " Erik said, wishing he had brought a snack.
Suddenly, Benton's furry ears tipped forward at the sound of an axe ringing on wood.
Erik headed for the sound of chopping and before long came upon the woodcutter. "Good day, sir!" he called out.
The woodcutter ceased swinging his axe. He leaned it up against a stump, wiped an arm across his brow, and stepped forward. "Good day to you, young man," he greeted Erik. "What brings you into Fenn Forest? T'isn't the safest place for a boy and a pony traveling alone."
"My birthday present is missing," said Erik. "I think it was stolen from the king's castle. I'm trying to find out what happened. Have you seen anything out of the ordinary today?"
The woodcutter's brow furrowed in thought. "Now you mention it, I did see someone on a fast black horse earlier this morning. Seemed to be in an awful hurry."
"Which way did they go?" Erik asked eagerly.
"That way." The woodcutter pointed west.
"Thank you!" Erik said, turning Benton to the west, noting as he did so that the winter sun was well past its zenith, the afternoon half gone.
"Wait!" said the woodcutter. "Half a mile or so down that path, the trail forks. I cannot tell you which way the rider went from there. You'll have to look for clues."
"I will!" siad Erik. "Many thanks!"
He and Benton headed down the forest path. About half a mile along, they reached a fork, just as the woodcutter had said they would. "Hmmm...." Erik muttered to Benton. "To the left, the snow is so churned up I can't tell if there are fresh hoof prints. To the right, there are two sets of hoof prints, but the woodcutter only mentioned one rider..."
If Erik chooses the left path, go HERE
If Erik chooses the right path, go HERE