For long moments the creature strides forth in total silence. Cedrick is almost certain the creature has not heard him--or has chosen to ignore him--when at last, unexpectedly, the creature answers in a voice as low and subtle as the sap rising in spring, "A guardian of what was here long ago. Now I help the Lady. She protects us and keeps the dark ones and the fire-bringers at bay."
The creature's words evoke strange, dreamlike visions: the image of a fierce, lovely woman, terrible and powerful beyond imagining, her masklike ivory face soon cracks into ancient age as she becomes the crone, her lusterless, shadowed eyes pierce you to the core; a separate image in which swarms of shadowy, spider-like creatures shambling wretchedly through the timeless mists, blighting the once lovely forest with their foulness; and finally a vision men and women, like those who now dwell in Haven's Hold, bearing torches that burn and scald and wound the dry bark of trees and tree-kind.
At last, the visions cease, only to be replaced by a real sight, somehow all the more fantastic for its solidity. You now stand before the massive tree-tower. As the thorn-creature gestures toward the unbroken face of the tower's trunk, a portal opens, slowly, with a creaking groan of ancient wood, until you see a great spiral staircase leading upward, into the heart of the tower.
The image of the crone's face flickers in your minds again and you feel her bidding you on. "Come" she seems to say, and though nothing compels you to do so, you feel that you must answer her call. Everything in her speaks of mystery and wisdom. Surely this ancient woman must be able to help you with your quest, help to shed light upon the mysteries you have only barely begun to glimpse...