Sommeil, XXXX, Europe The babbling of water laping at the sides of their canoes was nearly hypnotic. An uncomfortable hush had fallen over the group from the moment the river began to narrow and the trees moved in overhead. And even though most of them had long lost their leaves, their spiny fingers reached out to tangle with each other and do their best to snuff out the frail sunlight from an overcast midday sky. Not a sound came from the forest around them. No critter footprints on snowy banks to be seen. The river was narrowing by the minute and patches of newborn ice were appearing at the edges. A thin mist arose ahead, hovering just barely over water, making it difficult to spot any obstacles that might have been peeking out from below the surface. But it was fine since they'd finally reached the dock. Jutting out from the bank, it was old and battered but still rather sturdy even if it creaked and protested at each person who climbed up onto it. Quickly the canoes were unloaded and dragged up out of the water. They were carried back from the bank a little and chained to a tree, just in case. And as if to test the strength of those chains, a cold wind swept down the river, clawing at the canoes and even more at the 'guests' as they gathered on the dock. Despite the low temperature nipping at his nose, Denver Liu donned his best friendly smile and gazed around at his group. "We'll have to walk from here. The forest is too thick and the river lessens considerably." His voice pierced the air, commanding attention like an unnatural sound in the basement at night. "Conversation amongst the group is fine, but remember to pay attention to where you're going. Don't stray from the path. This forest has a knack for making you horribly lost. And when we get to Sommeil, never go anywhere by yourself. The buddy system is tried and true, so make a friend now." Dark eyes sweeping the group of faces for a moment, Denver smiled again and bent to pick up his backpack. "Any questions before we go?" he asked, sliding his arms through the straps and adjusting the heavy weight on his back with a jerk of his shoulders. All of their packs were heavy. Each person had been required to bring food and water, a sleeping bag, and a spare set of warm clothing. Anything extra was up to them, but they were only allowed the one pack and they had been warned that they would be hiking to the town.