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Mid Wood is one of the three forests part of the Forests of Silence. The central and smallest of the three Forests, Mid Wood straddles the border between the Topaz and Ruby territories. It is notable for its varied bird life and small furred beasts such as squirrels, wood mice and tiny, bright-eyed, highly intelligent creatures called Siskis, which are sadly becoming rare due to the rapid increase in Flesh Python numbers. Mid Wood is most easily entered by turning right off the Great North Road into a narrow track called Knight's Bane Lane.
Dangers of Mid Wood
A small, spider-webbed, vine-hung clearing in the Forest's centre is known to local people as 'The Dark'. There was, prior to the quest for the Belt of Deltora, a malignant, gold-armoured presence in the centre of Mid Wood - those who have seen it for themselves and told the tales narrowly escaped with their lives. It is said that Gorl guards the fabled Lilies of Life, having killed both his brothers, Greddock and Gudden, in a quarrel over the Lilies' life-giving nectar in the time before the uniting of the seven tribes of Deltora. The three of them had come to the Forests in search of the Lilies. Should anyone come across Gorl, he challenges them at the entrance to his enclosure; he gives them a choice: leave immediately or die by his hand. Gorl has supernatural strength and the power to bend others to his will. No one who has fought him - before Jasmine, Barda and Lief- has survived. He feeds the vines of his enclosure with the flesh and blood of his fallen foes.
Dangers common to all three woods
Snakes, swamps, poisonous fungi, biting lizards, wild cats and so on will surely be expected by the traveller brave enough (or foolish enough) to defy all warnings and enter any of the woods. The following 4 dangers are common in the Forests but are found nowhere else in Deltora.
Extremely venomous spiders, black with a red stripe. They are not particularly large - the biggest specimens are generally found to be no broader than an index finger - but what they lack in size they make up in aggression. Unlike most spiders, a Silence Spider will actually attack an intruder who ventures too close to its web, leaping outward with enormous speed, trailing a thread of silk behind it & generally aiming for the head. A bite from a Silence Spider is almost instantly fatal, which gives a grim double meaning to its name.
These are large, yellow carnivorous plants that grow at ground level in shady areas. The long, fleshy leaves, which can be as long as a man is tall, fan out from a centre that resembles a pile of red berries & lie flat to the ground, forming an almost perfect circle easily mistaken for a patch of sunlight. Anything living that unwarily walks upon the Sunray is quickly trapped and devoured as the leaves snap shut with astonishing speed, furling to form a thick spear.
Usual prey includes Wenn, birds, snakes, Wood Mice & Leaf Creepers, but larger specimens can and do trap & digest average-sized humans.
Woody pods that hang from the flowering branches of the Coffin Tree. The red, orchid-like blooms of the tree are beautiful, but the pods are vicious, and snap at any living thing that passes. They can kill insects, lizards & small birds, but are not large enough to do humans more harm than severing an ear or a finger. Nevertheless, they should be avoided, particularly in First Wood, since the smell of warm blood is attractive to the Wennbar.
Flesh Pythons are so called because of their glistening red, apparently skinless appearance. Most are about the length of a large eel, but specimens have been reported of twice or even 3 times that size. They have no fangs, but kill their prey (any living creature that they can take unawares, including members of their own species) by strangling & swallowing whole. They are ground-dwelling, & usually sleep coiled in fern beds during the day, coming out in great numbers to hunt by night. Fortunately they cannot climb trees.