Even though the menace of a virtually sunless sky loomed overhead, the Thicket seemed to have a light unto it’s own. As the dark from the outside nuzzled the air and trees, glooming all that is known with a dim promise, the area where the group has just stepped into was awash in a diffused brightness.

The Thicket was nothing more than that really, a lush wooded area thick with heavy forest growth, but there was nothing really ‘thickety’ about the place. It was always referred to as such because of the dense bramble and collection of tree, yet once you stepped inside, one was met with a fairly open space that was protected by that towering hedged wall of stems, sticks and spines. Circumventing and seemingly out of place, the Thicket’s harsh partition grew tall and ominous, coming together in a center point above its interior arena yet open enough to not fully cover up the sky. Through reaches of spear-like shoots and branches, the heavens made itself known over a jagged skylight peering through the dome like summit. Above them, just edging through the coils of forest fortitude, hung that blacked out sun, waxing into the afternoon sky.

Down below, our friends walked into the safety of the Thicket, slowly, talking very little while scouting around to familiarize themselves with a place they knew all too well. It was their very own hidden cathedral that only the five friends were lucky to have found and were able to call their own.

“It looks so different in this spooky light,” Oskar mentioned. “The last time we were here, the sun was it’s usual bright self. I’m beginning to feel quite sorry for it. Still, it always feels like home here. My real home.”

“What I’m sorry about is the fact that we didn’t bring snacks,” Jorty chimed, rubbing his belly. “Who else is hungry?”

“Didn’t you just eat?” asked a confounded Dobran.

“Yeah, well…that was a while ago. And it was just a small bite. Pretty hard to catch too.”

“Oh boy, oh boy,” Micha sputtered. “I don’t feel too good. No way. Not at all. Th-th-this is bad, bad I tell you. Don’t you feel it? Can’t you feel that…that…badness? It feels thick, like my uncle’s radish stew. I can tell when something is not right. And something is definitely not right here.”

“Micha, of course something is wrong. We have no sun,” said Uwa as the voice of reason. “That’s why we’re here.”

“No. No. There’s something else,” twittered Micha nervously. “I can feel it. There’s something else here in the Thicket.”

The Thicket, even being surrounded by that tall prickly wall, was a nice spot, almost a picnic area really, with a few rocks, shrubs and the occasional flower decorating it. Still, in all of its rudimentary appearance, the Thicket had one curious feature to it. Everything was in a spiral and joined together at a center. Not available to the unassuming eye, at first, the Thicket was indeed embellished in such a way that the intention of it’s bearing was to draw all to it’s core, which is where the five friends were approaching. A forest shrine, deep in their screened sanctuary, hidden by a stronghold of wooden daggers, had indeed a nexus. It took our friends many visits to discover its layout, but once they did, it made them feel as if the five friends had stumbled across a place of wonder and enigma. They still try to break the code of why the Thicket is such, how it came to be and the meaning behind it all, but it is of no real consequence to them in all honesty. The Thicket is their place of solitude and secrets, their special meeting place, because interaction between such a diverse range of Woodland inhabitant is frowned upon and misunderstood. This hidden wooded cathedral, they say at times, perhaps found them.

“Well, what do you think is here?”, asked Oskar. “I don’t see anything, except for the usual lot of flower and stone. Nor do I feel anything.”

“I know what’s here,” said Jorty. He then lifted his left leg and produced a loud BRAP! from his bottom that echoed throughout the Thicket.

“Oh, come on!” shouted Dobran. “Really Jorty? Here? Now? This is no time for that kind of behavior. Or the place.”

“Sorry,” Jorty snickered. “Just thought I’d break the tension by breaking wind.”

“Gross,” said Oskar, laughing, holding his nose.

The group meandered their way into the center area of the Thicket. That medial core space had five distinct flat rocks that they all laid out quite a while ago circling a raised, perfectly leveled tree trunk that was, apparently, the absolute center point of the Thicket. Both surfaces of the rocks and tree trunk were very smooth, even shining a bit. That is if the proper light was available, which it sure was not that day. Before anyone could sit down, Micha suddenly stopped and began feverishly pointing towards something.

“There! Over there!”, he quaked. “There’s something over there! Just past that bush!”

The other four slowly turned their heads to see what Micha was going on about. Focusing on what he was pointing towards only revealed a thick dark green bush with nothing more than the Thicket wall behind it.

“Um…I don’t see anything,” Jorty said rather impassive. “There’s just that old bush, as always.”

“You know, come to think of it,” Uwa began,”you’ve always been drawn to that area Micha. I wonder…why is that?”

Micha could not take his eyes off of the bush that resided in the distance. Consumed with emotions and discordant thoughts, he held his two paws in front of his mouth and bobbled up and down wildly.

“You’re right Uwa,” noted Oskar. “He’s always had a thing about that area.”

“Look, I’ve been over there a dozen times at least,” Dobran broke sounding a bit exasperated, “and I haven’t seen a gall darn thing. ‘Cept, for some rocks and debris. It’s just an old bush. I don’t get it.”

“Well, let’s worry about it later,” suggested Uwa. “Micha, are you alright?”

The twittering Rabbit seemed completely distracted yet was easily drawn back into the group when Uwa showed concern.

“Y-y-yes. Yes I’m fine. Yes. I’m okay. It’s just…oh, never mind. It’s probably n-n-nothing. Nothing really. Just my imagination. That’s all. Yes. J-j-just my imagination.”

“Good,” nodded Uwa with a smile. “Now let’s get down to business.”