fearing that evil magic is luring you further into a trap, you turn once again and head deeper into the woods.
as you round a sharp bend, coming into view are two lone figures on either side of the path, each holding their hand out in a halting gesture. on the left is a brutish gnome, picking his teeth with a piece of bone and looking at you as if he's already measured your strength and found you lacking. on the right stands a wrinkled old wizard, his staff bearing a glowing cerulean gemstone. he too appears to have made a foregone conclusion about your constitution and has disappointment written all over his wisened eyes.
you may choose to speak to the gnome or the wizard, or attempt to push between them and continue down the path.