Here are my I-am-still-sick ramblings. Enjoy.
The young man rejoined the eclectic band of mercenaries, his thin frame still swaying slightly like the surrounding patrons he’d emerged from. Smiling, he addressed them all with outstretched arms while whispering through his teeth:
“I think I got something, the old monk.”
The five of them, including the young man, paved a straight path through the party, moving revelers out of their way with cold shoves and intimidating glares. Encompassing the rotund figure, the mercenaries waited. Sleepily the old man looked up at them:
“I’ll tell you once,” he said, “and then go on your way. I came here to forget.” Sitting up, he gave a distracted wave toward the barkeep, his eye never leaving the young man. Before the barkeep delivered the expected ale, the monk began to weave his tale:
“I was sent to the cabin, summoned or whatnot, the local lord wishing me to perform some blessing. The whole thing was vague, like a dream, and it seemed not two counts after hearing Father K describe the cabin that I was somehow walking through the woods, alone; but one is never alone. I could hear footsteps, voices, all hiding in the web of thin fog lazily drifting through the trees. Imperceptible whispers; it would drive a man mad to listen to those voices, to try and follow their fetid language. Up the road I could see the cabin, and that figure coming out of the mists. She was terrible, the witch, flying through the fog—no, with the fog, drifting silently with the all-encompassing fog, coming more and more into view.”
Here he stopped, and deeply drank of the odorous spirit. Panting, the one eyed creature quickly turned his head to each of them, settling on the youth.
“And you want to hear the rest?”
The young man nodded. “We know what will happen.”
“Then I’ll tell you what you want to know.” Wiping his moustache, he began to whisper of the strange cabin, his words weaving together intricately like the tendrils of fog slowly surrounding them all. As he told them about the cabin, the world fell away into the forest. Laughing, he looked at his slowly decaying hand.
“She got me,” he told them, “I tried to run when I saw her.”
He looked to the young man, and the young man looked at his rough face, the skin like grey ash dissolving around his skull. “She’ll keep you here if she wins. You’ll think you’re waking up, but she always drags you back into her realm, her forest of dreams.”
A breeze blew the skeleton away, the dust of his flesh melding into the ever-present fog. All that remained was his voice, continuing on in that indecipherable garble of the dead. The five mercenaries began their quest.
Found the image here: https://imgur.com/gallery/e2leKSL