A white stag bursts from the undergrowth, stops in your path and makes eye contact. For that split second you are all transfixed by its evident majesty, and then it bounds away. Eating its flesh will heal all heart sickness, it's pelt will swaddle the future king, and a crown made from the creature's bones will make the wearer beloved by man and feared by fae.
A young man has stationed himself at the opposite side of a bridge. He challenges you as you approach to single combat so that he may earn his knighthood. Behind him is a tent, a fire pit, and a selection of helmets sitting on top of weapons rudely struck into the ground. If you wade through the river instead of using the bridge he will insult you and question your honour but otherwise not interfere.
The road ahead has been furrowed and the forest on either side is shattered and torn. The giants would never wander this far south, you tell yourself, but the birds speaks volumes in their silence.
A body lays in the middle of the track at the end of a long trail of blood. On inspection his teeth are missing and his eyes have been struck out. There are tiny feathered spines still in the sockets and a silver coin under his tongue.
The path ends suddenly. Perhaps your attention has flagged and your feet have wandered or maybe your map is too old. You turn to retrace your steps and the path behind you is gone. Thick forest abounds.
A knight is struggling by the roadside with who-knows-what. He is quite frantic and looks like he is wrestling with something vicious, but on approaching you discover his sword has just become stuck in the scabbard and he is angrily trying to draw it out by bracing it between his legs and pulling. If you offer to help him he will grumpily accept. After some embarrassing pulling and falling and swearing he throws the sword to the ground and stomps off towards the nearest town ranting about not being stingy when it comes to scabbards. The sword is magical in some rather mundane sense.